Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets
There's some intensity required tonight with both clubs losing their last two coming in after very good runs prior to that slight downturn. For Montreal they'll be disappointed but not too disheartened to lose out to Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, having just two games in ten days means they should be well rested to go again. Columbus have a little bit more work to do after being turned aside 5-2 by Toronto and the NY Islanders mustering no more than 20 shots in either contest. No side has lost more man games to injury than the Jackets and the long term absences of Ryan Murray, Artem Anisimov and Nathan Horton hit their depth at every position.
At the other end of the spectrum you'll find the Habs who've had real continuity making things very easy for Michel Therrien especially on the defensive side of the puck. They've been noticeably a bit more conservative at the blueline which has overall been to their benefit but I'd like to see PK Subban and Sergei Gonchar shoot the puck a bit more especially on their underperforming powerplay unit. Only the Islanders have more wins on the season than Montreal and I think 2.30 is a fair price on them cashing the two points tonight.
New Jersey Devils at Los Angeles Kings
Some scratchy form lately for the Kings with a lot of close contests but too many losing bonus points instead of victories. Surprisingly the chief guilty party might well be goalie Jonathan Quick who despite never facing more than 28 shots in his last 10 starts has a pretty dire save percentage of .865 which is worse than any starting netminder has for the season. It means LA have largely gone unrewarded because remarkably the team hasn't been outshot going all the way back to November 29th.
New Jersey are exactly the sort of team that struggles to create chances against them too, a lack of speed and ideas moving through the neutral zone makes it easy for the Kings to get physical and stop them making tracks. Anze Kopitar has 21 points in the last 13 games which is almost as many as New Jersey's leading scorer has on the entire year, the Slovenian also has Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik in tow as the ones to look out for. It's short odds but jump on the Kings to take this one decisively over the handicap.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Kings to overcome a -1.5 goal handicap at 2.32