There are 12 games on the Thursday board in the National Hockey League, including 3 that we have circled for our NHL predictions for tonight.
The free NHL picks are at 17-11 for the season following a 1-1 split last Thursday on the last night before the all-star break. Vegas hit a goalpost and missed a breakaway in the first period against New York but couldn’t score a goal to cover the -0.5 puck line at plus money, while the Sharks and Rangers easily went over the first period total of 1.5.
Don’t forget to check out our live odds page if you’re interested in seeing tonight’s NHL betting lines. Otherwise, here’s what we like for tonight:
NHL Betting Picks For Tonight
Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers
Whether the Leafs are playing good hockey lately or not depends on if you see the glass as half empty or half full. Regulation wins haven’t come often for Toronto of late, but the Leafs have also earned at least one point in 9 of their last 11 games, going 6-2-3 during that span. And while the Toronto offence sputtered a bit before the break, the Buds are also playing much better in their own zone, limiting 9 of 12 opponents to 2 regulation time goals or less.
Coming off an impressive 5-0 rout of the Islanders last night in Toronto, the Leafs should feel good going into Madison Square Garden tonight to take on a Rangers team playing its first game in one week. New York’s been good at home this year, but the Blueshirts should be at a disadvantage early because of all that time off, and they’ve been outscored in first periods on home ice this season. Toronto, meanwhile, has continued to be a strong first period road team under Mike Babcock.
We like the Leafs to win the first period tonight at plus money odds.
NHL Betting Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs First Period Moneyline +102
Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia and New Jersey have been two of the streakier teams in the NHL this year. The Flyers have overcome a 10-game losing streak earlier this season to fight back into playoff contention, while the Devils started out hot before going into a recent tailspin.
However, we’re seeing signs from both teams that they’re heading in opposite directions once again. Philadelphia built a 2-0 lead last night in Washington before seeing it slip away in a 5-3 loss, the second straight game the Flyers have allowed 5 goals. New Jersey broke a losing streak Tuesday with a 3-1 win at Buffalo, and with Taylor Hall back in the lineup, we think the Devils should bring confidence into this game as they seek revenge for a pair of losses to Philly earlier this year.
Just like the Leafs/Rangers matchup, Philadelphia and New Jersey both have contrasting first period statistics. Even after outscoring Washington 2-0 in the first period last night, the Flyers have been outscored by an average of 0.83-0.58 in first periods on the road, while the Devils are outscoring visitors 1.04-0.71 in the opening session. With Philadelphia turning to Alex Lyon tonight for his first NHL career start in net, we love New Jersey’s chances of getting an early jump here.
NHL Betting Prediction: New Jersey Devils First Period Moneyline -113
Dallas Stars at Arizona Coyotes
Ken Hitchcock has the Stars playing much better defensive hockey this season. Dallas is allowing the third-fewest shots in the NHL and has the seventh-best goals against, a 180-degree turn from the way the Stars have played in their own end the last few years. They’ve also resolved their issues on the road, giving up just 6 regulation time markers in their last 4 games in enemy territory.
Arizona’s shown some improvement lately, going 3-2-4 in its last 9 games, but goals are always an issue for the Coyotes. Especially at home, where they’ve managed 3 goals or more in regulation time just once in their last 12. Playing their first game in a week against a tough defensive opponent doesn’t make us optimistic that Arizona will light up the scoreboard tonight, especially with Dallas motivated by a poor showing in a 3-0 loss at home to the Kings on Tuesday.
NHL Betting Prediction: Arizona Coyotes Team Total Under 2.5 -105