Friday's NHL cheat sheet: Post holiday break action

Dec 26, 2013 |
Friday's NHL cheat sheet: Post holiday break action
Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks host the Avalanche after the holiday break.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks host the Avalanche after the holiday break.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
The NHL returns to action after its short holiday break with a full slate of games Friday.

Check out our cheat sheet for betting info on every game:

Columbus Blue Jackets at New Jersey Devils (-130, 5)

The Columbus Jackets vie for a season-high three-game winning streak on Friday when they return from their Christmas break to visit the New Jersey Devils. Columbus has taken the first two meetings against New Jersey and is in the midst of a five-game stretch against Metropolitan Division rivals. The Blue Jackets split a home-and-home series with Philadelphia before skating to a 4-3 triumph over Carolina Monday.

New Jersey, which sits one point ahead of Columbus, enjoyed a season-high four-game point streak (3-0-1) before being held to 12 shots in a 5-2 setback to Chicago Monday. Leading scorer Jaromir Jagr was kept off the scoresheet for the first time in seven games, but he did collect one assist in each of the team's losses to Columbus this season.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSOH (Columbus), MSG-Plus (New Jersey)
* Home team is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Under is 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings.
* Blue Jackets are 0-4 in the last four meetings in New Jersey.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
(-126, 5.5)

After skating to a pair of victories to wrap up a franchise-high nine-game homestand, the New York Rangers hit the road for the first time since Dec. 5 with a date against the Washington Capitals Friday. Rookie Cam Talbot stopped 49 of 51 shots to lift New York to a 4-1 win over Minnesota on Sunday and a 2-1 shootout triumph against Toronto the following night. Henrik Lundqvist may get the nod on Friday as the Rangers open a five-game road trip versus the Capitals, against whom he turned aside all 22 shots in a 2-0 shutout on Oct. 16.

Washington exacted revenge by scoring four times versus Lundqvist in a 4-1 victory on Dec. 8. Mikhail Grabovski converted on a penalty shot in that contest and also tallied on Monday as the Capitals suffered a 3-2 setback to Anaheim. The loss to the Ducks was Washington's second straight and third in four outings.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG2 (New York), CSMA (Washington)
* Rangers are 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Under is 15-4-9 in the last 28 meetings.
* Home team is 11-5 in the last 16 meetings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins come out of the holiday break Friday looking to start a new winning streak against an opponent they’ve enjoyed facing this season. The Penguins visit the Carolina Hurricanes, a team they have already defeated twice by a combined score of 8-2. Pittsburgh saw its season-high seven-game winning streak come to an end Monday but holds a comfortable 13-point lead in the Metropolitan Division.

The Hurricanes are 1-3-3 in their last seven contests as they slide further out of playoff contention. Carolina has struggled at home, going 7-8-4 and dropping four of their last five, while the Penguins are 5-2-1 in their last eight road games. Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury allowed a season-high five goals in his last start before the break but is expected to start Friday.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ROOT, Fox Sports Carolinas
* Penguins are 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Home team is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Carolina.

Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins (-187, 5)

The Boston Bruins have gone two months without losing at home and will attempt to keep the streak intact when they host the Ottawa Senators Friday night in the front end of a home-and-home. The Bruins, who hold a three-point lead over Tampa Bay atop the Atlantic Division, are riding a 14-game point streak at TD Garden and their 15 home victories are second in the league to Pittsburgh (17). Boston will be going for its eighth straight home win.

Ottawa turned in perhaps its most complete performance of the season entering the break, halting a three-game skid (0-2-1) with a 5-0 drubbing of Pittsburgh that snapped the Penguins' seven-game winning streak. Inconsistency has been a hallmark of the Senators, who will be seeking back-to-back victories for the first time since winning three straight from Nov. 5-9.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, RDS, RSN East (Ottawa), NESN (Boston)
* Road team is 15-7 in the last 22 meetings.
* Senators are 2-6 in the last eight meetings in Boston.
* Bruins are 35-16 in the last 51 meetings.

Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs (-163, 5)

The Toronto Maple Leafs look to avoid a fourth consecutive trip to the shootout when they host the Buffalo Sabres Friday. Toronto snapped a two-game skid with a shootout victory over Phoenix Dec. 19, then fell to both Detroit and the New York Rangers in the bonus format. The Maple Leafs scored just one goal in two of the three games and have netted more than one tally only once in their last five contests (1-2-2).

Buffalo has won three of its last four games and earned at least one point in five of seven (4-2-1). The Sabres are coming off a 2-1 overtime home victory over Phoenix Monday in which defenseman Mark Pysyk was credited with his second career goal when the puck popped into the air and fell into the back of Mike Smith's pants before the goaltender spun around and slid back into his own net, unknowingly handing Buffalo the win. The Sabres won two of their first three meetings with the Maple Leafs.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG (Buffalo), TSN (Toronto)
* Home team is 20-7 in the last 27 meetings.
* Sabres are 1-7 in the last eight meetings in Toronto.
* Maple Leafs are 1-4 in their last five games overall.

Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks (-189, 5.5)

The Chicago Blackhawks attempt to extend their point streak to five games when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Chicago improved to 3-0-1 over its last four overall contests and ran its home point streak to six games (4-0-2) with a 5-2 triumph over New Jersey Monday. Patrick Sharp scored twice and Nick Leddy registered a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks raised their home record to 13-2-5.

Colorado has earned points in each of its last three games, defeating Edmonton at home before suffering shootout losses at Los Angeles and San Jose. The Avalanche were involved in a wild contest against the Sharks on Monday, scoring twice in a 12-second span with less than two minutes remaining in the third period to take the lead before allowing the tying goal with 19.6 seconds to play. Colorado skated to a 5-1 home victory over Chicago on Nov. 19 in the first of five meetings between the Central Division rivals this season.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), CSN (Chicago)
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Home team is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Avalanche are 5-2 in the last seven meetings.

Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets (OFF)

After three consecutive losses in which they gave up 13 goals, the Minnesota Wild need a spark when they visit the Winnipeg Jets Friday. Goalie Josh Harding, who may be activated after missed three contests while receiving a new treatment for his multiple sclerosis, could provide that boost to a Wild squad that is 5-9-1 in their last 15. The Jets are also struggling, with two wins in their previous eight outings, and are eight points out of playoff position.

Winnipeg gave up six goals at Edmonton on Monday and also lost at Eastern Conference cellar dweller Buffalo last week, continuing its see-saw campaign. The Wild dropped a 4-1 decision at Philadelphia on Monday without one of its leading scorers Zach Parise, who is questionable with a lower-body injury. Minnesota has produced only 12 goals the last nine contests, dropping to 29th in the league in scoring.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), TSN-Jets (Winnipeg)
* Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings.
* Wild are 10-4 in their last 14 versus teams with a losing record.
* Jets are 1-6 in their last seven home games.

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (-143, 5.5)

While the Dallas Stars look to pick up right where they left off prior to the holiday break, the Nashville Predators hope to turn things around when the Central Division rivals face off at American Airlines Center on Friday. Dallas is riding a four-game point streak (3-0-1) as it begins a five-game homestand. The Stars are coming off a 5-2 road victory over Los Angeles Monday.

Nashville has been going in the opposite direction as it enters the showdown with a four-game winless streak (0-3-1). The Predators, who won four in a row prior to the skid, dropped a 6-2 home decision to Boston Monday despite a pair of goals from Craig Smith. Nashville posted a 3-1 home victory in the first of the five meetings between the clubs on Dec. 12.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
* Predators are 5-1 in the last six meetings.
* Under is 12-5-4 in the last 21 meetings in Dallas.
* Predators are 7-18 in the last 25 meetings in Dallas.

Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames (-124, 5.5)

After collecting three of a possible four points, the Edmonton Oilers vie to maintain the upper hand against the Calgary Flames on Friday of the third installment of the Battle of Alberta this season. Edmonton skated to a 4-2 road victory over Calgary on Nov. 16 before dropping a 2-1 overtime decision on home ice on Dec. 7. The Oilers lost six of seven since that outing before the team's 6-2 triumph over Winnipeg Monday.

Calgary snapped a four-game winless skid (0-2-2) by skating to a 4-3 shootout victory over St. Louis Monday. Captain Mark Giordano ignited the fireworks by scoring the game-tying goal with 4.2 seconds remaining in the third period. The Flames are all-too-familiar with nail-biting contests as they lead the league with 25 one-goal games.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, RWS
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Calgary.
* Road team is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Oilers are 7-12 in the last 28 meetings.

San Jose Sharks at Phoenix Coyotes (+106, 5.5)

The road has not been kind to the San Jose Sharks, but the club hopes to reverse its fortunes when it visits the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. San Jose is 10-7-3 on the road this season but has lost five of its last six games away from home. The Sharks are coming off their second consecutive shootout win at home, a 5-4 triumph over Colorado.

Phoenix has won just one of its last five games (1-2-2), scoring only one goal in each of the defeats. The Coyotes lost in unusual fashion Monday, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision in Buffalo when the puck popped into the air and fell into the back of Mike Smith's pants before the goaltender spun around and slid back into his own net, unknowingly handing the Sabres the winning goal. The setback concluded a 1-1-2 road trip for Phoenix, which has played only two of its 10 games this month at home.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN California (San Jose), KTVK (Phoenix)
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Phoenix.
* Under is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings.
* Sharks are 1-5 in the last six meetings in Phoenix.

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