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Thursday's NHL slate gives us nine games and there's plenty of intriguing storylines. The Minnesota Wild are dealing with a mini-Covid outbreak while in Pittsburgh, they try and continue to survive injuries.. Let's take a deeper look at the slate at BetMGM.
Dog of the day
Year-to-date record: 6-3-0
Year-to-date units: +5.0 units
Our winning streak is over after the Avalanche couldn't pull it out against the Golden Knights on Tuesday. We look to start a new one tonight.
I'm going with the Philadelphia Flyers at +105 when they visit the Vancouver Canucks tonight.
Philadelphia entered the season with one main question mark. That question was their goaltending. I'm not sure that question has much relevance tonight.
The Vancouver Canucks are last in the league in terms of generating expected-goals scored at 5-on-5. They are also bottom-ten in terms of expected-goals against. No team has a lower expected goal rate than the Canucks. Bottom line, Vancouver spends a majority of the game chasing the puck.
The Flyers have the offensive firepower to take advantage. They outscored the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night who have one of the league's better offensive units. Philadelphia is averaging 4.6 goals per game.
In normal circumstances, I would be worried about Thatcher Demko vastly outperforming Martin Jones giving the Canucks a significant goaltending advantage that would neutralize the advantage the Flyers get from their skaters. However, the Canucks are starting Jaroslav Halak in net and giving Demko the night off.
The Flyers are underdogs here likely because they played last night, but that hasn't made a major impact on results early in this season across the league. Therefore, I'll take the better team at +105.
Rest of the slate
Boston @ Carolina: The Hurricanes are at home and likely the slightly better team, and the Bruins are on the second half of a back-to-back. Carolina is a worthwhile -140 favorite, but I'm not sure there's much value in backing them at that number.
Calgary @ Pittsburgh: The Flames have been playing great hockey, and I'd lean towards them at -105 on the moneyline against a depleted Pittsburgh team.
Arizona @ Tampa Bay: Arizona is starting their third-string goalie against the back-to-back defending champions. I don't lay -350 on the moneyline in this sport, but perhaps backing the Lightning to cover the puck-line at -125 might be worthwhile.
Colorado @ St. Louis: We're waiting for the Avalanche to turn things around at the start of the season. The Blues are 5-0-0 and +105 home underdogs. Underlying metrics suggest a turnaround is imminent for the Avalanche and the Blues might be getting a tad fortunate. Do you want to bet a struggling team as a road favorite though?
Buffalo @ Anaheim: Two bad teams, but the Sabres have been slightly better this season. I try and stay away from these types of games, but a shot on Buffalo at +135 isn't terrible especially with the Ducks starting backup goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
Minnesota @ Seattle: The Wild will be without a few players due to COVID, but I still think they are deserving -120 favorites against the expansion Kraken. The COVID issues have me leaning towards staying away from this game.
Winnipeg @ LA Kings: Eric Comrie makes his first start of the season for the Winnipeg Jets, and to me, he's been fade material in his scattered NHL appearances. He's 26, played just nine games over five seasons and is giving up over four goals a game in those starts. I'll take the home team Kings at -115.
Montreal @ San Jose: Two decidedly mediocre teams. The Sharks have opened the season performing better than the Canadiens. These two teams met in Montreal last week and the Sharks won the game by a score of 5-0. I'm sure Montreal will want some revenge and don't hate them here as a +110 underdog.
Back-up goaltenders are in bold.
Arizona Coyotes (Ivan Prosvetov) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (Unknown)
Calgary Flames (Unknown) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (Casey DeSmith)
Boston Bruins (Jeremy Swayman) @ Carolina Hurricanes (Frederik Andersen)
Colorado Avalanche (Darcy Kuemper) @ St. Louis Blues (Jordan Binnington)
Philadelphia Flyers (Martin Jones) @ Vancouver Canucks (Jaroslav Halak)
Buffalo Sabres (Craig Anderson) @ Anaheim Ducks (Anthony Stolarz)
Minnesota Wild (Unknown) @ Seattle Kraken (Unknown)
Winnipeg Jets (Eric Comrie) @ Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick)
Montreal Canadiens (Jake Allen) @ San Jose Sharks (Adin Hill)