Free Picks for Every Thursday Night NHL Game – Detailed Breakdown of Each Matchup

by Cameron Dorrett
on January 26, 2017

After rivalry night jam-packed what felt like ten games into four the real deal returns on Thursday night an absolutely massive 13-game schedule. That’s 26 teams in action which means 26 different ways for you to bet. You start adding in the Overs and Unders and you could make money hand over fist with the right advice.

So why so many games? Well, it’s the last action before the NHL  breaks for the All-Star Weekend. This is your one shot to make some good money before the games don’t count! Don’t worry, the NHL returns on Tuesday, but until then it’s time to sink your teeth into this giant slate of games and make some money for the weekend.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Pittsburgh (n/a) at Boston (n/a)

Spread

  • Pittsburgh (n/a) at Boston (n/a)

Total – Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Penguins and Bruins battle in Boston for our last feature game before the All-Star Break. Pittsburgh enters the game after being shutout in a surprising effort by the St. Louis Blues. The Penguins lost 3-0  and are now a less-than-terrifying 6-4-0 in their last ten games.

Despite ranking first in the NHL in goals scored and shots on net the Penguins offense was held off the score sheet in a rare performance, especially against a team that’s struggling as much as the Blues. Now Pittsburgh will be hungry to find the back of the net against the Bruins.

It won’t be easy. Boston is 7-1-2 in their last ten games against Pittsburgh and coming off a 4-3 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings. Boston is still just 4-4-2 in their last ten games and fighting to stay alive in a very crowded bottom half of the Eastern Conference.

Just four points separate last place in the East from the second Wild Card spot and as the All-Star break looms every single game begins to count more and more. Who’s going to come out on top in our feature match up of the week? Lets’ get to it!

Offense

While Pittsburgh may not have looked like the best offensive team in the league when they were shut out by the St. Louis Blues in their last game, the numbers tell a different story. Pittsburgh is averaging 3.60 goals a game on 34.64 shots, both good enough for first in the NHL.

Their powerplay also operates at 22.84 percent which ranks fourth, and it’s easy to see why. When you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel on your team the goals comes fast and easy. That’s why Boston is so lucky they won’t have to go up against Malkin on Thursday night.

The Pittsburgh forward and his 32 assists are sitting out with a lower body injury on Thursday night taking away a huge part of Pittsburgh’s potent offense. Malkin is tied with teammate Sidney Crosby for second overall in league scoring with 54 points and and is second on the team behind Phil Kessel on the powerplay with 19 points this season.

Lack of scoring aside, that also means Boston’s offense will have plenty more room to operate. Malkin takes up a huge amount of space on the ice and his ability to backcheck is well known around the league.  Boston will need the extra space the way their offense is working.

The Bruins score just 2.49 goals a game, good for 24th, despite being second in the NHL in shots per game behind only their opponents Pittsburgh. A large reason for their lack of scoring has been their powerplay. Boston is succeeding on just 17.20 percent of their opportunities, a mark that desperately needs to improve if they plan on winning more hockey games.

Brad Marchand continues to surprise the hockey world. He leads his team with 47 points and 28 assists and continues to be a skilled player as well as a pest on the ice. His ability to skate into every corner will be even more magnified without Evgeni Malkin on the ice.

There’s trouble looming for Marchand though. He’s set to hear from the NHL after slew-footing defenseman Nicklas Kronwalla on Tuesday night. If he’s suspended for any amount of time that seriously limits the Bruin’s ability to score the puck. Make sure you check before game time to see if he’s in the lineup.

Boston is also fully healthy, a rare feat for a team this late into the season. The only injury to even report is their fourth line right winger Brian Ferlin who is day to day with a lower body injury. That means the Bruins can unleash the full strength of their forwards and try to get to the Penguins early.

Defense

Pittsburgh is scoring so much their ability to play defense goes unnoticed, or at least…ignored. The Penguins have been terrible at stopping the puck this season, allowing 2.91 goals a game for the 20th ranked defense in the league. Considering they have aspirations of a Stanley Cup, that’s a shocking number for a team succeeding so well this season.

With Kris Letang out indefinitely, the Penguins’ defense isn’t going to get better anytime soon. Despite Letang’s propensity to try and score more than defend he’s still by far the most important player on Pittsbrugh’s blueline, and until he’s healthy they’re going to continue to suffer.

In Boston the defense has been good, not great. The Bruins rank 9th in goals allowed on the season, letting in just 2.59 goals a game this season. What’s been really impressive is their shots on net. Boston allows just 26.69 shots to find their way to their goaltenders, a mark that ranks second in the NHL.

Without Malkin and Boston’s ability to block shots it may be tough for Pittsburgh to fire their usual barrage on net.  The Bruins have one of the strongest defenses in the league when they get going but stopping the pucks ultimately falls on the guys between the pipes.

Goalies

In Boston the defense has been good, but so has Tuukka Rask. Rask had a losing streak earlier in the season but has since bounced back. He has a .919 save percentage with a goals against average of just 2.13. He’s continuing to return to the elite form we’ve seen out of him in past years and will be hard to score on for Pittsburgh without Malkin.

Matt Murray has been excellent for Pittsburgh since allowing seven to the Capitals over a week ago but saw his four game win streak come to an end against a desperate Blues team. He’ll need to bounce back against Boston with Marc-Andre Fleury still struggling.

Key Matchup

Phil Kessel against David Pastrnak. With Crosby and Marchand (hopefully) battling, the emphasis to score goals will fall on the second best forwards for each time on the ice. Kessel will have ample opportunities to score with Malkin out of the lineup while Pastrnak leads the team in goals and may be on his own if Marchand misses any time.

Advice

Boston has dominated this matchup in the last ten meetings and with Malkin out the odds are even better for Pittsburgh. We think the Penguins’ offense bounces back after being shut out in their last game. Take them on the spread

Pick

Pittsburgh
4
Boston
1

Montreal Canadiens at New York Islanders

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Montreal (-130) at New York (+110)

Spread

  • Montreal -1.5 (+235) at New York +1.5 (-275)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5 (+115 over, -135 under)

The Canadiens haven’t looked themselves since their dominance earlier in the season and while they still sit in first in the Atlantic Division that lead is slowly slipping away. Monreal is coming off a 5-1 win over the lowly Flames and it looks like Carey Price may be shaking off some of his recent struggles.

He stopped 30 of 31 shots in the win and was two seconds away from picking up a shutout before Sam Bennett scored at the very end of the game. Making the night even better for Price was a rare assist he picked up on one of Montreal’s goals. Perhaps that will shock him back into being the best goalie in the league.

He’ll have to be a little sharper against a suddenly hot Islanders team. New York is 5-2-3 in their last ten  and coming off another impressive road win over the Blue Jackets at home. They’ve been a different team since Doug Weight took over with no one benefiting more than John Tavares.

Tavares picked up two more assists against Columbus to raise his point total to 38 in 46 games but the tear he’s been on recently is what really has Islanders fans exciting. Tavares has a multi point game in five of his last seven outings and has his team firmly back in the playoff hunt.

Key Matchup

Carey Price against Thomas Greiss. We all know what Carey Price is capable of, but Thomas Greiss is making a name for himself one game at a time. Greiss stopped 21 of 23 shots in his latest win against the Blue Jackets and hasn’t lost in regulation since January 14th.

He has an excellent .927 save percentage and goals against average of 2.31 and will be key in helping the Islanders make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season. Either team’s goaltender would do well to steal a game for their city right before the All-Star Break

Advice

The Islanders are playing well of late and getting great odds for a home team. We think Montreal makes it close but John Tavares and the rest of his teammates do just enough to steal the win. Take the Islanders on the moneyline

Pick

New York
2
Montreal
1

Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Toronto (n/a) at Philadelphia (n/a)

Spread

  • Toronto (n/a) at Philadelphia (n/a)

Total – Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Leafs enter Philly having played Detroit the night before but back to backs hardly seem to matter for a team with this much youth and energy. Toronto leads the next three teams combined in rookie scoring and it’s not even close. The Leafs aren’t just scoring under coach Mike Babcok anymore, they’re winning as well.

Much like Philadelphia, Toronto’s offense is much more effective than it’s defense, a notion that doesn’t sit well with either coach but is exactly where both these teams find themselves at the midway point of the season .

Toronto is 6th in goals per game at 3.11, 3rd in shots per game with 32.56 and owns the second best powerplay in all of hockey, operating a dangerous 24.65 percent. The Leafs have used that offensive power to grab a Wild Card Spot in the Eastern Conference and try to hold on as best they can.

Philadelphia is in a similar situation, and fighting for that Wild Card spot themselves. The Flyers average 2.83 goals a game, good for 12th3.185 shots a game, good for 4th and have the ninth best powerplay in the NHL with a success rate of 21.43 percent.

Those numbers add up to goals, lots of them, so who’s going to figure out how to score more? Well, that’s where the defense comes in. While neither team has been particularly good at stopping the puck this season, the Flyers have been downright awful lately.

Philadelphia lets in 3.21 goals a game, trailing only Colorado and Arizona for the worst mark in the league. Toronto’s not much better at 20th, but the discrepancy is still there. If the Leafs find a way to grab a few goals early, it could be a long night in Philadelphia.

Key Matchup

Frederik Andersen against Steve Mason. Mason has just one win in the last month and could be in for a long night again. With the way that both teams score, and both these goalies’ occasional struggles whoever steps up and makes some saves will likely see his team in the win column.

Advice

The Leafs are playing the second night of a back to back and the odds reflect that, but they’ve been amazing against the spread all season long. Take them in Philly on the spread and hope the young kids get to scoring early.

Pick

Toronto
5
Philadelphia
3

Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Washington (-170) at New Jersey (+150)

Spread

  • Washington -1.5 (+175) at New Jersey +1.5 (-210)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5 (-110 over, -110 under)

In what’s likely our biggest matchup of the night the terrifying Capitals fly into the Meadowlands for a date with the Devils. Washington is 8-1-1 in their last ten games and are well on their way to repeating as President Trophy winners with 70 points to lead the NHL already this season.

The Caps are coming off a rare outing that saw them shutout against the Senators and they’ll be hungry to put some goals on the board. Washington averages 3.23 goals a game, good enough for fifth and that number continues to climb. They’ve averaged almost five goals a game in their last ten and are steamrolling teams at every turn.

That’s bad news for the Devils who like to give up goals. New Jersey lets in 2.84 a game on 31.10 shots. Both numbers rank low in the bottom half of the league and are a big reason why New Jersey is sitting dead last in the Eastern Conference.

They’re just 4-4-2 in their last ten games and coming off a 3-1 road loss in LA to the Kings. New Jersey also has the worst goal differential in the Eastern Conference at -28 and can’t seem to find any consistency.

Key Matchup

Taylor Hall against Alex Ovechkin. Hall leads his team in points and assists, but he can’t do it all every night. It will be even tougher for him against Ovechkin who leads his team in goals while also leading his team in hits. With Ovechking shadowing Hall all night and looking for his own room to score it could be a long evening for the Devils’ forward.

Advice

Washington’s line gets buoyed a bit by being the road team, and that’s fine with us. The Capitals are a disciplined group that knows how important it is to go into the All-Star break with a win. Take them on the spread and watch the goals pile up.

Pick

Washington
6
New Jersey
2

LA Kings at Carolina Hurricanes

The Lines

Moneyline

  • LA (EVEN) at Carolina (-120)

Spread

  • LA +1.5 (-290) at Carolina -1.5 (+245)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5 (-120 over, EVEN under)

The Kings and Hurricanes battle in Raleigh with both teams struggling as of late. LA has officially turned from “inconsistent team that will eventually get it together” to “inconsistent team that everyone needs to worry about”. The Kings are just 4-6-0 in their last ten games and their last win was against the unimpressive Devils.

Tyler Toffoli and Matt Greene are still both injured for LA and their depth is getting concerning. Outside of Jeff Carter’s 43 points not a single other Kings’ skater has hit the 30 point plateau with defenseman Drew Doughty coming in second with just 27 points.

The Kings will have ample opportunities to improve those numbers against the struggling Hurricanes. Carolina has lost four straight games including a 6-1 pounding at the hands of the Washington Capitals in their last outing.

If there’s any good news for Carolina, it’s that they get to go back home. Carolina is 15-5-1 at home this season and if they ever figure out how to win on the road they could be a dangerous team down the stretch. The Kings have won six of their last ten against the Hurricanes but with both team’s struggling who are you going to pick?

Key Matchup

Anze Kopitar against Jeff Skinner. We harp on him a lot hear but Kopitar needs to get going. His 21 assists lead the team which is excellent, but he still hasn’t been able to find his scoring touch. He has just five goals on the season and has to go up against Skinner at home with his 17 goals. Kopitar is a great shutdown forward, but he needs to start lighting the lamp as well.

Advice

Normally we’d take the Kings on the road as we keep hoping for them to bounce back, but our hope has faded. Carolina is incredible at home this year and we see no reason why they can’t hand the struggling, injured Kings another loss. Take the Hurricanes on the spread.

Pick

Carolina
5
LA
2

Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Tampa Bay (-115) at Florida (-105)

Spread

  • Tampa Bay -1.5 (+250) at Florida +1.5 (-300)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5 (-130 over, +110 under)

It’s a showdown in the sunshine state and no matter what the teams in the Eastern Conference do the playoffs still seem within reach. The Lightning have gone 3-6-1 in their last ten games yet after beating the Blackhawks (on the road) 5-2 look like a suddenly dangerous team. They’re just four points out of a playoff spot and as their stars slowly but surely recover they continue to pose a threat as a dangerous team down the stretch.

The Panthers are in a similar situation. Just 4-4-2 in their last ten games they find themselves just three points out of a playoff spot with injured stars set to return. Still, there will be no knight in shining armor for either team when they drop the puck on Thursday night.

The desperation will be high for both teams to escape with a win before the All-Star break, a weekend they can hopefully use to rest some of their players. Florida has won six of the last ten matchups between the two teams but both clubs have split the last two games.

The teams are almost dead-even in statistical matchups, and this is going to basically boil down to who wants it more.

Key Matchup

Nikita Kucherov against Vincent Trochek. When the other players on your team are hurt, you need to step up to the occasion. That’s the message both coaches will be giving these two players and while Kucherov is enjoying a better season than Trochek, it’s close. Who’s going to step up and find the back of the net for their team?

Advice

Florida is a dismal 5-18 against the spread at home while the Lightning are 10-12 against the spread on the road. That’s the only real piece of information we can lean on to bet. With Tampa Bay getting better odds, take them to grab a win in the Sunshine Battle on the spread.

Pick

Tampa Bay
4
Florida
3

Calgary Flames at Ottawa Senators

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Calgary (+115) at Ottawa (-135)

Spread

  • Calgary +1.5 (-260) at Ottawa -1.5 (+220)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5 (+115 over, -135 under)

The Calgary Flames could really use a win. Like, really use a win. The Flames have lost four straight and are watching their promising start to the season slip away game by game. After being shutout by the Leafs 4-0 the Flames traveled to Montreal to battle with the Canadiens, only the battle resembled more of a surrender.

Calgary lost 5-1 to Montreal and now has just a one point lead over the struggling Kings for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Flames are finding every single way to lose but their goal scoring has been a real problem as of late. Calgary has just one goal over their last two games and can’t seem to find any consistent scoring.

Johnny Gaudreau was absolutely rocked in a hit he received against the Leafs and while he says he’s feeling no effects from the bodycheck his game has been suffering, then again it wasn’t doing well before the hit either. The Flames’ young star is scoreless in his last ten games with just three assists.

It won’t get any easier against a good Senators team. Ottawa is 6-3-1 in their last ten games and coming off a 3-0 shutout win over arguably the best team in all of hockey, the Washington Capitals. If Ottawa can shutout the hottest team in hockey, who knows what they can do to the struggling Flames.

Mike Condon has really taken to his new team. He is 4-0-1 with the Senators since starting in net and after the shutout against the Capitals he’ll be expected to limit the Flames offense as well.

Key Matchup

Bobby Ryan against Sean Monahan. Both are dangerous scorers, and Ryan has gotten the better of the two as of late. He has four goals in his last seven games and continues to find ways to hit the back of the net. If the Flames can’t control him early chances are they won’t be leaving with a win.

Advice

The Flames need a win, but they need the All-Star break even more. Calgary needs a full reset if they have any hopes of staying in the playoffs. That’s why we like Ottawa at home and on the spread, especially after such a great performance against Washington.

Pick

Ottawa
5
Calgary
2

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

The Lines

Moneyline

  • St. Louis (+135) at Minnesota (-155)

Spread

  • St. Louis +1.5 (-220) at Minnesota -1.5 (+180)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5 (-140 over, +120 under)

Just when it looked the Blues might be falling apart at the seams they go and do something crazy like shut out the Penguins 3-0 on the road. The win kept fans’ fears at bay for the time being but it wont get any easier on Thursday night when they travel to Minnesota for a date with the Wild.

The Wild are 7-2-1 in their last ten games and coming off a 3-2 road win over the high-scoring Dallas Stars. Minnesota has been the cream of the crop in the West all season long and are now 31-11-5. They own the best combined defense and offense in the entire NHL and continue to play at an incredibly consistent level.

The Wild and Blues have split their last ten meetings at five apiece so neither comes in with a significant edge in the matchup, but the Wild have advantages everywhere else. Minnesota is 16-6-0 at home this season while the Blues have had trouble winning on the road all season long. St. Louis enters the matchup with a brutal 8-12-1 record on the road but have confidence after their win over Pittsburgh.

Carter Hutton will get the nod in net again after shutting the door on the Pens, which means Jake Allen will rest through the All-Star break. If Hutton can turn in another strong performance the Blues will have a lot to look forward to when play resumes on Tuesday.

Key Matchup

Vladimir Tarasenko against Jason Zucker. Tarasenko is in a huge scoring slump despite still adding some assists and the Blues need him to get going. It won’t be easy against Zucker who leads the league in plus/minus rating at +27. Maybe a challenging matchup is just what Tarasenko needs to help him try and find the back of the net.

Advice

As much as the Blues could use this win, we don’t think they’re going to get it. Pittsburgh was one thing, but Minnesota at home is another and the Wild just don’t seem to lose in their own building this year. Take Minnesota on the spread.

Pick

Minnesota
4
St. Louis
1

Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Columbus (EVEN) at Nashville (-120)

Spread

  • Columbus +1.5 (-290) at Nashville -1.5 (+245)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5 (+105 over, -125 under)

The Jackets enter Nashville coming off a loss to the suddenly feisty Islanders and now have to play a team that seems to have found its stride over the last few weeks. The Predators (despite losing in overtime to Buffalo on Tuesday) are still 6-3-1 in their last ten games and back in the third spot in the Central Division where many analysts thought they would be when the season started.

Nashville is excellent at home, posting a 12-5-6 record and if they could figure out how to win a few more games in overtime in their own building they’d be downright unbeatable. It was only a matter of time before the Preds separated themselves from the rest of the playoff hopefuls, and their +7 goal differential is evident of that.

They’ll have to try and keep that separation up in one last game before the All-Star break against the Jackets. Columbus is 14-6-3 on the road this season but their 5-5-0 record is modest after their insane 16 game winning streak. Part of their mediocrity over their last two weeks has come out of the goalie spot.

Despite being one of the best in the league this season Sergei Brobovsky has dropped two of his last three games and was pulled against the Islanders in his last outing after letting in four goals on 24 shots. It won’t get any easier for him on the road in Nashville, but he still has a 2.04 goals against average with a .930 save percentage on the season.

Key Matchup

Cam Atkinson against P.K. Subban. Atkinson just keeps scoring. He racked up his 24th on the year in his last game against New York and now has three goals in his last two games and 46 points in 47 contests on the year. He’s still one of the smallest players when he’s on the ice and Subban has the speed and size to keep up with him, and do a little offensive damage of his own.

Advice

Both teams have identical 5-5-0 records against one another in their last ten but Nashville has been the hotter team as of late. The Preds have won two of the last three against the Jackets and now get to play them at home where they thrive. Take Nashville on the spread and the moneyline as the length of the Jacket’s 16 game win streak is finally catching up to them.

Pick

Nashville
3
Columbus
1

Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Winnipeg (+135) at Chicago (-155)

Spread

  • Winnipeg +1.5 (-235) at Chicago -1.5 (+195)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5 (EVEN over, -120 under)

The Jets and Blackhawks battle in Chicago with both teams coming off losses. For Winnipeg it’s two in a row after their 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Sharks. The Blackhawks’ latest loss is a little more inexplicable. Chicago dropped a home game 5-2 to the struggling, injury-riddled Lightning and in doing so gave away first place to the Wild in the Central Division.

Chicago will have to shake off that loss and regroup in their last game before All-Star weekend hits. The Blackhawks have won six of the last ten against Winnipeg, but haven’t managed to beat the Jets in three straight games. Chicago has averaged just 0.67 goals over that span, so scoring has clearly been an issue against the Jets’ big blue liners.

Winnipeg has struggled recently with a 3-6-1 record in their last ten but maybe a date with the Blackhawks is just what they need. The Jets also have Patrik Laine back. Laine logged over 21 minutes of icetime and grabbed an assist in his first game back since suffering a concussion. He was leading all rookies in points before he went down and will be hungry to get back in the race.

Key Matchup

Bryan Little against Jonathan Toews. Little picked up a pair of goals in the Jets’ last loss and extended his four game point streak with seven points during that time. Now the center will have to go up against one of the best shutdown forwards in the game in Toews, but Chicago also needs his production if they want to snap their three game losing streak against Winnipeg.

Advice

Winnipeg plays Chicago hard, and well this season. With Laine back in the lineup and the Blackhawks coming off a bad home loss to the Lightning why not take the Jets on the spread?

Pick

Winnipeg
5
Chicago
3

Buffalo Sabres at Dallas Stars

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Buffalo (+125) at Dallas (-145)

Spread

  • Buffalo +1.5 (-235) at Dallas -1.5 (+195)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5 (EVEN over, -120 under)

This is not a hoax, the Sabres are streaking. Buffalo has won three straight games including a huge overtime win against the Nashville Predators and now get to take their talents to Dallas for a date with the struggling Stars.

Speaking of overtime, Dallas has lost two straight in the extra frame and are just 3-5-2 in their last ten games. The injuries continue to pile up for the Stars as well. Johnny Oduya, Ales Hemsky, Jamie Oleksiak, Mattias Janmark, Radek Faksa and Julius Honka will all be unavailable to play on Thursday opening up a ton of room for the Sabres on the ice.

That sounds great for Buffalo. They’ve scored 11 goals over their last three victories and two of those wins came against very impressive teams in Montreal and Nashville. Buffalo has only won four of their last six against Dallas, but with how banged up the Stars are now may be their time to pounce.

Key Matchup

Jack Eichel against Tyler Seguin. Eichel is coming off a two goal performance against the Predators, including the game winner in overtime. He now has 12 in 26 games and six points in his last five outings. He’s looked excellent at times since coming back from injury and if he can find a bit more consistency to his game he’ll quickly turn into one of the best players in the NHL.

Seguin already owns that distinction, at least as a goal scorer. With 17 on the season and fully over an illness he suffered last week he scored in his last outing and will be trying to get his team back in the win column against Buffalo’s soft defense.

Advice

We’re all about calculated risks in the NHL on Thursday and with the way the Sabres have been playing combined with all of Dallas’ injuries, we’ll happily take Buffalo on the spread as a road dog.

Pick

Buffalo
4
Dallas
3

Vancouver Canucks at Arizona Coyotes

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Vancouver (-105) at Arizona (-115)

Spread

  • Vancouver +1.5 (-300) at Arizona -1.5 (+250)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5 (-130 over, +110 under)

The Canucks get to end the first half of the season on a high note Thursday night when they travel to Arizona for a date with the hapless Coyotes. Arizona has actually won two straight games but still find themselves with a 15-26-6 record and 16 points out of a possible playoff spot.

Vancouver happens to occupy one of those spots with some decent enough play over their last ten games. With the Kings and Flames struggling, The Canucks snuck into the second Wild Card spot with a 5-2-3 record over their last ten games including their latest win, a 3-2 nail biter over the Avalanche.

The Canucks are 8-1-1 in their last ten games against the Coyotes, so the dominance stretches much further than the terrible season Arizona is having. With Shane Doan questionable and Max Domi sitting this one out the Desert Dogs are without even less to work with against a team who knows how important these wins are for the standings.

Key Matchup

Sven Baertschi against Christian Dvorak. Baertschi scored twice in the last game against the Avalanche for his first goal in his last eight games. With the Sedin twins slowing down its important for players like Baertschi to step up and score and now he gets to go against one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Still, Dvorak has been playing well defensively at the forward position for Arizona. He has just 12 points in 33 games but his plus 5 rating is incredibly impressive on a team that gives up this many goals.

Advice

We want to see Arizona ride out a win streak into the All-Star break, but it’s just not going to happen against the Canucks. Take Vancouver on the spread.

Pick

Vancouver
3
Arizona
0

Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Edmonton (n/a) at San Jose (n/a)

Spread

  • Edmonton (n/a) at San Jose (n/a)

Total – Over/Under

  • (n/a)

Our last game of the night, and the weekend, is arguably our best one. The red-hot Oilers invade San Jose to take on the even hotter Sharks in a battle of Pacific Division foes.

San Jose has won six straight games including a 4-3 road win in overtime against the Jets. The Sharks are now 8-2-0 in their last ten games and just three points out of first place in the entire Western Conference. Brent Burns continues to be the best defenseman in all of hockey, at least from an offensive standpoint. He scored again in the Sharks’ latest win and now has 21 goals and 51 points in just 49 games this year.

It won’t be all offense for Burns on Thursday night as he has to worry about a certain Connor McDavid on the other team. McDavid leads the league in scoring with 57 points in 50 games and has registered at least a point in five straight. He has his team firmly in the playoffs and we’re excited to see him keep it up for the second half.

Key Matchup

Leon Draisaitl against Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Neither get talked about as much as their peers Burns and McDavid but these two are have been instrumental to their teams’ success this season. Vlasic is arguably the best shutdown defender in hockey while Draisatil is a great two way forward with 44 points on the year including two goals in his last game. Bring it on.

Advice

The Sharks six wins in a row and home record are daunting figures, but the Oilers are getting great odds and hungry to make an impression before the All-Star break. Take Edmonton on the road and hope McDavid and Draisaitl stay hot.

Pick

Edmonton
4
San Jose
3
MONEYLINE
DECIMAL
FRACTIONAL
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