Calgary Flames at Buffalo Sabres
Watch out for those Sabres! A 7-3-0 record for the last ten games sees Buffalo on a shock streak and they're now clear of last place in the NHL.
There's little doubt the defence and primarily goalie Jhonas Enroth have been central to this upturn with the 1-0 shutout victory versus LA a highlight for the Swede, young defencemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov are also showing they have very bright futures.
Thanks to a concerted effort from his home country of Latvia it's Zemgus Girgensons who leads the fan vote for the All Star Game next month, the 20-year-old's excellent two way play has been commendable and he also ties for the team lead with Tyler Ennis on eight goals.
A brief offensive burst seems to have died down though and they're back to just four goals scored in regulation through four December outings, well paid guys like Cody Hodgson and Chris Stewart who are having just brutal individual seasons too never sparked up at all.
Calgary have dropped two straight but had racked up four in a row beforehand so this could be a big game for them to determine whether they will start to decline.
I think they have the exuberance to continue and although Karri Ramo might just have taken over the starting netminder job from Jonas Hiller that's not been too much of a drama for the team as a whole.
Additionally they have the speed to really put the Sabres on their heels so back Calgary at 2.12.
Los Angeles Kings at Ottawa Senators
Even off the back of an overtime win against Vancouver Paul MacLean became the first coaching casualty of this NHL season but this was clearly not a snap decision in Ottawa as his assistant Dave Cameron immediately assumed the head role.
Before that the Senators had only won once in eight games yet I was still surprised they were the first to pull the trigger on their coach when their point per game record means they're only four points out of 8th in the East.
GM Bryan Murray stated the main factors for the firing were "consistent turnovers on the ice and a lack of communication between MacLean and the players", the latter could mean anything but in terms of poor defensive play it's hard to argue with that reasoning when only Buffalo allow more shots per game than the Sens.
Tightening up the team whilst still getting the best out of expansive talents like captain Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan must be central to Cameron's strategy with tonight's game against the champions actually looking like a good place to start.
LA haven't exactly been pulling up any trees themselves of late as a loss to Arizona followed by being shutout in Buffalo on Tuesday, it's surprising too that Jonathan Quick has had to work hard to maintain their high defensive standards whilst the offence is stilted at the other end.
Ottawa's 6-3-3 home record is actually very useful and typically a form boost accompanies a coaching change so I think taking the Sens at 2.95 represents pretty good value.
Best Bet: Ottawa Senators to win at 2.90