Being afforded a seven-game homestand at this critical point of the season gives the Colorado Avalanche a strong opportunity to prove they can hang with the top clubs in the West.
Three matches of the run have now elapsed, and after gaining five points they face one of those top clubs at the Pepsi Center tonight, the San Jose Sharks.
There's recent history between the two in the form of a 5-4 shootout victory for San Jose in their arena on December 23rd. Joe Thornton and Brent Burns dominated proceedings there, with each registering three points and being named first and second star.
For a side with a +31 total goal difference the Sharks are actually -1 on the road, and they've only won two of their previous eight away tests. That's the reason they find themselves alongside the Avs looking up at the conference leaders.
Colorado captain Gabe Landeskog is riding a five-game point streak though, and whilst their offence can be highly effective, the general rule is that if Semyon Varlamov in net gives them a boost, the rest will follow.
I think the price is right at 2.65 to take the Avalanche here.
Although the Philadelphia Flyers started 2014 with a defeat at the aforementioned Avalanche, it was only their second loss in eight as they've made a real push in the Metro Division of late.
I like their chances of bouncing back in Phoenix tonight after watching the Coyotes succumb to a poor 2-0 home loss to Columbus on Thursday. Add in that the soon to be Arizona Coyotes only have two wins in the last nine, and Philly look well placed.
Dave Tippett has watched his team lose more times in overtime than any other club from the West and prior to their last outing six games in a row had gone past regulation, something perhaps indicative of the fact they've been unable to maintain a high level for 60 minutes.
To make matters worse for Phoenix, their top D-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson looks set to miss out as well as one of their shut down guys Zbynek Michalek. The former's absence adds further responsibility on Keith Yandle to be a difference-maker at the blueline, a role he may relish after being spurned by the USA's Olympic selectors.
It won't be enough though, and I fully expect Philadelphia to escape with the points.
Best Bet: Philadelphia Flyers to win at 2.90