NHL picks: 4 best bets for Thursday night
Chris Peters makes four money line picks for Thursday night's NHL action, including the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets.
Oilers to beat Bruins
Edmonton’s five-game road trip got off to a poor start with a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Now they have to head to Boston, where the Bruins have been undefeated to start the season. The Bruins are 5-0 on home ice, but have been in tight games almost all season. They also haven’t had to take on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl yet.
The expectation is that Boston will be starting Linus Ullmark in net. He’s been the better of Boston’s two goalies to start the season, with a .918 save percentage through five starts. Boston has been one of the more defensively sound teams in the league, allowing just 27.9 shots against per game – third best in the NHL. But they now have to contend with the best offense in the league.
The Oilers are averaging 4.18 goals per game, which is tops in the league. They also own the best power play in the NHL with an absurd 46.8 per cent success rate. The result has been just two losses all season, with the last one against Detroit probably the biggest head-scratcher.
However, the way Draisaitl and McDavid are cooking right now, I don’t think teams are going to have much success holding them down. They both lead the NHL with 23 points. Draisaitl has 10 goals and McDavid has nine. I don’t anticipate either of them allowing the Oilers to lose consecutive games.
Flames to beat Canadiens
The Flames have stumbled a bit with losses in three of their last four games after a previous six-game winning streak. However, Calgary has a lot more offensive capability than Montreal at this point. The Flames are averaging 3.42 goals per game, which is sixth best in the league presently, while the Canadiens are averaging just two goals per game which is second worst in the league.
The Habs have just three wins this season and are losers in their last three games – all on home ice. This game will be the first of an Eastern road trip for Calgary and the last game on a five-game home stand for the Habs.
Until Montreal proves they’ve turned a corner, I’m going to be picking against them. They simply can’t score enough to make a dent in this spiral they’ve been in since the puck dropped.
Kings to beat Senators
Expectations were high for the Senators coming into the season. Maybe they weren’t going to be a playoff team, but they also weren’t going to be among the league’s worst. Unfortunately for them, COVID-19 is ripping through the roster, sidelining a number of regulars. The Sens have had to dip into their minor league system just to have enough bodies on the ice. It’s getting pretty dire as they’ve now lost five consecutive games.
The Kings won’t be looking to do them any favors. LA has been absolutely rolling lately with six consecutive wins including each of the first two games on their four-game Canadian road trip. Captain Anze Kopitar has been a dominant force in the Kings’ games this season with 15 points through the first 13 games. Los Angeles has also gotten a huge contribution from Alex Iafallo, who has stepped up in a major way to provide significant scoring. He has six goals and 13 points this season. On top of that, veteran goalie Jonathan Quick has apparently turned back the clocks. He has a .924 save percentage and is likely to get the start against the Sens.
You’ve got two teams here heading in vastly different directions at the present and I’m just not sure the Senators have the depth to compete in this one.
Jets to beat Sharks
I just can’t get a read on the Jets this season. They’ve been woefully inconsistent and could use a lot more from some of their key players like Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler, among others. Connor Hellebuyck also hasn’t been as sharp to start this season with a 3-2-3 record and .904 save percentage.
The Jets’ record has a pair of losses to these Sharks on it. Both of those losses were by one goal and the last one was in overtime. With Winnipeg on home ice this time, I have a harder time seeing them dropping three straight to a San Jose squad that some might say have been overachieving this year.
Despite losses in each of their last two at home, the Jets have been better in Winnipeg. They’ve won four games at Canada Life Centre and Hellebuyck has been way better on home ice than he has on the road. Meanwhile, the Sharks are countering with James Reimer in net. Reimer has been outstanding this season with a .946 save percentage through five starts, which includes making 34 saves in a win over Winnipeg two weeks ago.
While I don’t have a ton of faith in the Jets right now, I think it’s really hard to beat a team three times in a row, especially when that third games come on the road. That’s why I’m sticking with Winnipeg for this one.
Edmonton Oilers to win and score a power play goal
Flames, Kings and Jets all to win
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