With (a noticeably quiet so far) NBA deadline day due to close in little more than three hours, Casino Review turns its head the other way and eyeballs tonight’s action-packed NHL schedule. That might sound crazy but there’s a trio of games that are proving particularly intriguing, starting north of the border.
New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators
7:30 PM ET
New York (8-6-1, 2-3-0 road) continue to tick over as fans and bettors alike wait for them to reach the potential that saw the side named preseason favorites. So far, we’ve seen nothing of the sort.
The Rangers have lost two of the last three all told, including a 3-1 defeat to Montreal at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ottawa (9-6-2, 6-1-2 home) pulled off a 3-1 win over the Rangers’ city mates the Islanders on Tuesday, making it two straight wins and three from five. The side has also won two straight and five from seven at home, and enter this game with the joint (with New Jersey) second best home record in the entire NHL. Only Montreal has fared better at home.
The Senators’ solid home record should strike fear into the Rangers, who have the fifth worst road record in the league. That being said, the Manhattan side has won two of the last three away from the garden.
This Season: Thursday night’s game is the first of three between the sides this season.
Last Season: Ottawa took a four-game regular season head-to-head series 3-1, winning both games played at Scotiabank Place. The Rangers retaliated by winning a seven-game series in the opening round of the playoffs, winning two of three in Ottawa.
Moneyline: NY Rangers (-121), Ottawa (+110) Total: 5
Take: OTTAWA – That home record is impressive and the Rangers have yet to really sell us on their road abilities. This is also an opportunity to back the underdog, something we like around these parts. Only four of Ottawa’s 17 games have seen the total go over, so take the under in this one.
Boston Bruins @ Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30 PM ET
Boston (9-2-2, 5-1-1 road) travels to the Gulf Coast – where the weather is nicer than in New England two weeks ago – to face Tampa Bay (8-6-1, 6-2-1 home) on Thursday night.
The Lightning have been solid at home – posting the fourth best record in the league – while the Bruins have been exceptional on the road – with the sixth best road record in the league. Something has to give in this one.
The Bruins snapped a two game losing streak with a 3-2 win in Winnipeg last Sunday. The side – winners of five of six on the road – will be well refreshed coming into this game.
The Lightning has won two straight since dropping six in a row, with the team’s latest success coming on Tuesday against Toronto. That 4-2 win also snapped a three-game losing streak at home. Even with that three-game skid, the Lightning still have an impressive home record.
This Season: After a Feb. 9 meeting was postponed, this will be the first of three games between the sides this season.
Last Season: Both teams one a pair of home games, splitting last year’s head-to-head series 2-2.
Moneyline: Boston (-116), Tampa Bay (+105) Total: 5½
Take: BOSTON – There’s been very few chinks in the Bruins’ armor so far this season, and while the Lightning may have returned to winning ways, those three home losses leave a big question mark next to the team’s name. 10 of 14 Lightning games have seen the total exceed the bookies’ marker, so take the over.
Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars
8:3 PM ET
With the play of Chicago and Anaheim this season, Vancouver (8-3-4, 3-1-2 road) may have to wave goodbye to a third straight Presidents’ Trophy, but with three straight losses – the last two both by shootout – the Canucks would trade such awards for a win anyway.
Prior to this three-game skid, the Canucks had taken six straight and eight of 10. The side will be looking to return to winning ways and gain some retribution having fallen to the Stars less than a week ago.
Dallas (8-7-1, 3-2-1 home) has been teetering around the bottom of the Western Conference playoff berths recently. Entering this game the side has edged Detroit for the No. 8 spot. A 4-3 loss to Calgary last Sunday marred a five from six winning streak, but a well-rested Stars team will be looking to make a splash here.
This Season: Dallas handed the Canucks a 4-3 defeat last Friday (Feb. 15) in Vancouver. This will be the second of three meetings this season.
Last Season: The two sides split a four-game head-to-head series last season, with each team winning once at home and once on the road.
Moneyline: Vancouver (-146), Dallas (+133) Total: 5½
Take: VANCOUVER – There’s certainly a temptation to go with the underdog Stars here, especially with the Canucks having dropped three straight, but ultimately the Canadian side looks good to breakout of this mini-slump, while an inconsistent Dallas team looks set to wrestle with those lower berths until April. Neither team trends towards the over, so take the total to go under here.
NHL Schedule (Thursday)
Buffalo @ Toronto
Florida @ Philadelphia
New Jersey @ Washington
Winnipeg @ Carolina
NY Islanders @ Montreal
NY Rangers @ Ottawa
Boston @ Tampa Bay
Columbus @ Detroit
Vancouver @ Dallas
Minnesota @ Edmonton