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Ducks to beat Canadiens 

For the first time since the calendar flipped to 2022, the Montreal Canadiens will skate on home ice. The Habs have played 10 consecutive games on the road, and won just one of those games.

Anaheim, meanwhile, has points in each of its last three games and picked up significant wins over Tampa Bay and Boston on this current road swing, but lost in a shootout Wednesday night to Toronto.

Even though the Ducks are on the second half of a back-to-back, Montreal’s roster continues to be in turmoil with several players out. Jonathan Drouin went down with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day, while Christian Dvorak is sidelined by a high hit from Jared Spurgeon. Montreal’s forward depth has been taxed. There’s no real way to climb out of the hole they’re in.

The Ducks have a few absences of their own, but not to the degree of Montreal. Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras are both over 30 points with Ryan Getzlaf not far behind. All are available for Thursday night’s game. On top of that, Anaheim has gotten significant contributions from its defense corps led by veterans Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm. The Ducks look poised to bounce back.

Blues to beat Flames 

A goaltending controversy is brewing in St. Louis as Ville Husso has outplayed starter Jordan Binnington by a significant degree of late. Binnington gave up seven goals to this very Calgary Flames team Monday on the road. It’s unlikely he’s going to get another crack at them with Husso playing so well of late.

Calgary will be on the second half of a back-to-back after scoring a 6-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night. The Flames have been scoring like crazy of late, but I think their good fortune on the scoreboard may run out with a motivated Blues team playing on an extra few days of rest.

St. Louis has been rolling a bit more lately. Over their last 18 games, they have not lost consecutive contests, winning 13 of those 18. With the Flames coming in on short rest and the Blues having been embarrassed in the last game between these two clubs, I’d expect a much better effort from the home team.

Canucks to beat Jets 

Vancouver has lost three straight and six of their last eight as the Bruce Boudreau magic seems to have worn off a little bit. The Canucks are unsurprisingly road underdogs, but they’ve had the Jets' number this season with a 3-2 regulation win and 4-3 shootout win. Both of those wins were on home ice for Vancouver, but they’ve played well in those victories, too.

The Jets have lost six of their last seven and have been surprisingly leaky defensively. They’ve been out-scored 27-16 over that stretch. Making matters worse, Nikolaj Ehlers is out just as Blake Wheeler is getting back. The Jets are fading quickly out of the playoff picture and should be in desperation mode on home ice.

Neither of these two teams are playing particularly well, but I like the value on the Canucks having won each of the two previous meetings and playing a little more consistently.

Oilers to beat Predators 

Have the Oilers turned a corner? They’ve picked up two wins after a seven-game skid and that should help build some confidence. They still have goaltending concerns and have a big hole to dig out of.

In the more immediate future, however, the Preds have been excellent down the stretch this season. They’ve won three straight and are firmly in the top three of the Central Division.

This is a tough one to call with the Preds playing well and the precarious nature of the Edmonton Oilers in the month of January so far. Still, I think there’s some momentum building for the Oil after getting a couple of wins under their belts. Connor McDavid scored the OT game-winner against Vancouver Tuesday night, capping a two-point performance that he badly needed.

This should be a wildly entertaining game, but I’m going to give the slight edge to the Oilers on home ice as they look to continue rebounding from an otherwise forgettable first month of 2022.

BETWAY BOOST: Canucks and Oilers both to win