NHL Picks: Four Canadian Teams Top Busy Thursday Schedule

NHL Picks: Four Canadian Teams Top Busy Thursday Schedule
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The NHL schedule enters December with 11 games on Thursday night, including contests featuring four Canadian teams, with two competing against each other.

The Thursday schedules offers some intriguing options for those looking to take advantage of good NHL betting opportunities.

Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames (10-9-3) and Montreal Canadiens (11-10-1) face off in an all-Canada matchup. This game could feature some scoring. These two teams are inconsistent and have had some goaltending adventures.

Calgary needs to start stringing weeks together where they win two of three or even three of four. That 5-1 start might as well have happened in 2021. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom performing below expectations has torpedoed a promising start. He hasn't seen numbers this bad since his early days in Florida. A .889 save percentage will not get the job done.

On the bright side, Jonathan Huberdeau does have two goals and two assists in his last five games. Otherwise, the Flames are not scoring. Tyler Toffoli leads the team with 16 points in 22 games. Even Nazem Kadri has slumped, with a streak of six games without a point.

Calgary is below the league shooting average of 10% (8.8 currently).

Things in Montreal are somewhat better only because of lowered expectations. Martin St. Louis and the Canadiens are being held back by goaltender Jake Allen. Allen and his counterpart potentially tonight are well off their totals from previous seasons. The Montreal starter has allowed 22 goals in his past five starts. Both are seven goals below average when it comes to expected goals saved.

Bettors in Canada should take a small-unit risk here on the Over at 6.5 goals. The Over stands at 2.17. If it goes below 2.10, just look somewhere else.

Florida Panthers at Vancouver Canucks

With four Canadian teams in action tonight, being choosy is not quite an option. Except for any game involving Buffalo lately, the wildest contest on the slate might just be the matchup in Vancouver.

Vancouver had just gotten into good form, swepting a road trip that included games in Colorado and Vegas. Those are difficult places to play, but then Vancouver comes home and gets skunked 5-1 by the Washington Capitals. The Canucks season feels a lot like “one step forward, two steps back.”

The Vancouver goaltending and penalty kill are the big culprits. Thatcher Demko is in one whale of a funk (see Jacob Markstrom). The difference is Demko has just three wins on the season. Spencer Martin, in contrast, has six wins, with slightly better numbers. League average is all Vancouver needs.

No one should be surprised that Florida is favoured tonight. So far this season, the Canucks have won a mere three games at home and have had some flameouts at Rogers Arena.

Florida has not been much better, but there is hope that Spencer Knight will start in goal instead of Sergei Bobrovsky. That would give Florida a better chance of winning.

If Bobrovsky starts, Vancouver, in regulation, is up to 2.66. The Over is teetering at 7.0 and around 2.00.

Bettors wanting to take a small-unit risk might consider looking to Vancouver in regulation. If Knight starts, consider the Panthers’ puckline. 

Additional Bets to Consider

Watch for line movements tonight, especially in Vancouver for the Canucks game. Here are more options to keep an eye on:

  • Minnesota puckline at 2.67
  • Jonathan Huberdeau anytime goal at 2.50
  • Calgary puckline at 1.88
  • Jacob Markstrom save prop. Lean on the over if less than 30.
  • Vancouver first period three-way at 2.70

Good luck. There may be a few more plays via social media later today. Look out for John Ryan’s hockey pick of the day, also. Thanks for reading!

Odds are from Sports Interaction and BetMGM.

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