Files from Associated Press. Picks from Covers.com staff.
Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks (-124, 5.5)
Perhaps the biggest issue going into this game will be the condition of the ice and the weather forecast. Players practiced on Wednesday, and came away less than impressed.
"It's so cold out there it's chipping away," said 46-year-old Chicago native and Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios. "You worry about the safety of the players. Whatever happens to both teams, hopefully it's not a hazard as far as injuries."
It's expected to be mostly cloudy in Chicago on Thursday with a high of 34 degrees and a 20 percent chance of snow.
The ice may not be the only thing that's chippy. The Blackhawks' franchise-record nine-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-0 road loss to the Red Wings on Monday in a contest that featured plenty of rough play.
Kane suffered a leg injury as the result of a hard check by Detroit's Dan Cleary, and didn't practice on Wednesday.
"I'm going to try it tomorrow. I'm going to do my best to treat it as much as I can today," Kane said. "Last night I was just kind of ahead and (my) skate got caught in the ice. Unfortunate play. Clean hit with that. Nothing you can do about it."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Kane will play.
Conklin made 36 saves for his seventh career shutout, and Johan Franzen scored twice for the defending champions.
"You've got to play well against the good teams," said Franzen, who is tied with Marian Hossa for the team lead with 17 goals. "We kind of need that on this team to get motivated."
Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and assist, giving him seven goals and nine assists in a season-high eight-game points streak. Datsyuk leads Detroit with 26 assists and 41 points.
Six-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman and Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom is expected to be back in the lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury.
Pick: Over 5.5
Vancouver Canucks at Nashville Predators (-122, 5.5)
The Vancouver Canucks have been sliding in the standings ever since the injury to their starting goaltender. They hope their latest trade can keep them from falling any further.
Newly acquired Jason LaBarbera is expected to make his Canucks debut on New Year's Day when Vancouver visits the struggling Nashville Predators, who are hoping to turn things around when they open a five-game homestand.
With No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo still nursing a groin injury that is expected to keep him out until the All-Star break, Vancouver (20-15-3) added some netminder insurance by acquiring LaBarbera from Los Angeles on Tuesday for a seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft.
The Canucks were 13-6-2 and had a five-point lead atop the Northwest Division at the time of Luongo's injury, but have gone 7-9-1 since, dropping into second place.
Tuesday's trade announcement was made minutes after backup goalie Curtis Sanford left Vancouver's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia - the Canucks' fourth defeat in six games - after the first period because of a