MetroBet takes a look at four games on the NHL slate for Thursday night.
Philadelphia Flyers at Montreal Canadiens
Moneyline: Flyers +120, Canadiens -145
Puckline: Flyers +1.5 goals (-230), Canadiens -1.5 goals (+185)
Betting Total: 6.0 goals (Over EVEN, Under -120)
Time (Eastern), TV: 7:30 p.m.
Despite a 5-2 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers (28-25-7) remain one of the NHL’s hottest teams at 12-3 in their last 15 contests. The Montreal Canadiens (32-21-7), meanwhile, only just snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets. Montreal may be 8-2 in their last 10 at the tail-end of a four-games-in-six-nights situation, but it remains to be seen if they’ve turned a corner or if they’ll continue their losing ways on Thursday night. An Under wager looks like the better bet here.
Flyers netminder Carter Hart has been one of the best stories of the calendar year in the NHL. Tampa Bay was able to figure him out, but not many other teams have (13-7-1, 2.67 GAA, .920 save percentage). Carey Price continues to be a rock between the pipes for the Habs, posting a .938 save percentage over his last four outings.
Several trends point toward an Under outcome at the Bell Centre this Thursday. Philly has gone below the total in six straight after allowing five or more goals in their previous game, per Covers.com. Also, the Under is 10-4 in the Flyers’ last 14 games outside the Wells Fargo Center. As for Montreal, the Under has cashed in 16 of their last 21 overall.
Prediction: Canadiens win, 2-1
The play: Flyers vs. Canadiens Under
Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers
Moneyline: Wild -110, Rangers -110
Puckline: Wild +1.5 goals (-300), Rangers -1.5 goals (+240)
Betting Total: 6.5 goals (Over EVEN, Under -120)
Time (Eastern), TV: 7 p.m.
The New York Rangers (26-25-8) have languished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for most of the season, but they should be able to grab two points against the free-falling Minnesota Wild (27-27-6) at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
The Wild have lost nine of the last 10 games and are coming off consecutive 4-0 shutouts to the Blues and the woeful Ducks. The usually-reliable Devan Dubnyk has played to a .892 save percentage during Minnesota’s long slump, and his club has killed off just 24 of their last 36 penalties (66.7 percent). New York’s power play, which is clicking at a solid 25 percent in the same span, is poised to take advantage.
The Rangers have been in good form of late, winning three of their last five games, losing by only one goal to both the Jets and the Penguins in road affairs. Center Kevin Hayes has elevated his play in that span, matching team leader Mika Zibanejad with point-per-game production.
Prediction: Rangers win, 3-1
The play: Rangers moneyline
San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins
Moneyline: Sharks EVEN, Penguins -120
Puckline: Sharks +1.5 goals (-230), Penguins -1.5 goals (+190)
Betting Total: 7.0 goals (Over +110, Under -130)
Time (Eastern): 7 p.m.
After reeling off six straight wins, five on the road, the San Jose Sharks (35-17-8) had a disappointing 1-2 home stand. Perhaps hitting the road again will help the Sharks build a new win streak as tepid underdogs in PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins (32-21-7).
The Penguins opened February by losing four of their first five tilts. They’ve turned it around by winning four of their last five, but all of those victories were against sub-.500 teams (Flyers, Oilers, Rangers and Devils). Their lone contest against a winning club in that span was a home defeat to the Flames. Over their last 10 games, Pittsburgh has been outshot 38.2 to 32.5. That does not bode well as for them, as San Jose is second in the league in shots per game (34).
The Sharks have thrived as underdogs this year, going 6-3 straight-up. They outshoot favored opponents 35.4 to 30.2, score an average of 4.64 goals per game, and click at 37.8 percent on the power play. Look for centers Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture to continue the runs they’ve been on (13 points combined in their last four tilts) as San Jose grabs another road victory.
Prediction: Sharks win, 4-2
St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars
Moneyline: Blues -125, Stars +105
Puckline: Blues -1.5 goals (+210), Stars +1.5 goals (-250)
Betting Total: 5.5 goals (Over +115, Under -135)
Time (Eastern): 8:30 p.m.
The St. Louis Blues (32-22-5) and Dallas Stars (29-25-5) are trending in completely opposite directions ahead of their Thursday night meeting at American Airlines Center. The Blues are riding a franchise-long 11-game win streak, while the Stars have dropped five of their last six contests. There’s little convincing evidence to suggest that St. Louis will relent here.
Goaltenders Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen have combined to bewilder the Blues’ opposition during this run. In fact, St. Louis recorded three straight shutouts before the Maple Leafs found the back of the net twice in a 3-2 loss on Tuesday.
The Blues’ leading scorers, right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and center Ryan O’Reilly, have combined for 16 points over their last five games alone. The Stars have struggled to scrape together goals during their 1-5 skid, averaging less than two per tilt.
Prediction: Blues win, 3-1
The play: Sharks moneyline and Blues moneyline Parlay