Vancouver Canucks at Montreal Canadiens
Montreal gets its first chance to honour the late, great Jean Beliveau this evening in what should be a very emotional atmosphere at Bell Centre.
The current crop could use the inspiration of the 5-time Cup winning captain too as their three game losing streak is only part of a stretch that's yielded only one win from the last seven.
A couple of slack efforts in Toronto and Ottawa has put an early December dampener on the Canucks but that's only the second time all season they'd lost back to back.
They'll see this as a prime opportunity to quickly get back on track against Montreal's wavering defence, their checking lines with guys like Brad Richardson have really stepped up in the scoring department and should enjoy getting to work around where I'd accuse the Habs of being a little vulnerable.
Although the Canucks' defensive group doesn't contribute too much offensively their most important job is slowing the Canadiens down through the neutral zone, the most interesting battle there might be Max Pacioretty against Kevin Bieksa.
Vancouver's 11 road wins are a league high and despite the circumstances of this contest at 2.85 the value is with them to add another to the tally.
New York Islanders at Minnesota Wild
Up until recently Minnesota's home form was dragging them along in their fight for 8th in the West and it'll receive a very tough examination again here this time from the high flying New York Islanders.
I say recently as three of their four Xcel Energy Center blemishes have actually come within the last two weeks so they're surely vulnerable to tonight's confident opponents.
A defeat at the hands of St Louis was only the Isles' third loss in their last 16 games so there's little sign of their surprisingly early season form diminishing any time soon.
As well as bouncing back from losses incredibly well John Tavares and Co. have rallied admirably within games too, just compare their 80% win rate when conceding first to Pittsburgh who are ranked second in that category on 54.7%.
Sometimes that willingness to chase at all times has backfired which explains the fact they're middle of the road when taking the lead and also that all but one of their eight losses have come by multiple goal margins.
Facing a powerplay which the Wild's Zach Parise himself labelled "terrible" is also a boost when contending with a number of prime defensive injuries has made facing high powered sides more difficult.
Back New York to prove why they're at the sharp end of the standings and pull of the win.
Best Bet: New York Islanders to win at 2.90