Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins
Two of the NHL's biggest names clashing at Consol Energy Center but a stark difference in form actually makes this a simple pick. Detroit have won three straight and nine of the last ten in extremely impressive fashion to take over the title of hottest team in the East. In his second full NHL season Tomas Tatar continues to light it up alongside Pavel Datsyuk, the Slovak registered three points against Arizona on Saturday to tie his points total from last year. They're even managing this streak with Petr Mrazek filling in for JImmy Howard and the team is doing an excellent job of taking pressure off the backup goalie, scoring three or more goals a game usually help with that.
They'll like their chances of closing out the Penguins who've been shut out three times in the last six outings including at the weekend when they were routed by Nashville. During recent losses allowing early goals and poor discipline has cost them, whilst they kill penalties well only Winnipeg have been shorthanded more times. Steve Downie is the worst offender in the league with almost 50 more PIMs than anybody else but has reigned it in of late, it's also too easy to aggravate Evgeni Malkin which can go either way by keeping the Russian sidelined or inspiring him to roll you over. Detroit's powerplay is on fire right now and generally there's no way they deserve to be out at 3.25 so backing them is an easy decision.
Washington Capitals at San Jose Sharks
After doing as expected and falling to Calgary yet again earlier this week San Jose's home record has taken another hit, and I'll be surprised if they don't come out with urgency tonight to placate some agitated fans at the Shark Tank. Braden Holtby and defensive solidity are giving the Caps a chance in every game, Philadelphia inflicted their first two-goal defeat for over a month on Sunday and only because of a late empty netter.
Evgeny Kuznetsov has had a slightly low key rookie season but since the All-Star break the former first round pick has hit his stride riding at a point per game and combined neatly with the always reliable Troy Brouwer. They're really benefiting from having a group of defencemen all capable of handling the puck and I'm sure Barry Trotz drills into them not making errors in their own zone. Again I think the road win is the value pick with Washington available at 3.00.
Best Bet: Detroit Red Wings to win at 3.25