NHL Betting: The Oilers will be too slick for Colorado

It’s an early start for the all Sunshine State contest between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, with the visiting Bolts having a February to forget. 

At the start of the month Tampa briefly led the conference, but six games without a win has seen them plummet down the standings and out of the top eight. 

Florida have fared better, though to contend for the play-offs they will need to turn overtime losses in to victories - two recent sudden death losses in a row has to hurt. Betting is very close ahead of the puck drop, so take the Panthers at 2.55.

Ontario rivals Toronto and Ottawa face-off at Air Canada Centre, with both teams fairly content with their campaign thus far. 

Injuries are beginning to their toll on many teams as a result of the compressed schedule, but few could claim to be harder hit than Ottawa. Last season's best defender Erik Karlsson has joined star center Jason Spezza on the treatment table for the foreseeable future, after a very nasty skate cut to his Achillies three nights ago. 

Toronto have been hit hard too mind, particularly with goalie James Reimer's latest setback. I think his absence swings this one the way of the Senators, who are good value at 2.90.

Edmonton and Colorado a big game in the context of the North West. Vancouver will stroll to the division title once again, unless one of the other four can step up. 

At the moment that appears unlikely, with the Oilers in indifferent form of late. That's been down to a lack of scoring, which is equally true of Colorado. The Oilers’ young talents have been a little disappointing, with Sam Gagner their surprise highest points scorer.

Colorado have simply relied too much on Matt Duchene and PA Parenteau to generate their offense and now that line is receiving extra attention from defenders. Edmonton comfortably swept the Avs aside when they met at Rexall Place last month and although it should be closer this time, I expect them to come out on top at 2.10.

Best Bet: Edmonton Oilers to win at 2.10

Follow Mike Fuller's NHL betting tips every day