Tampa Bay Lightning at Edmonton Oilers
These two will take centre stage tonight for the only matchup of the night. I can't say it's a rivalry in any shape or form but there are some interesting plot lines for each club coming in.
Expect some exasperation from the Rexall Place crowd if Edmonton go behind as they are one of only two teams yet to score a first victory of the campaign making a first playoff appearance since the finals in 2006 look ever more unlikely. The Oilers also have the NHL's worst defence, conceding a dreadful 25 goals in just five games and the ominous sight of Steven Stamkos in form isn't going to make the fans feel any more comfortable.
Tampa's captain has scored five goals himself within the last week and could have a new linemate tonight as 2013's 3rd overall pick, the very highly touted Jonathan Drouin, is set to make his NHL debut. A scoring sensation in junior hockey, Drouin has the potential to form a devastating partnership with Stamkos given time to adapt to the stresses of major leagues.
It's not that the Lightning were doing badly without him either sat on a 3-1-1 record and having picked up a first road win of the year at Vancouver on Monday night. One man in the process of joining the elite ranks of NHL defencemen is Sweden's Victor Hedman, he's tied for lead in points amongst blueliners on seven already.
Edmonton have gone through a series of goaltending options in recent years and the latest man to be hung out to dry by their defence is Ben Scrivens. Even in the 2-0 loss to Vancouver on Friday he earned the first star of the game over Ryan Miller who got the shutout at the other end. At least they managed to cut down on penalties that night, next to solve is the fact that their best offensive players get regularly outscored at even strength through their poor two-way play.
This is the second in a run of seven home games for the Oilers to try and build a foundation for their campaign but I just can't see them managing it tonight.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning to win at 2.00.