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Chris Wassel's picks for today's NHL action

The NHL ups the ante with nine games on Thursday night including games in both New Jersey and Boston that presents a lot of intrigue. Do not forget, there is Montreal who has been quite an offensive surprise in the early going. Let’s dig in.

Here are Today’s NHL Picks:

New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils

- The question is when does New Jersey finally put it together enough to win a game? They are 0-4-2 with a league worst goal-differential of -16. Are they honestly this bad?

This game will be brutal to figure out. Both teams could be rusty as New Jersey has not played since the Monday afternoon debacle versus Florida and New York has not played since their home flop against Edmonton on Saturday. The Rangers also play on Friday so might they get caught looking ahead. They are starting Alexandar Georgiev in net but arguably he is the better goaltender right now (after he stopped 31 of 32 shots against Ottawa in his only start). New Jersey cannot get out of its own way defensively and plays too much in their own zone to effectively stop a top line like the Mika Zibanejad line. This spills into special teams as well. New Jersey has difficulty killing penalties especially when teams go into a diamond formation and their goalies cannot see pucks well in it. New Jersey’s power play is due (0 for the season) and the team has their assistant general manager on the bench now. Other than that, most trends point to a New York win.

1u – New York Rangers ML @ +105

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Boston Bruins

- Boston has won five of six to start off the season and looks every bit like a Stanley Cup contender while Tampa Bay lost to Ottawa last week.

The Boston Bruins have been intriguing to watch as they can outscore a team and then play crippling defense as well. According to Statschecker, after a Tampa win, six of their seven games have hit the over the next time out. Also, Boston has won six straight games versus the Lightning after a home win. Tampa Bay’s offense has been stuck in neutral, while they beat Montreal on Tuesday, the Lightning were dominated again most of the night at even strength. Boston can generate scoring chances and control play easily. This will be a real test for Andrei Vasilevskiy and Tampa. The Lightning did win three of the four meetings last season and is 4-2 against the over this year. Boston is only 3-3 but as seen when Toronto played Tampa, goals just kept occurring.

1u – Boston Bruins ML @ -117

1u - Over 6.5 Total Goals @ +150

Minnesota Wild @ Montreal Canadiens

- Minnesota has swept the season series between the two teams for the last two seasons. However, Minnesota is 1-5 to start the season. Can they turn it around against Montreal?

This game figures to baffle many as Montreal can score goals (22 on the season) but they have yielded 24 against them (four a contest). Minnesota allowed 4.17 goals per game in the early going but only scored 2.33 per contest. It shapes up to be an all-or-nothing type scenario. Either, the over hits and early or this game drags right down to the under. Montreal has had problems closing games out as well. Minnesota is a team they should beat with relative ease. Statschecker indicates both teams are efficient when it comes to the over/under. Montreal is 4-1-1 while Minnesota is 4-2. Take Montreal on the money line.

1u – Montreal Canadiens ML @ -160

1u - Over 5.5 Total Goals @ -137

Ottawa Senators at Vegas Golden Knights

- Vegas is 2-3 since they swept San Jose in the first two games of the season, while Ottawa just beat the defending President’s Trophy winners in the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This game had some concern after Mark Stone laid out Filip Forsberg the other night with a questionable hit. Stone was not suspended and will play against his former team on Thursday night. Ottawa will also not start Craig Anderson. Anders Nilsson will play instead, and he gave up five goals in his only appearance of the year. Vegas carries zero value on the moneyline as they may approach -375 or even -400 later in the day. Marc-Andre Fleury is projected to start in net for Vegas.

1u - Vegas Golden Knights -1.5 goals @ -115

1u – Under 6.5 Total Goals @ +100

By Chris Wassel

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