The Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings gave notice they are still the team to beat in the Western Conference in the last month, shutting out the Sharks, 6-0, in Hockeytown – interrupting the best 30-game start (25-3-3) in NHL history – then improving to 4-0 on the season against their Original Six rival Blackhawks by halting their franchise record 9-game winning streak with a 4-0 win a week ago in the 700th meeting between the teams in the NHL’s longest-standing rivalry.
In the East, the Bruins – a phenomenal 24-3 since Nov. 1 – continue to amaze, and the Capitals, Flyers, Rangers and Penguins all look strong and have plenty of scorers on their rosters right now.
Tuesday, Jan. 6
Wild at Bruins (Versus): B’s have won 10 straight at this writing and Minnesota is really offensively challenged (84 goals). BRUINS.
Senators at Sabres: Ottawa has now become the worst road team in NHL (4-11-2). SABRES.
Blue Jackets at Red Wings: Detroit 16-4 in its last 20 games at Joe Louis Arena vs. Columbus. RED WINGS.
Thrashers at Penguins: Atlanta (3.67 GPG) has given up more goals (139) than anyone else in the entire league. Lack of defense does not win championships. PENGUINS.
Wednesday, Jan. 7
Canadiens at Rangers: Montreal worth a real shot as an underdog here. Les Habs (10-5-2) winning again on road this season and were among the top 5 NHL teams over the 2008 calendar year (49-21-9). CANADIENS.
Thursday, Jan. 8
Senators at Bruins: Ottawa once owned the Bruins – but not now. BRUINS.
Wild at Flyers: Philly not losing on home ice (12-4-3), is 7-1 L8 in the City orf Brotherly Love as Carter & Co. getting it done on offense. FLYERS.
Thrashers at Devils: This road trip will trash the Thrash who are 6-10-3 away from Hotlanta. NJ still awaiting Brodeur’s return. DEVILS.
Islanders at Flames: The Islanders have the league’s worst 5-on-5 goals ratio (0.52) while Kiprusoff and Iginla still among NHL’s impressive duos. FLAMES.
Friday, Jan. 9
Blue Jackets at Capitals: Washington’s NHL-best 16-1-1 home mark says it all. Govechkin! CAPITALS.
Blues at Canucks: Let’s pick on the primary color again tonight. Injury to Luongo may be worse than the Canucks are letting on. CANUCKS.
Saturday, Jan. 10
Hurricanes at Bruins: The best bet on the board in November and December in all sports was the BruCrew. Just ride the wave Boitano. BRUINS.
Wild at Blue Jackets: If total 5½, go low. If set at 5, probably still worth a shot. Columbus registered three straight shutouts last week. UNDER.
Leafs at Flyers: Philly looking to avenge Nov. 29 loss (4-2) at Toronto and certainly has the firepower to do so. FLYERS.
Sunday, Jan. 11
Predators at Blackhawks (NHL TV): Even though I’m from Chicago and have a friend (What up Leon Gonzalez?) who lives in Black Hawk, South Dakota doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you to bet on the Blackhawks – although they are awfully tough to beat at the United Center on a Sunday night and have dominated there so far (11-2-4). OVER (5½-6).
Blues at Oilers: St. Louis really in a swoon (2-8 L10) while Edmonton beat the Blues for only second time in regulation in their last 17 meetings in the Gateway City in their last meeting. OILERS.
Monday, Jan. 12
Wings at Stars (Versus): Hard to see how Dallas and netminder Marty Turco (3.19 GAA) can stop a team like this with so many weapons. Detroit one of few who wins consistently on the road (12-4-3). RED WINGS.