Check out our quick-hitting betting notes on Thursday’s NHL action:
New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs (-125, 5.5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Evgeni Nabokov (NYI), James Reimer (TOR)
The New York Islanders are riding a 6-0-2 stretch in April as they attempt to secure their first playoff berth in six seasons. Toronto has won its last three home games and sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the seventh-place Islanders. A victory for the Maple Leafs coupled with a regulation loss by Winnipeg - which hosts Carolina on Thursday - would clinch a playoff spot for Toronto and end the longest active postseason drought in the NHL. The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
Florida Panthers at New York Rangers (-255, 5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Scott Clemmensen (FLA), Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)
Although even in points with Winnipeg, New York resides in eighth place in the Eastern Conference by virtue of games played. Florida isn't concerned with the standings - and its play of late certainly reflects that. The Panthers fell for the third consecutive time and fourth in five outings with a 5-2 setback to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The under is 9-1-1 in the Rangers’ last 11 Thursday games.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens (-151, 5.5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Ben Bishop (TB), Carey Price (MTL)
The Canadiens have allowed 18 goals en route to three straight losses as they prepare to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Montreal is tied with Boston in points for the Northeast Division lead, but has played one more game. The Canadiens will be tested against a Tampa Bay offense which is ranked third in the NHL and has two of the league’s top three scorers in Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. The under is 7-1 in the Canadiens’ last eight home games.
Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators (-110, 5.5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Braden Holtby (WSH), Craig Anderson (OTT)
The Capitals are riding an eight-game winning streak that has carried them to the top of the Southeast Division and into third place in the Eastern Conference. The Senators have won three in a row and sit in sixth place in the East, meaning they would open the playoffs against Washington if the season ended today. Ottawa hasn’t scored more than three goals in the last 10 games and the under is 18-4-7 in the Senators’ last 29 home games.
New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers (-122, 5.5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Martin Brodeur (NJ), Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI)
Ilya Kovalchuk already has been ruled out of Thursday's game for New Jersey, which is 0-6-4 since the superstar went down with a right shoulder injury. The plan originally was for him to travel with the team to Philadelphia and possibly suit up. Goals have been hard to come by for the Garden State representatives, who have mustered a grand total of 16 during their winless streak. The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Philadelphia.
Carolina Hurricanes at Winnipeg Jets (-162, 5.5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Justin Peters (CAR), Ondrej Pavelec (WPG)
The Winnipeg Jets have won the first four contests of a six-game homestand as they make a push to be included in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. This meeting is the fourth and final one between the Southeast Division foes, with the Jets taking two of three with 4-3 and 4-1 victories at Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Jets 3-1 at Winnipeg on March 30 - their last road victory. The under is 9-1 in the Hurricanes’ last 10 vs. Southeast opposition.
Phoenix Coyotes at St. Louis Blues (-162, 5)Probable starting goaltenders: Chad Johnson (PHX), Brian Elliott (STL)
The Coyotes will be trying to break through against St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott, who has a 1.03 goals-against average in seven games this month. Elliott’s hot streak has helped mask some offensive struggles by the Blues. St. Louis has totaled six goals in regulation over the last six games but has gone 4-2-0 in that span thanks to the effort of Elliott and the blue line. The Blues have taken each of the previous two meetings with Phoenix, outscoring the Coyotes by a 9-3 margin.
Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars (+121, 5.5)
Probable starting goaltenders: Cory Schneider (VAN), Kari Lehtonen (DAL)
The Stars, who have missed the playoffs each of the last four seasons, are four points behind the eighth-place Columbus Blue Jackets but have two games in hand. Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal for Dallas after missing three games with a groin injury. The clubs split the first two meetings this season, with each posting a 4-3 road victory. The road team has won four of the last five games in the all-time series.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Los Angeles Kings (-181, 5)Probable starting goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ), Jonathan Quick (LAK)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are riding a five-game winning streak and have overtaken Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Kings defeated Columbus in both previous meetings, skating to a 4-2 victory at Columbus on Feb. 5 and a 2-1 home triumph on Feb. 15. The Kings are on a four-game home winning streak and have held opponents to two or fewer goals in each of their last six games at Staples Center, where they are 16-4-1. Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks (-152, 5)Probable starting goaltenders: Niklas Backstrom (MIN), Antti Niemi (SJ)
Minnesota is right on San Jose's heels in the West standings as it trails the fifth-place Sharks by two points. With fourth place and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs within reach, the Wild also are in danger of slipping down the standings as they are just one point ahead of the seventh-place St. Louis Blues. The home team has won each of the last four games in the all-time series and nine of the last 10.