NHL Thursday best bets: Goals will be scarce in Canada's capital

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Wednesday served us up yet another split. The Maple Leafs blanked the Flyers, but the Stars lost for the sixth time in seven games to put us back to square one.

We'll aim for more with our best bets on this busy Thursday.

Oilers (+125) @ Bruins (-145)

Stepping in front of Connor McDavid is always a scary thought, but we're going to try our luck.

The Oilers aren't as good as their record indicates. Nobody's doubting their star power, but the team remains too top-heavy. That's why, despite owning a remarkable 9-2-0 mark, they've been outchanced and are only +1 at five-on-five.

Edmonton is relying on the power play to do the heavy lifting, which it's clearly capable of. But being so reliant on the man advantage could be problematic against a team like the Bruins.

Led by Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Charlie McAvoy, Boston is once again a strong penalty-killing side. The Bruins rank sixth in chances against per 60 and seventh in suppressing expected goals. They don't give up much in the way of quality looks.

They're also not one to spoon-feed opponents opportunities with the extra man. Only seven teams have spent fewer minutes killing penalties this season.

A lot of this game should be played at five-on-five, where the Bruins look to have a big edge. They rank third in expected goals share at 56%, while the Oilers sit 19th at 49%.

Expect Boston's five-on-five edge to shine through in this one.

Bet: Bruins (-145)

Wild (-105) @ Golden Knights (-115)

It's a day that ends with "y," and you know what that means: We're fading the Golden Knights.

Mark Stone and Nolan Patrick are starting to practice and could return in the near future, providing some much-needed skill and depth to the Golden Knights' forward group. Assuming they're out Thursday, though, the value remains on their opponents.

The Wild are off to a strong 9-3-0 start, and they're full value for it. They've steamrolled their opponents, controlling a league-leading 58% of the expected goals share at five-on-five.

Vegas, as undermanned as the team is, has unsurprisingly struggled in that game state. Its xG share at five-on-five sits at 45%, good for 29th in the NHL.

Yes, the Golden Knights are rested and at home. But a healthy Minnesota side is far superior to this version of Vegas' team, and the Wild have saved their best goaltender - Cam Talbot - for Thursday's game.

Bet: Wild -105.

Kings (-110) @ Senators (-110)

This game screams under to me. The Kings are a defensive-minded team playing its third game in four nights. Los Angeles will undoubtedly try to bottle things up, which it's well-equipped to do with Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault centering the top two lines.

On the flip side, the Senators are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. They're missing a handful of regulars, including speedsters Connor Brown and Alex Formenton. Ottawa's forward depth isn't impressive at the best of times, so losing them is problematic.

I expect the Senators to play a simple, north-south-style game. They don't have much in the way of quick-strike attackers, and the quality they do have should see a lot of Kopitar and/or Danault.

The goaltending matchup is also much better than it seems on paper. Jonathan Quick has been surprisingly good thus far, saving 4.9 goals above expectation through seven starts. He's in the same ballpark as Jacob Markstrom, Robin Lehner, and Andrei Vasilevskiy on a per-game basis.

Meanwhile, Filip Gustavsson has outperformed Ottawa's regular tandem of Matt Murray and Anton Forsberg. Gustavsson's not just some random recall; he's an NHL goaltender.

Don't expect much action in this one.

Bet: Under 5.5 goals (+100)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

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NHL Thursday best bets: Goals will be scarce in Canada's capital
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