Gary | Thu 16/03/2017 - 15:37 EDT

Thursday NHL Game Day Preview

Thursday NHL Game Day Preview
The Ottawa Senators can move into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a victory against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. In other action, the red-hot Boston Bruins will seek a fifth straight win when they face the Edmonton Oilers.

NHL Best Bets 

By Angelo Montilla

Here are a few NHL betting lines to consider, with odds courtesy of BetOnline.

Ottawa Senators (+106) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (-116)

Hawks

First place is once again within reach for the Ottawa Senators, who will host the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

Winners of seven of the last 10 games, the Senators sit one point behind the Montreal Canadiens for the Atlantic Division. The Sens enter action on Thursday night as +106 favorites on home ice, where the club has posted a remarkable 19-10-7 record this season. The Hawks, who head to Ottawa as enticing -116 underdogs, are riding back-to-back victories and have won eight of their last 10 games.

As good as the Senators have been defensively, the club has struggled with puck possession. Ottawa’s 48.15 percent Corsi rating — a stat that measures shot differential at even strength play — ranks among the bottom half of the league. In comparison, the Blackhawks are playing at a 50.54 Corsi rating heading into action on Thursday.

The Blackhawks hold the advantage in head-to-head play against the Senators, winning six times over their last 10 meetings. 

Are you considering a total goals wager? BetOnline has set the over/under line at 5.5, but expect a tight-checking game with the Blackhawks stealing two points in Ottawa.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks (-116) and the Under (5.5)

Edmonton Oilers (-115) vs. Boston Bruins (-105)

Oilers

The Boston Bruins have won four in a row and will look to make it five straight on Thursday when the club travels to Edmonton to face Connor McDavid and the playoff-hungry Oilers.

Edmonton, which holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, enter action on Thursday as the -115 favorites. The Bruins, who may be a little tired after playing the night before in Calgary, are intriguing -105 underdogs.

Boston’s tremendous hot streak can be attributed to the team’s excellent puck possession. The Bruins boast a Corsi rating of 53.72 — second in the NHL only to the Los Angeles Kings.

NHL odds

Boston’s defense will certainly have its hands full with McDavid on the ice as the Oilers star forward is tied for the league lead in points with 76.

Head-to-head over the last 10 games, the Bruins have dominated the series, posting a 6-1-3 record against the Oilers during that stretch.

The total points projection for this match is set at 5.5 and it’s safe to say these high-scoring teams will surpass that mark.

Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-115) and the Over (5.5)

Tampa Bay Lightning (-128) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (+116)

Leafs

Two Eastern Conference teams battling for their playoff lives will do battle on Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena.

The Lightning sit one point out of the final wild-card berth in the East and enter action on Thursday as the -128 favorites. The Maple Leafs are also in the chase for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference as they head to Tampa Bay as compelling +116 underdogs.

No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews is due for a breakout game as the Leafs’ rookie has gone six games without a single point. Matthews sits second in rookie scoring with 55 points in 68 games played — second behind Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets.

The head-to-head history over the last 10 games hasn’t been much of a contest as the Bolts have defeated the Leafs seven times over that stretch.

The Lightning and Leafs are among the highest scoring teams in the league but take the under on BetOnline’s total goal projection of 5.5.

Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs (+116) and the Under (5.5)

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