With the final night of NHL scrimmage action going down on Thursday night – and the restart campaign kicking off in two days on Saturday, August 1, it’s time to take a look at the three final games of the league’s COVID-19-fueled ‘second’ preseason. With three of the top nine Stanley Cup favorites in action (Boston, Vegas, Dallas) let’s find out who’s looking good on Thursday night so you can wager on against their NHL odds.
NHL Picks & Analysis for July 30th Matches
Nashville vs. Dallas at 4:00 PM ET
The Stars rank second in goals allowed (2.52 gpg), but they struggle offensively in putting up a paltry 2.6 goals per game (26th). Nashville ranks 16t in scoring (3.1 gpg) and 20th on goals allowed by giving up an identical 3.1 goals per contest defensively. Not only did Dallas lose six straight before the break, but the Stars have dropped two straight against the Predators after winning the first two regular season meetings this season. Nashville won three straight and six of their last nine before the break, giving the Predators the look of a team that is locked in and ready to challenge the best in the west as we get set for the restart. The Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings, but I’m expecting to see five goals put on the board in this clash of Western Conference title hopefuls.
Pick: Nashville 3 Dallas 2
Boston vs. Columbus at 7:00 PM ET
Boston had more victories at the break than any other team in hockey while Columbus was motoring along at four games under .500 for the season (33-37-5). More importantly, the Bruins are elite at both ends of the ice in ranking first in fewest goals allowed (2.39 gpg) and an impressive ninth in scoring (3.2 gpg). Conversely, the Blue Jackets rank an awful 28th in scoring (2.6 gpg) despite ranking an encouraging fourth in goals allowed (2.6 gpg). While Columbus has won two straight in this rivalry, they also lost six of the previous eight meetings against Boston. Columbus went an uninspiring 3-4-3 in their last games before the hiatus while Boston had won seven of their last 10 and a blistering 16 of their last 20 games overall. With the Under going 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these two, I say Boston gets it done in a low-scoring affair.
Pick: Boston 2 Columbus 1
Vegas vs. Arizona at 10:00 PM ET
Vegas hit the break as one of the hottest teams in all of hockey, having won eight of 10 and 14 of their last 19 games overall. The Knights have been identically solid at both ends of the ice in ranking 13th in scoring (3.2 gpg) and goals allowed (2.9 gpg). While Arizona has a phenomenal defense that ranks third in goals allowed (2.6 gpg), the Coyotes are also offensively challenged as they put up just 2.7 goals per game to rank 23rd in scoring. The Knights have won two straight and seven of the last 10 meetings in this series and their pair of goaltenders Robin Lehner and veteran Marc Andre-Fleury have both been outstanding this season. Vegas get the win to hit the restart with some confidence.
Pick: Vegas 3 Arizona 10