Free NHL Picks Today for Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Free NHL Picks Today for Thursday, March 11th, 2021
Thu 11th March 2021

20 teams take the ice tonight for a jam packed Thursday in the National Hockey League. 

Find all of our free NHL picks for the 10 scheduled games below!

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Buffalo Sabres – 7PM ET

The Penguins are headed to Buffalo to take on the Sabres in the first match of our Thursday night fixture. 

Pittsburgh will enter the encounter fresh off a victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night that extended their winning streak to three games. Contrastingly, Buffalo are coming into Thursday’s matchup looking to snap an eight game losing streak. 

The Sabres are currently sitting at the bottom of the East Division with a measly 6-14-4 record and a -24 goal differential. The Penguins on the other hand are well and truly in the hunt for a playoff spot, sitting in third place in the East Division with a 15-9-1 record.

Future NHL Hall of Famer and two time Hart Memorial Trophy winner, Sidney Crosby is once again proving to be one of the most damaging players in the league, leading the Penguins in goals (9), assists (15) and subsequently points (24). 

Sam Reinhart has been the most damaging skater for Buffalo this season, netting a team high 11 goals while also leading the team in points (19). However, Sabres captain and assist leader Jack Eichel is set to be sidelined for Thursday’s matchup after suffering an upper body injury in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to Philadelphia. 

Seeing that Eichel is unable to take the ice, Pittsburgh are now even more poised for a confident win over the worst team in the East Division. Having netted 13 goals to just six in their three game winning streak, Pittsburgh should have no issues taking care of the Sabres (who have been outscored 15-8 in their past three games) in Buffalo. 

NHL Pick – Pittsburgh Penguins (-200)
NHL Spread – Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 (+130)
Game Totals Pick – Over 6 (-105)

Washington Capitals @ Philadelphia Flyers – 7PM ET

The 15-6-4 Capitals are sitting comfortably in second place in the East Division, trailing the first placed Islanders by just two points. The Philadelphia Flyers however are currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, currently with a 13-7-3 record and just one point behind the Bruins for fourth in the division.

Given that this game will be held in Philadelphia, this has the makings to be a tightly contested matchup. 

Having won their past two matches, Washington are currently boasting the most prolific offense in the division with 84 goals scored in their 25 games. 

Nicklas Backstrom has been the key to the Capitals success on the offensive end, currently with the ninth most points in the NHL having netted 10 goals while also racking up 19 assists for 29 points. 

Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk is not far behind Backstrom for offensive production, with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points this season. 

Seeing that the Flyers have played two less games this season, the two teams goals-for and goals-against stats are somewhat misleading. However when looking at the goal differential this year, Washington is currently  +4 and Philadelphia is +3. Meaning the two sides are fairly evenly matched.

The Capitals got the better of the Flyers when the two sides last met on Sunday, in a game that was once again played in Philadelphia. 

Seeing as Washington have won seven of their past 10 games, we believe they are in strong enough form to once again go into Philadelphia and secure the victory over a Flyers team who have also been struggling lately, with just a 5-4-1 record in their past 10 games.

NHL Pick – Washington Capitals (-110)
NHL Spread – Washington Capitals +1.5 (-250)
Game Totals Pick –  Over 6 (-110)

Nashville Predators @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7PM ET

In the second match of a two game mini-series between these two teams, the Nashville Predators will once again face the Hurricanes in Carolina. 

The 18-6-1 Hurricanes are currently second in the Central Division standings and won their previous encounter against Nashville on Tuesday, 3-2 in overtime. The victory was the Hurricanes sixth in a row. 

The Predators however are sitting in sixth in the Central Division with a 11-14-1 record, 14 points behind Carolina. 

When looking at Tuesday’s match, Carolina’s Vincent Trochck added another two assists to his season tally, taking him to a team high 24 points for the year. While for the Predators, defenseman Dante Fabbro was suspended for elbowing Carolina Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn. 

Fabbro will miss Nashville’s next two games including Thursday’s match against Carolina. Losing another defender is the last thing that the Predators needed going into this matchup with captain Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis both already on injury reserve.

Having already won the first of two consecutive matches against Nashville, Carolina are in the box seat to once again defeat the undermanned Predators on Thursday and edge closer to the division leading Tampa Bay Lightning.

NHL Pick – Carolina Hurricanes (-220)
NHL Spread – Carolina Hurricanes -1.5 (+115)
Game Totals Pick – Over 5.5 (-120)

Florida Panthers @ Columbus Blue Jackets – 7PM ET

Trailing the second placed Hurricanes by just one point and the first placed Lightning by just two points in the Central Division, the 16-5-4 Florida Panthers are right in the mix for the top spot in their division. 

The Panthers will take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Thursday, who are currently six points out of a playoff seed in the Central Division with a 10-12-5 record. 

Thursday will be the second consecutive match between these two teams, as Florida defeated Columbus at home 4-2 on Tuesday night. 

Neither side is entering this matchup in confident form, as the Panthers have a mere 5-3-2 record in their last 10 matches and the Blue Jackets have just a 3-6-1 record in that time. 

Given that neither side has been in dominant form, we can’t go past the team with the superior roster to win this matchup, which is undeniably the Florida Panthers. 

Florida’s Johnathon Huberdeau will be the best player on the ice in this encounter, currently with the eighth most points in the NHL this year as a result of a 10 goal, 20 assist, 30 point season to date. 

In the second match of their two game mini-series, the Panthers should be able to record a second consecutive victory against a vastly inferior opponent that has struggled in their past 10 games. Florida will leave Columbus with two wins from their two matches. 

NHL Pick – Florida Panthers (-135)
NHL Spread – Florida Panthers -1.5 (+190)
Game Totals Pick – Over 5.5 (-105)

New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders – 7PM ET

In what will likely be the most lopsided matchup of the days fixture, the New York Islander will host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. 

The Islanders are currently sitting on top of the East Division with a 16-6-4 record, whereas the Devils are in seventh place in the division, just three points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres with a 8-11-3 record. 

Thursday night will be the first of three straight games between these two teams, however it will be the only match that will take place at the Nassau Coliseum. The remaining two games will take place in New Jersey. 

Having won eight of their past 10 games, New York will enter each of these three games as the short priced favorite. Especially given that the Devils have the worst offense in the division (55 goals for) and the Islanders have the second best defense in the division (57 goals against).

With twice as many wins this season, the Islanders are quite simply the better roster in this matchup, as is evident in their many diverse  avenues to the back of the net. 

New York are a rare club that has a different individual player leading the team in goals (Anders Lee – 12), assists (Nick Leddy – 15) and points (Mathew Barzel – 23), making them one of the most versatile offenses in the league. 

However, the Islanders defense is the reason that they are going to win this game, currently allowing the third fewest goals per game in the entire NHL (2.15). New York wil set themselves up for a confident victory by clamping down on the Devils lowly offense (who are scoring the fifth fewest goals per game in the league – 2.50) and subsequently shutting them out of the game. 

NHL Pick – New York Islanders (-200)
NHL Spread – New York Islanders -1.5 (+130)
Game Totals Pick – Over 5 (-130)

Winnipeg Jets @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 7PM ET

The two top sides in the North Division will face off on Thursday night in Toronto. 

The Maple Leafs currently have a five point load over the Winnipeg Jets in the North Division, with a 18-7-2 record. Whereas Winnipeg are sitting in second place in the North Division, one point ahead of Edmonton and five points behind Toronto with a 16-8-1 record.

Thursday will be the second of three consecutive matches between these two teams, as the Jets secured an upset win in the first game on Tuesday, defeating the Leafs 4-3. 

In terms of star power this matchup is littered with talent, as three players that are making strong cases for the Hart Memorial trophy are set to take the ice. 

For Toronto, Mitchell Martner and Auston Matthews are currently sitting fourth and sixth respectively in the entire NHL for points. Martner’s 10 goals and 25 assists have given him 35 points so far this season while Matthews’ 20 goals and 13 assists have given him 33 points. 

On the Jets side, Mark Scheifele has added 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points this season, which currently puts him fifth in the NHL. 

Although Winnipeg drew first blood in this three game mini-series, we like Toronto to bounce back at home and even the ledger at 1-1 heading into the third game between these two teams on Saturday night.

NHL Pick – Toronto Maple Leafs (-180)
NHL Spread – Winnipeg Jets +1.5 (-155)
Game Totals Pick – Under 6.5 (-120)

New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins – 7PM ET

Two of the biggest name teams in the National Hockey League will face off on Thursday night, with both sides competing for the fourth playoff spot in the East Division.

Last year’s best regular season team, the Boston Bruins have not had as smooth a run in 2021, currently fourth in the East Division with a 13-6-4 record. 

The Bruins will host the New York Rangers on Thursday, who are currently sitting sixth on the division table with a 10-11-3 record and are seven points behind Boston

Both sides will enter this match looking to break two game losing streaks and although they sit higher on the division table, the Bruins have undeniably been experiencing more struggles in recent times, with just a 3-5-2 record from their past 10 games. 

The Rangers however are 6-4 in that period of time. 

Neither side is particularly dominant offensively, however New York are the 11th best defensive team in the league in terms of goals per game, allowing just 2.75. Whereas the Bruins are the fourth best defense in the NHL, allowing just 2.35 goals per game. 

The two clubs met twice in New York in late February, with both the Bruins and Rangers winning one game apiece. Now heading into Boston territory, we like the Bruins to break this slump of form, winning a low scoring match with a gritty defensive performance on Thursday.

NHL Pick – Boston Bruins (-185)
NHL Spread –  New York Rangers +1.5 (-160)
Game Totals Pick – Under 5.5 (-115)

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Detroit Red Wings – 7.30PM ET

The Central Divisions last placed Detroit Red Wings will host the division leading and reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

With an 18-4-2 record, the Lightning are undeniably one of, if not the best team in the National Hockey League. Currently possessing best record in the league, the best defense in the league (#1 – 2.08 goals allowed per game) and the best offense in the league (#1 – 3.63 goal per game). 

Contrastingly, the Detroit Red Wings are in the opposing conversation as arguably the worst team in the NHL. 

The Red Wings record of 7-16-4 is the second worst in the NHL, while Detroit also have the league’s worst offense (#31 – 2.11 goals per game) and the league’s third worst defense (#28 – 3.37 goals allowed per game).

In simple terms, these two teams could not be any further a part. As is evident in their goal differential. Tampa Bay are +36 so far this season, which is best in the league,while Detroit are -34, which is worst in the league. 

The one thing that is going in Red Wings favor for this matchup is that the game is scheduled to be played in Detroit. However, Tampa Bay boasts an impressive 9-3-2 record away from home, while the Red Wings are a measly 4-6-3 on their own ice.

Tampa Bay will win this one with ease as they continue their strong title defense. 

NHL Pick – Tampa Bay Lightning (-380)
NHL Spread – Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (-135)
Game Totals Pick – Under 5.5 (-110)

Chicago Blackhawks @ Dallas Stars – 8.30PM ET

Fresh off a 6-1 victory in the first of their two consecutive matches, the Dallas stars will be looking to make it two from two when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. 

Despite Tuesday’s result, the Blackhawks are in the midst of a vastly superior season compared to the Stars.

Chicago are currently sitting in the fourth seed in the Central Division with a 13-9-5 record and on 31 points. Whereas Dallas are currently trailing the Blackhawks by 10 points, with an 8-8-5 record. However, the Stars have played six less games this season. 

Chicago’s success this year has predominantly hinged on the performance of 2016 Hart Memorial Trophy winner and three time Stanley Cup champion, Patrick Kane. 

Kane is currently second in the entire NHL for points, having netted 11 goals and recorded 27 assists for a 38 point season. 

While Kane has been brilliant on offense, the Dallas Stars are a much more defensive team, currently with the fifth best goals allowed per game average in the NHL, 2.36.

Although 10 points separate them in the Central Division standings, Dallas are a much better team than their record suggests, having played six fewer games than Chicago this season. With that in mind, we like the Stars to make it two from two against the Blackhawks, defeating Chicago in Dallas for the second time this week.

NHL Pick – Dallas Stars (-140)
NHL Spread – Dallas Stars -1.5 (+175)
Game Totals Pick – Over 5.5 (+115)

Montreal Canadiens @ Calgary Flames – 9PM ET

The North Division will showcase the final match of our Thursday fixture, when the Calgary Flames host the Montreal Canadiens. 

Only four points currently separates the 11-6-7 Canadiens and the 11-12-3 Flames in the North Division, with Montreal currently the fourth seed and Calgary sitting sixth. 

Thursday’s match will be the first of two consecutive games between the Flames and the Canadiens in Calgary and the third game of a six game road trip for Montreal. 

Although both sides are sitting on 11 wins at this point of the season, Montreal has a +11 goal differential, vastly superior to Calgary’s -9.

The Canadiens are currently the sixth best scoring team in the NHL with 3.29 goals per game, whereas the Flames are the 23rd best offensive team in the league with 2.69 goals per game. 

On the defensive end, Montreal again have the advantage, currently 10th in the league with 2.71 goals allowed per game. While Calgary are the equal 17th best defensive team in the league allowing 3.04 goals per game. 

The thing that is working in the Flames favor is that their next two games against Montreal will be played in Calgary. However, with a superior offensive and defensive track record so far this season and an above average record on the road, we can’t go past the Canadiens to win this one as an underdog. 

NHL Pick – Montreal Canadiens (-110)
NHL Spread – Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-270)
Game Totals Pick – Over 5.5 (-115)

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of Bet365.

Jesse is and always has been a lover of sports. No matter the league, no matter the game, Jesse is constantly keeping up to date with the latest odds, news, injuries and stats. He has a strong interest in the NBA and the NFL, and he will always strive to keep you up to date with the best news, odds, predictions and picks that the ever engaging sporting world has to offer.