Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild
Chicago put the Wild out of the playoffs last year and that mastery has continued into this going three for three against Minnesota so far. This is the fifth outing on a very tough road trip for the 'Hawks which up to now has yielded four points, going 6-7 through January was not a classic month by their very high standards. Acquiring goalie Devan Dubnyk has coincided with that much needed upturn for coach Mike Yeo, their defence is good enough they only needed a solid performer and Dubnyk has done just that to win on five of seven starts for the club.
Eleven goals conceded across those appearances ranks as pretty good going but it's also reward for blueliners Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella who's good work all year hasn't been reflected in the team's defensive record. Looking to break them down tonight will be Patrick Kane who's made a big move towards the league lead in scoring, Kane has also shredded the Wild for eight points in the three clashes this year. Containing the former first overall pick is a must and it's up to the likes of Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek to do some damage at the other end on Corey Crawford. Starting at 2.95 I really believe Minnesota are the value bet in this one.
Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
Sticking in the highly competitive Central Division and a pair of similarly frustrating franchises tied on 53 points. They'll collide three times this month and those matchups could be critical in deciding which one can take a run at the postseason. Shutting out Nashville in their last game was no mean feat from the Avalanche and they've been to overtime more than any other team, bonus points are good but out on the road it's just one win in six. Dallas return home on the back of two heavy victories in Ottawa and Winnipeg.
Defenceman John Klingberg was named rookie of the month for January and is quickly becoming a bit of a sensation, the Swede put up a mighty four points at the Jets on Saturday and along with partner Alex Goligoski leads the team in plus/minus. Only Tampa and St. Louis have more goals total goals but with the Stars it's all about how many chances they give up too, at the very least they guarantee excitement. To me the tie at 3.85 is the right call here but at a push I'd go with Dallas at 2.05.
Best Bet: Minnesota Wild to win at 2.95.