NHL betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Thursday
Our expert has picked out four teams to back on the moneyline in the NHL on Thursday.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
New York Islanders to beat Boston Bruins
After barely beating the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, the Boston Bruins - with new acquisition Taylor Hall - will be looking to secure their first win over the New York Islanders this season.
The Isles come into Boston with a 5-0-0 record in the series to date, having outscored the Bruins 18-8. Despite that impressive record, the Isles come in as road underdogs.
In addition to their success against Boston, the Isles are coming into the game with three off days between this one and a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers. Such time off at this stage of the season is a luxury. On multiple days between games, the Isles have gone 7-1-1 so far this season. Boston, meanwhile, has done pretty well with just one day between games at 15-6-4.
One important note is that the Bruins are expected to have Tuukka Rask back in net after a prolonged absence due to injury. Rask has performed decently well against the Isles with a .923 save percentage over three appearances. Him being back for the first time in weeks could make Boston a little bit of a tougher out.
Another player to keep an eye on for this game, and one you may be interested in looking for a few player props for, is Kyle Palmieri, who had five goals over six previous appearances against the Bruins while still a member of the New Jersey Devils. This will be his first meeting against Boston since being traded to New York.
Tampa Bay Lightning to beat Florida Panthers
Locked in a three-way tie with Carolina, the Central Division race intensifies just a bit when the NHL’s two Florida teams lock up.
The Lightning and Panthers have played some of the most entertaining games against each other to date with both earning a win and the two clubs sharing 32 goals over the course of the series. If you like entertainment, these two are often going to deliver.
The Panthers stopped a three-game skid by beating the Dallas Stars in overtime on Tuesday night, but they are still feeling the absence of top defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who has been lost for the season due to a broken leg. Also missing for the Panthers is Carter Verhaege, one of the breakout performers this season, as he is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.
The Lightning have a few injuries of their own, too, with Steven Stamkos sitting out Tuesday night’s game against the Predators.
The Bolts have hit some bumps a little more often lately as they’re 4-6-0 over their last 10 games. If they want to keep pace in the division, they’ve got to course correct a bit.
There’s not a lot separating these two teams, but I’ll lean towards the Lightning due to their depth and their advantage in net. Andrei Vasilevskiy remains the NHL leader in wins and save percentage amid another Vezina-caliber season.
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Winnipeg Jets
These two teams have had some good battles over six games this season. Toronto holds a 4-2-0 advantage over Winnipeg in the season series to date, but each of the games have been pretty close. One thing you can usually bank on is a heck of a lot of shots on goal and an entertaining game.
The Jets are going to be on the second half of a back-to-back, coming off a 3-2 win against the Senators. This will also be Winnipeg’s fourth game in six days as they end an Eastern Canada road swing. Despite the timing, the Jets plan to have regular starter Connor Hellebuyck in net after resting him on Wednesday night in Ottawa. He is 1-2-2 against the Leafs, but has a .927 save percentage, which is his second best mark against any team this season.
The Maple Leafs could counter with Jack Campbell, who finally lost a game in his last start, falling to 11-1-0 on the season, but still owning a .930 save percentage and two shutouts over his 12 appearances this season.
The Maple Leafs have put five points between themselves and Winnipeg in the race for the North Division title, and even though this is a great chance for the Jets to gain some ground, I don’t see it happening on the second half of a back-to-back, even with Hellebuyck in net.
The Leafs are 16-4-3 on home ice this season and should be pretty fresh in comparison to their road-weary opponents.
Pittsburgh Penguins to beat Philadelphia Flyers
There is something deeply wrong with the Philadelphia Flyers right now. They’ve lost six of their last eight games and have at times looked lost. So, even despite the fact that they have a winning record against the Penguins this season at 3-2-0, it’s hard to have much faith this is going to be a game where Philadelphia can turn it around.
The Pens have won three straight and eight of their last 10 games. They’ve had three days between their 5-2 win against New Jersey and Thursday night’s contest against the Flyers, too. On multiple days’ rest, Pittsburgh is 6-3-0 and scores more goals on average. Considering the Flyers goaltenders have struggled stopping any pucks lately, that could be especially bad news for Philadelphia.
The Pens have a tough task in keeping pace with Washington and the New York Islanders for home ice in the first round of the playoffs, so they can’t really afford opportunities against prone opponents to slip by.
Even though the Flyers have played the Pens tough, Pittsburgh should have a good chance to make some noise on home ice after a six-game road swing.
Islanders, Lightning and Maple Leafs all to win
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