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Lightning road favorites on NHL odds for Wednesday at Colorado

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are not only a fresher team as the visitors against the Colorado Avalanche, but they’re also a solid commodity as a road favorite.

The Lightning, anchored by defenseman Victor Hedman, are the -140 road betting favorite  on the NHL odds with the host Colorado Avalanche coming back at +120 for Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The total is set at 6.5 goals.

Tampa Bay is 6-3 in its last nine regular-season games as a road favorite, as well as 14-6 in its last 20 road games against Western Conference teams. The Lightning have had two days off since their last game, while the Avalanche have the shorter turnaround after completing a four-game road trip along the East Coast on Monday.

Tampa Bay is 5-1-1 on the season as it embarks on the middle game of a five-game road trip through the Western Conference. The Lightning are third in the NHL in scoring at 3.86 goals per game. The Lightning, who have won in each of their last three visits to the Pepsi Center, are also solid on special teams, particularly with a penalty killing unit that is operating at an NHL-best 96.6 percent efficiency.

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has a 2.16 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage on the season.

Colorado is a somewhat surprising 6-1-2 on the season, with the likes of center Nathan MacKinnon and right wing Mikko Rantanen leading the way for an attack that is scoring at a 3.64 goals per game clip. The Avalanche are 8-1 in interconference home games since the last time the Lightning came to the Mile High City, but those kind of trends are hard to maintain, especially in a situation where a team is re-adapting to home climes after a road trip.

Not unlike the Lightning, the Avalanche have one of the league’s most efficient penalty kills, ranking third at 90.5 percent, but they are also allowing a league-worst 4.67 power plays per game and few teams can afford that against the highly potent Lightning.

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov has a 1.64 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage. Colorado has one notable injury with center J.T. Compher (concussion) out indefinitely.

The total has gone OVER in six of Tampa Bay’s last eight games when it was favored on the road, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has gone UNDER in four of Colorado’s last six home games against Eastern Conference teams.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

NBCSN has the NHL’s All-Star weekend covered

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The Honda NHL All-Star Game will feature a new 3-on-3 divisional format this year, inspired by this year’s new 3-on-3 overtime format, with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid to the winning team. Pre-game coverage begins Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, hosted by Liam McHugh, alongside analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick.

NBCSN’s NHL All-Star coverage begins Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET with a special NHL Top 10 – 3-on-3 edition, as host Liam McHugh and analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones count down the best 3-on-3 moments of the 2015-16 NHL regular season. Friday night’s coverage moves to Nashville at 8 p.m. ET with NHL All-Star Friday Night: Live in Music City. Hosted by NBCSN’s Kathryn Tappen and Kimberly Perry, lead singer of Grammy Award and CMA Award-winning group The Band Perry, the primetime special will feature top NHL stars, as well as performances from Aaron Lewis, Kristian Bush, Big & Rich, John Hiatt and Lee Brice from the outdoor Honda Stage at Bridgestone Winter Park in the heart of downtown Nashville.

Coverage continues on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET with the NHL Skills Competition. Each of the 44 All-Stars will compete in at least one of the following skill-based contests: Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™, Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™, DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting™, Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay™, AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot™, and Discover NHL Shootout™. Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Olczyk, McGuire and Jeremy Roenick will call the NHL Skills Competition.

Following is NBCSN’s All-Star coverage schedule:

ASG

Should NHL Players Go To Sochi In 2014?

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It’s tough to argue that the break is good for the league. Sure, it
gives teams a chance to heal up from a long season of wear and tear but
hockey is not like football; you can’t just take a two-week break and
hope to play at the exact same level you were heading into the time off.
Heck, teams have had to have mini-training camps just to get back into
the routine of playing together.

Of course, the NHL players will all say they think they should play
in the Olympics. For many, wearing a gold medal and representing their
country is the highest honor they’ll ever achieve in their career and
some even say that winning the gold medal is better than hoisting the
Stanley Cup.

The two coaches in yesterday’s game, both NHL coaches and both now
scrambling to get back with their teams and readjust as quick as
possible, believe that the NHL players should be a part of the Olympic
Games.

“We do a pretty good job of stealing players from other countries and
I think their fans deserve a chance to see a tournament like this,”
said Team USA head coach Ron Wilson.

“I think the best players in the world should have an opportunity to
compete in the Olympics,” said Babcock. “This is a great showcase
event and players are thrilled to be here. I’m a big fan of the ice
surface being the same as well because think the game is so much
better.”

When you think about Olympic hockey, there’s no question that if
professional players from around the world are competing then NHL
players should as well. Of course, a group of American college and AHL
players facing off against a Russian team armed from the KHL could turn
into another, actual “miracle” scenario.

Yet the Olympics should be about showcasing the best athletes of the
world pitted against each other. In that case, there’s no question the
NHL should send their players to Sochi in 2014.

After watching yesterday’s incredible game, it’s tough to argue
against it. But at the same time, NHL fans are restless. They’ve gone
two long weeks without their favorite team playing, just at the point in
the season when teams are gearing up for the playoffs.

So which are you? Are you in favor of the NHL players being in the
Olympics?