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NHL games to watch

By Ian Cameron  (Point Spread Weekly) 

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Carolina's Dougie Hamilton is putting up career-best numbers.

I’ll preview some of the marquee NHL games each week taking place between Thursday and Sunday, targeting some interesting betting spots and looking for potential value with undervalued sides and totals throughout the season. 

St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche

Thursday, Jan. 2, 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT

The top two teams in the Central Division battle Thursday night as the red-hot St. Louis Blues invade the Mile High City. St. Louis has won eight straight games and has scored four-plus goals in seven of those eight games. Colorado is just 2-5 in its last seven games despite being as healthy as it has been all season, with all key players back from injury. St. Louis is 6-0 in the last six meetings against Colorado, including two this season. But those games took place in St. Louis, and it won’t be as easy in Denver. Still, the Blues are in better form, and if they are still on that winning streak by the time this game rolls around, I would consider backing the Blues at what will be a decent road underdog price.

Washington Capitals @ Carolina Hurricanes

Friday, Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

This will be the second game between the Capitals and Hurricanes in less than a week. Carolina won 6-4 at home Saturday night, and they will meet at the same venue Friday. The Hurricanes also knocked off Washington in the first round of the playoffs last season in a hard-fought seven-game series. The Hurricanes are getting monster offensive seasons from Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, who have combined for 111 points. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton is putting up career-best numbers from the blue line with 36 points in 39 games. The Hurricanes have gotten good goaltending from Petr Mrazek, who has a 2.74 GAA and .900 save percentage. Washington is going through its first inconsistent stretch, playing .500 hockey over the last six games. The Caps are without injured key forwards T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson, both listed as day-to-day. After a playoff series defeat last season and another loss to the Canes last weekend, I would anticipate seeing the Capitals’ “A” game here, and I’ll be looking toward betting Washington to snap its recent struggles against Carolina.

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