Since somehow managing to put together back-to-back wins for the first time last week, Buffalo have returned to the bad habitss that landed them bottom of the NHL.
The Sabres have dropped three straight by at least two goals for interim coach Ted Nolan. Detroit are the visitors to First Niagara Center and are unlikely to be quaking in their skates, storming a building that has still only witnessed one home win in regulation all season.
Simply starting off better has to be a priority, as the Sabres have only scored the opening tally four times in their 24 games and a grand total of five first period goals is yet another stat in which they rank 30th in the league.
In terms of who gets their team on the board it may boil down to Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson versus Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, as neither leading pair has been well enough supported. The latter two have done a phenomenal job as usual, considering that the rest of the Red Wings' lines have all given up more than they've scored at even strength.
I'm not touching the Sabres here though as it always seems to end in a crushing defeat. Take Detroit to cover a -1.5 handicap.
Coming off a stretch of tough opponents while still achieving decent results, I like the Hurricanes' chances of snatching a vital victory at home to Ottawa, who will like Detroit be playing their second game in 24 hours.
When the 'Canes have been bad they've been really bad, as evidenced by their third worst goal difference. On the flip side they'll know gutsy efforts in one goal games have been well rewarded, which has been huge for them. Incredibly they are yet to pick up a win by more than that.
Goalie Cam Ward is back from injury to relieve the team from leaning on third choice Justin Peters and should have the added intent to play his way into contention for a Canadian Olympic spot. Ward played very well in the OT loss to Boston on Saturday so hasn't taken too long to get up to speed.
Amongst the skaters Eric Staal has woken up to lay on a five game point streak and Jeff Skinner is another of their leaders returning from a spell in the treatment room. It was badly needed but as a whole the offence has been registering more shots and zone time as well as a few more goals, which bodes well long term. Only one regulation loss at home is solid going for the Hurricanes, so back them at a well-priced 2.45.
Detroit Red Wings to overcome a -1.5 goal handicap at 3.00
Follow Mike Fuller’s NHL Betting tips every day