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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives us his picks for Thursday's NHL action

BET OF THE DAY: (**2u) Toronto Maple Leafs Moneyline @ -150**

Nashville Predators @ Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:30 PM:

  •  The Maple Leafs have a 6-3 W/L record in night games against the Predators from 2015-16.
  •  Both the Predators and Maple Leafs have struggled ATS this season - Nashville ranks second worst in the NHL (24-45) and Toronto ranks sixth worst (30-40). (Stats courtesy of Statschecker).

The reason we're backing Toronto

At the start of Thursday, both the Toronto Maples Leafs and Nashville Predators sit firmly in the playoff picture.

Toronto is the third seed in the Atlantic Division with 81 points, and Nashville holds the first Wild Card spot in the West with 78 points.

The Maple Leafs (36-25-9) got back on track at home and snapped a three-game losing streak with a thrilling 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Toronto scored the first and last goal of the game courtesy of the power play - William Nylander put away the first for his 31st goal of the year and Auston Matthews added his 47th goal for the game winner – Matthews ranks third best in the NHL for goals.

The Predators (35-26-8) kept the wins coming as Nashville won their third straight game with a commanding 4-2 road victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Preds used a four-goal second period to hold off Montreal. Filip Forsberg scored back-to-back goals and added an assist.

When these teams met earlier this season, Toronto won 5-2 and outplayed Nashville all over the ice and especially in net.

Goalie Frederik Andersen came up with 34 saves and kept the Predators to one goal through two and a half periods of play.

With both these teams struggling ATS this season, I’m not touching the Puck Line and rolling with the home Maple Leafs to win outright on the Moneyline at home.

(1u) Minnesota Wild Moneyline @ +100

Vegas Golden Knights @ Minnesota Wild, 8:00 PM:

  •  The Wild have won 6 of the last 8 meetings with the Golden Knights.
  •  Minnesota has a 5-1-1 W/L/OTL record in night games against Vegas since 2017-18.

The reason we're backing Minnesota

Minnesota (35-27-7) got back on track with a high scoring 5-4 thrilling road win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Kevin Fiala scored a power-play goal in the first period and the eventual game-winning power-play goal in overtime for his 23rd of the season.

Alex Galchenyuk added two tallies - an assist and the go-ahead unassisted goal in the third period.

The Vegas Golden Knights (39-24-8) picked up a second win in a row with a 3-2 overtime road victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Pucks were constantly on net for the Golden Knights as they out-shot the Oilers 48-24.

Jonathan Marchessault assisted Shea Theodore on the game-winning goal and added the game-tying goal to force overtime for his 22nd of the season.

The series is split 1-1 and the home team has won each of the first two matchups this season.

For Minnesota, home ice played a huge factor as they won in dominating fashion with a 4-0 shutout. When these teams played in Vegas, the Golden Knights won 3-2 in a back-and-forth battle.

With that said, the Wild have the most recent victory and did it in a much more convincing fashion.

Although it may not be as easy of a win, I like Minnesota to win outright as the home underdogs.


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