Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings
Two clubs at the sharp end of the NHL and each aiming to extend their winning streaks to four collide at the famous Joe Louis Arena making tonight's only game a very interesting one.
Vancouver are bouncing back extremely well from last year's disappointing campaign under new Head Coach Willie Desjardins, and it's built around a strategy that plays to their strength as an attacking team that can maintain pressure on opponents.
Only Pittsburgh have a better road record than the Canucks which is deserving of great credit, it's also testament to that offensive gameplan as no other side has scored more away goals either. Although most other starting goalies can claim to having better save percentages than goalie Ryan Miller it's the wins that matter most and only Pekka Rinne of Nashville has more.
After years in a poor Buffalo team it's clearly taken time for Miller to adjust to a lighter workload but this positive start here has relieved the pressure on him to be perfect. Right now he's riding consecutive shutouts and in total is up to 152 minutes without conceding, make no mistake Detroit will be testing that out strenuously tonight.
Aside from a loss in Toronto the Wings have won and scored at least four goals in each of their outings during the last two weeks. Their trio of victories include just about surviving a late comeback by Ottawa and launching one of their own to win in a shootout against New Jersey despite bring 4-1 down so there's some issues to iron out in putting together a three period effort.
On a personal front this looks set to become Justin Abdelkader's most productive NHL season to date, and he would be a great pick to score tonight at 4.70. Playing with Johan Franzen has clearly helped develop his game as a power forward and expect to see Abdelkader making a nuisance of himself around the net. On that front from the opposition Alex Burrows has goals in the last two and is playing on a very effective second line with Nick Bonino, he can be found way out at 5.20 to score at any time.
Even though it's three wins in a row for both sides there's little doubt that Vancouver have been the more impressive in amassing them. Detroit's consistency can't be criticised but for a side having such major success on the road too the Canucks' price of 2.95 seems fair value as well.
Best Bet: Vancouver Canucks to win including overtime at 2.18.