Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers
It's been a relaxed opening few weeks for Minnesota as no team has hit the ice fewer than their six times in the opening few weeks. It has also created a situation where they are better than the current standings indicate, their 4-2 record is solid and those losses were tight games on the road in LA and Anaheim.
Overall the Wild are averaging only 1.00 goals against per game too, so make no mistake this is a very tough game for the Rangers despite the fact they are well-favoured in the odds. New York had a three game streak halted in Montreal on Saturday, but even at this early stage it looks like the Metro Division will end up a logjam and they aren't doing enough to distinguish themselves right now.
Embarrassingly for both these teams neither of their powerplay units is in positive stakes if you take into account the shorthanded goals they've conceded, the Rangers are the ones with the greater need to change that statistic considering their considerably weaker defensive record. To me odds of 2.85 on a Minnesota win are very generous so back an away victory in this one.
Montreal Canadiens at Edmonton Oilers
Eastern Conference leaders Montreal have flown out West for a three game tour of Canada's Pacific side beginning in Edmonton. Confidence is key to a young team so frequently beaten down in recent seasons and there should be belief they can keep this run going even if it still seems fragile at the moment.
It'll be interesting to see what happens when they leave the sanctity of Rexall Place but for tonight once again they can bank on vociferous home support to help against another tough opponent with Tampa Bay and Washington already beaten during this streak. Most visibly upping their performance has been the top line of two former No. 1 picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plus Jordan Eberle, and that's a unit of huge potential if they can keep putting it together.
With each passing win Montreal's only loss of the season; a 7-1 defeat at Tampa, begins to look more anomalous. Always at the fore of what they do well are their trio of defensive cornerstones PK Subban, Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin making a huge impression at both ends of the ice. I can't help but think it's too soon to jump on Edmonton's bandwagon and will support the safe option of the Canadiens at 2.12.
Best Bet: Minnesota Wild to win at 2.85.