Thursday night free hockey tips
Best NHL bets to make on Thursday
By Bob Duff
Thursday’s top NHL match ups, with odds provided by BetOnline.ag:
A 4-1 loss Monday to Washington ended a five-game (4-0-1) point streak for the Canadiens. Second game of a quick, two-day, two-game swing through the Central Divison for the Canadiens, who are unbeaten in four on the road and 11-6-4 overall away from the Bell Centre. Montreal’s last home-ice loss was a 4-2 setback handed the Habs Dec. 22 by the Wild.
That victory was part of Minnesota’s club-record 12-game winning streak. The Wild are 14-1-2 in their last 17 games and 8-1 in their last nine home games. Forward Mikeal Granlund has recorded nine multi-point games this season, tying a career high. Not known as a goal-scoring machine, the Wild have surrendered four goals in five of their last eight games, yet have won three of those games.
Pick: The Wild (-147)
Taylor Hall downplayed his bitterness with the Oilers over the deal that sent him to New Jersey from Edmonton last summer as he arrived in his first NHL home to play as a visitor for the first time. But that didn’t keep him from getting in some more digs about the lack of Stanley Cup parades and the “dark times” he endured as an Oiler.
Adam Larsson, the defenseman acquired from the Devils for Hall, has helped steady the Edmonton blue line as the Oilers push for their first playoff position since 2005-06. He is one of 16 NHL regulars averaging three hits per game. The Oilers are 6-2-3 in their last 11 games, including a 2-1 win Jan. 7 at New Jersey
Pick: The Oilers (-190)
The surprising Sabres meet the disappointing Lightning in the Sunshine State. With a goal and two assists in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Philadelphia, Sam Reinhart factored in three of four goals to help the Sabres extend their point streak to four games (3-0-1), a season high. Reinhart ranks tied for the team scoring lead with 9-18-27 totals this season. Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner missed that game due to illness.
Whipped 6-2 Sunday at Pittsburgh, the injury-riddled Lightning, with five regulars out, have lost four straight and surrendered six goals in three of those setbacks. Tampa Bay is 1-2-1 in its last four home games but has won eight of nine from Buffalo.
Forward Nikita Kucherov has nine points in his last seven games. The Lightning have given up 12 second-period goals in their past four games. Victor Hedman leads NHL defensemen with 30 assists.
Pick: The Sabres (+146)
Nashville’s 2-1 win Tuesday over Vancouver ended a six-game home losing streak for the Predators but it almost didn’t happen. The Canucks tied the game with 48.6 seconds remaining in regulation, but Calle Jarnkrok scored a shorthanded goal with 1.5 seconds left in overtime for the victory.
Nashville will need to be on its best behavior to get the better of the Bruins, who could be best described as the Roger Millers of the NHL – kings of the road. Brad Marchand (2-1-3) and David Pastrnak (0-3-3) combined for six points as the Bruins improved to 3-1-1 in their last five road games with a 5-3 win Tuesday at St. Louis. Marchand has scored in three consecutive games, with 5-1-6 numbers over that span and leads the team in scoring with 15-23-38 totals.
Pick: The Bruins (-105)