Facing genuine adversity for the first time this season Tampa Bay were unable to pick up a win from a difficult tour of the best in the Pacific, but the Lightning's excellent home record gives them a chance to regroup against the New York Rangers.
Unfortunately for the Bolts the value is with the Rangers tonight as they have little to prove on the road. On the back of an excellent defence they've picked up the last six in a row and have more victories away from home than any other club in the East.
Take out their nightmarish first five outings of the year and goalies Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot are only conceding 1.61 goals a game between them, so it'd be understandable if they have a few grievances with a patchy offence. The brighter news on that front is that three games after suffering a mild concussion, Rick Nash has a goal to his name.
You sense Tampa are still adjusting to life without Stamkos whilst also contending against five other significant injuries. We've seen before how tough it is to break slides even in front of your own fans, so back New York at 2.60 to extend Tampa's losing run.
The big games keep coming over in the West with so many teams within striking distance of the conference lead. A first of five showdowns between St Louis and Minnesota should be a cracker.
Identical home records containing just one regulation loss has to give a significant edge to the Blues. Add that to the fact Minnesota are the worse road side and it’s no wonder that there's a little separation between these two in the standings.
This will be the first time this month that the Wild have faced another obvious contender from their own conference and in the past week a few defensive errors have been creeping in that they've just about managed to mask.
Josh Harding's injury means Nicklas Backstrom has to continue the work he put on in net against Winnipeg on Sunday. It'll sound a little patronising but Minnesota will be looking at the Blues as a marker of where they want to be. They manage to be almost as resilient on the back end just with significantly more scoring potential.
The Wild can definitely push them but go no surprises and take St Louis at 2.05.
New York Rangers to win at 2.60
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