Two of the league’s hottest teams meet in St. Petersburg, the Caps and Canes go home-and-home, and the Rangers and Islanders meet for a matinee in Manhattan. We break down all of the betting angles you’ll need to know for this weekend’s action on the ice with our NHL Cheat Sheet.
Two of the hottest teams going meet Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Florida as the Tampa Bay Lightning entertain the Calgary Flames in a rematch of the 2004 Stanley Cup final. The Lightning have prevailed in back-to-back games and are 7-2-1 SU in their last 10 to hold on to top spot in the league. But that run will be put to the test against a Flames team that has won four consecutive games, each by one goal. Interested in playing the total? The Flames have gone under in 10 of their previous 12 games against teams with winning records, while the teams are 2-6 O/U in their last eight head-to-head meetings.
No team is playing better hockey than the Washington Capitals, who carry a five-game winning streak into a home-and-home series with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Capitals host the Hurricanes in Thursday’s opener, and will look to extend their six-game home winning streak against Carolina. The ‘Canes return the favor on Friday night, looking to build on an impressive stretch that has seen them go 6-0-1 in their previous seven games at PNC Arena. These teams have played some high-scoring affairs of late, exceeding the total four times with one push in their previous seven meetings.
The Rangers and Islanders renew hostilities in a Saturday matinee encounter at Madison Square Garden. It’s the second of four meetings between the geographical rivals, with the Islanders earning a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory in their previous encounter Oct. 19. The Isles halted a five-game losing skid with a 5-4 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils last time out, but that slump has dropped New York to the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings, 11 points behind first-place Washington. The Islanders do, however, remain the league’s hottest over play at 28-12-3 going into Saturday’s showdown.
* The Minnesota Wild will be without forward Nino Niederreiter for the next week-to-10-days with a lower-body injury suffered in his third game back from a previous ailment. Niederreiter scored three goals in his brief return, all of them coming vs. Buffalo.
* New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey is questionable for Saturday’s encounter with the Rangers. Bailey ranks eighth in the NHL with 50 points in 42 games; the Isles are 9-6-1 SU and 15-1 O/U in games in which Bailey records multiple points.
* The Vancouver Canucks can’t wait to get Bo Horvat back from an ankle injury that has sidelined him for just over a month and counting. The Canucks have completely unravelled without the forward in the lineup, going 2-11-2 since he was injured.
* The Blackhawks believe they can help Anthony Duclair turn things around, acquiring the forward from Arizona for Richard Panik in a four-player deal. Duclair had nine goals in 33 games this season; the Coyotes went 2-4-1 in games in which Duclair scored.
* Islanders forward Anders Lee remains in the hunt for the Rocket Richard Trophy, ranking third in the league with 25 goals heading into Thursday’s action. But New York hasn’t taken advantage of late, losing five of its last nine games in which Lee lights the lamp.
* St. Louis Blues goaltender Carter Hutton is the surprise NHL leader in goals-against average (1.84) and save percentage (9.40), though he has appeared in just 16 games. The Blues have played below the total in 10 of those 16 appearances.
Stanley Cup Futures
* The Winnipeg Jets have made believers out of oddsmakers, vaulting to +1,100 on Bet365 to win it all – the second-best odds of any Western Conference team. The Jets enter Thursday with a three-point lead over Nashville atop the Central Division.
* The Pittsburgh Penguins are staring at long odds to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup championship. The Penguins are installed at +2,200 as they sit in the middle of the competitive Metropolitan Division, 10 points behind the rival Capitals.
* The Vegas Golden Knights have been wildly popular among over bettors, but have pivoted of late. The expansion darlings have gone below the total in six of their last eight games, though they remain a solid 23-16-2 for the season.
* The Dallas Stars have emerged as a strong over play in recent weeks, exceeding the total in six of their previous seven games. The Stars have won five of those contests, scoring at least four goals in each of them.
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