NHL picks: 4 best bets for Thursday night's games
Chris Peters makes four money line picks for Thursday night's NHL action, including another defeat for the struggling Montreal Canadiens.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL picks and predictions page for best bets throughout the 2021-22 NHL season.
Flames to beat Penguins
The Flames are on a roll right now and have a chance to close out a lengthy road trip unbeaten if they can get past the Penguins. This may be their toughest test yet with this being their fifth game in seven days.
What we don’t know is if Sidney Crosby will be back in the lineup or not. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but has been steadily ramping up his participation in practice. If he’s in the game, that certainly changes the dynamic, but the Flames have been finding ways to win games on this road swing after dropping their first two games of the season.
Calgary has two of the top goal scorers in the NHL in this early stage of the season with Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane, who each have seven goals. Meanwhile, Johnny Gaudreau has eight assists. They’ve been able to lean on those players for offense, while Jacob Markstrom has been stellar between the pipes with a .934 save percentage through his first four starts.
The Penguins, meanwhile, have managed to have some success despite dealing with so many injuries. They’re 3-1-2 and have been in just about every game they’ve played except for the last one against the Tampa Bay Lightning where they lost 5-1. But the Pens are definitely depleted at the moment. Because of that, and with the Flames rolling like they are, I like the value that’s on Calgary right now as a road underdog.
Canucks to beat Flyers
The Flyers are coming off of an impressive win against the Edmonton Oilers, while the Canucks are reeling from a close loss to the Minnesota Wild. The only difference is Philly played last night. Back-to-back road games is always tough for a team, whether they won the first game or not. Vancouver, meanwhile, is set for its second home game after finally holding its home opener on Tuesday.
With Carter Hart having played for the Flyers in the front of their back-to-back, Martin Jones will start Thursday. It will be Jones’s second start of the season after he stopped 37 of 40 shots against Boston on October 20. Over his career, he’s been excellent against Vancouver, owning a 9-3-1 record with a .935 save percentage. He could be the difference in the game if he’s on. Still, he might have a slightly weary team in front of him after having to try to slow down Connor McDavid and company the night before in their first back-to-back of the season.
The Canucks have been battling consistency issues to start the season, but one of their three wins came in a shootout against the Flyers back on October 15. J.T. Miller had three points in that game and added the shootout winner. The Canucks also played decently well in their home opener Tuesday, but couldn’t claw their way back against the Wild.
If there has been a bright spot and a consistent presence so far for the Canucks, it’s goalie Thatcher Demko, who has kept his team in games and has a .921 save percentage through his first six starts. He and Jones should have a good head-to-head matchup, but I’m giving the edge to Demko and the Canucks.
Jets to beat Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are depleted by injury at the moment and are in the midst of a five-game winless streak after beating the Vegas Golden Knights in their home opener back on October 14. It’s been a tough two weeks only made tougher by the fact that top defenseman Drew Doughty will be out for an extended period. Meanwhile, depth defenseman Sean Walker will miss the rest of the year after sustaining a severe knee injury.
Those absences put a lot of pressure on the LA forwards, which is a talented group up front, but they just aren’t scoring enough. Captain Anze Kopitar has been carrying the offensive burden with six goals and nine points through six games. Doughty was on fire, too, with seven points through his first four games, but now he’s out.
The Jets, meanwhile, have gotten balanced scoring with Kyle Connor leading the way with 10 points through six games. They have scored fewer than three goals just once all season and are in the midst of a three-game winning streak after a three-loss start to the season. With their balanced scoring and the momentum building for Winnipeg, they should be able to take advantage of a depleted Kings lineup.
Sharks to beat Canadiens
The Canadiens finally managed a win over the weekend, but they went right back to looking very poor against the Seattle Kraken. Montreal has been outscored 25-11. They’ve scored more than one goal in a game just once this season – their 6-1 win over Detroit. The offense has been anaemic at best and the defense hasn’t been much better.
The Habs lost to San Jose at home, 5-0, in their worst margin of defeat of the season. Meanwhile, San Jose is returning home after an extended road trip. After losing to Nashville to close out that five-game swing, the Sharks will be looking to bounce back quickly.
Until Montreal starts scoring with any amount of consistency, it’s going to be awfully hard to pick them to win games. The Sharks have gotten goals from nine different players on the roster and have some legit offensive leaders in Timo Meier and Logan Couture who each have nine points. Meanwhile, Erik Karlsson has been especially productive in what appears to be a resurgent season for the former Norris Trophy Winner.
It’s hard to see Montreal going into the Shark Tank and coming away with two points.
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