Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes
A fresh start in 2015 is much needed for both of these clubs who each lost all three of their games between Christmas and New Year. The situation is much more dire in Carolina though with just two wins in thirteen games and their insipid offence is making it extremely difficult to get off the bottom of the East when they've already been cut adrift. Through December the Hurricanes averaged 1.29 goals a game and are on course to be only the 2nd side this century to average fewer than 2.00 over an entire regular season. That run contains a 5-1 loss to the Flyers and Philadelphia don't have those same scoring issues but the festive break has clearly sapped their momentum, before then they'd won three straight on the road to double their amount for the year.
If the Flyers are going to get back into the hunt then these are points they can't afford to drop and they should enjoy being able to take some chances when Carolina are unlikely to punish them. Eric Staal is the only Hurricane to score in their last 120 minutes of hockey and whilst his brother Jordan is back in the frame after a broken leg he's no doubt got some rust to shake off. Carolina are pushing Edmonton hard for worst team in the league so to get almost equal odds is surprising and it has to be the Flyers to win at 2.55.
New York Islanders at Calgary Flames
I'm really looking forward to this one; a clash between the biggest upstart teams of the season. Expect a fast paced, end to end hockey game and more importantly goals. It looked like their exploits were catching up with the Flames as they went through a really rough patch through the middle of last month however they've taken the last four including two victories over champions LA to renew some playoff optimism. Questions were asked of Calgary's goaltending over that poor spell and recently Jonas Hiller has been the man to answer them once again finding his groove, up front Jiri Hudler has been the man to really step up and assumed the team's scoring lead on the back of a five game point streak.
The Isles have become almost infamous for the way they've thrown away a number of three goal leads in contests recently but remain a point off the peak of the Eastern Conference and impressively cast aside Winnipeg last time out. Again by the odds this is almost a coin flip and although Calgary have busted the slump I think the Islanders are worth taking as the better overall unit. Either way with both clubs already over 100 goals conceded over the 5.5 total line is also good value at 1.94.
Best Bet: New York Islanders to win at 2.45.