Kent Tukeli | Wed 27/12/2017 - 22:33 EST

5 Must-Bet Canuck Games This Week

5 Must-Bet Canuck Games This Week

#1 Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Thursday, December 28
  • Amalie Arena, 7:30 PM EST – TSN2, RDS, SUN

The Montreal Canadiens deal with one of the toughest schedules in the NHL before the calendar changes from 2017 to 2018. For some reason, the scheduling department decided to surround the Habs’ Christmas break with a pair of road back-to-backs on consecutive nights.

Montreal managed to secure two points against Calgary before losing to Edmonton last week, a scenario they would like to repeat before visiting the best team in the NHL. Tampa Bay’s tied with the Golden Knights for best home record in the NHL, and they’ll enjoy a five-day break before meeting the Canadiens at Amalie Arena.

The Habs have won six of their last eight against Tampa, but this version of the Lightning might be the best of the Stamkos era. Montreal will have a tough time keeping this game close.

#2 Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors

  • NBA Regular Season
  • Friday, December 29
  • Air Canada Centre, 7:30 PM EST – TSN2

Toronto’s loss against the Dallas Mavericks was similar to their defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers a couple of weeks ago. Despite being touted as overwhelming favorites, Toronto simply wasn’t able to hit shots when they needed them to go down. A defeat against OKC was less concerning because Toronto’s was playing on less than 24 hours rest.

Alas, the Atlanta Hawks will provide ample opportunity for the Raptors to reverse the negative momentum of a difficult couple of days. Toronto smacked the Hawks around the last time they met, defeating them 112-78 in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s at the bottom of the NBA standings while Toronto enjoys the best road record in the association. Expect the Raptors to pick apart the Hawks by a large margin, making the spread worth consideration. 

My Team's Next MatchToronto Raptors

#3 New York Islanders at Winnipeg Jets

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Friday, December 29
  • Bell MTS Place, 8:00 PM EST – TSN3, MSG+

The Isles have defeated the Jets in five of their last six meetings, and New York has taken the last five games which took place in Winnipeg. Since these teams don’t play each other often, Winnipeg hasn’t beaten the Islanders at home since 2013.

Similar to the Jets, New York plays an entertaining, up-tempo style of hockey, similar to the Jets a couple of years ago. Unlike Winnipeg, the Islanders haven’t discovered how to score buckets of goals without sacrificing defense.

This season, the Jets have been one of toughest teams at home, and the best Canadian team in the NHL. Despite a relatively slow December, Winnipeg should be able to win big on Friday night.

#4 Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Saturday, December 30
  • Rogers Arena, 10:00 PM EST – CBC, SN, FS-W

Vancouver went into a tailspin after top center Bo Horvat was placed on injured reserve with a fractured ankle. One of the Canucks top scorers over the past couple of years morphed into a key two-way center for the Canucks, trusted with defensive faceoff by coach Travis Green.

Without Horvat and Brandon Sutter, the Canucks become weak down the middle of the ice, a situation made worse with an injury to defenseman Chris Tanev. Vancouver’s also without speedster Sven Baertschi, who chips in valuable secondary scoring.

Los Angeles nears the halfway mark of the season on top of the Pacific Division alongside Vegas, buoyed by one of the better road records in the NHL. The Kings will extend their reign over the west coast with a resounding win over the Canucks.

#5 Toronto Maple Leafs at Vegas Golden Knights

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Sunday, December 31
  • T-Mobile Arena, 3:30 PM EST – SN, ATTSN-RM, TVAS

Vegas enjoys playing in Nevada, earning a 15-2-1 record at T-Mobile Arena, tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for best home record in the NHL. The Golden Knights also find themselves tied for most points in the western conference with four games in hand (!) over the St. Louis Blues.

There’s a good chance that this New Years’ Eve game will end up featuring more Toronto Maple Leafs fans than Vegas boosters, as plenty of Torontonian ex-pats will make the trip to Sin City for a special game to ring in 2018. Some will even fly in from Toronto for this highly-anticipated matchup.

There’s something magic about the Golden Knights at home this year, reducing the odds of the Leafs winning in Vegas to cap off 2017. Expect lots of Maple Leafs jerseys and blue faces on the strip, as Toronto fans fret that an expansion franchise plays better hockey than their beloved Buds. 

Results / FixturesNHL

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