NHL Betting Preview: Thursday, Feb. 18

Story posted February 18, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Evan Popalis

NHL action is ramping up again as most teams are now off of the COVID-19 grid. Nine games are on tap for Thursday night after a cancellation in Dallas due to winter storms.

There are five plays to discuss for this week’s betting preview. Current trends and data have led to the five strong picks for Thursday’s plays.

The Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils square off at TD Garden as both teams have been battling cancellations due to COVID-19 protocols. The Bruins have not played since Saturday, and the Devils played their first game Tuesday after not playing since the last day of January.

The lack of playing time for the two teams will lead to rusty offenses and goaltenders having to be on top of their games. Tuukka Rask has been spectacular for Boston this season between the pipes.

This will be the third game between these respected clubs. Boston took the first game 3-2 in a shootout followed by a New Jersey victory 2-1. Low scoring has been the motto when these clubs get together.

Play: Under 5.5 goals

After dropping four games in a row, the Capitals defeated the Penguins 3-1 on Tuesday night. The Caps dynamic forward group is being hindered by the lack of experience in net along with an injury to starting goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

Washington gets the chance to get in a groove as they battle the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. The Sabres own the least amount of points in the East division, and Washington sees the top teams in the division beginning to put some distance on them. Plus, Washington is 3-0-1 against Buffalo this season.

Play: Washington Capitals money line

Nashville heads to Nationwide Arena to take on Columbus for a Central division showdown. Both teams are on the outside looking in and are in desperate need of points to get into the playoffs. This game should be rather close with the desperation factor and the veteran players in Nashville trying to rejuvenate the Preds.

The Blue Jackets are 1.5 point favorites for this matchup. Columbus has not won a game by two or more goals since Jan. 23 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jackets have played eleven games since that win against Tampa.

Play: Nashville Predators +1.5

After playing seven straight games due to schedule changes against the Coyotes, the Blues finally get to play a new opponent. St. Louis hosts the San Jose Sharks in a battle in the West. The Blues are 1-0-1 against the Sharks this season.

Expect the offense for the Blues to step-up tonight and score at least four goals against the Sharks. Neither goaltender for San Jose has been strong this season, and the young Sharks squad is prone to giving up goals in bunches.

This will be the Blues' first home game in ten days, and it opens a four-game homestand. The over is 5.5, and there is a belief this game will get there Thursday.

Play: Over 5.5 goals

This week’s player prop is an underdog pick. Conor Garland of the Coyotes has six goals on the season as Arizona hosts Los Angeles. Arizona should be tuned up for this game after facing one of the league’s best teams in St. Louis for seven straight games. A sigh of relief for the team in the desert is in place as they get an inferior Kings squad.

Garland is currently on a trend of scoring a goal every other game. That trend dates back eight games to Jan. 28. He did not score in Arizona’s last game so if that sequence holds, Garland will score Thursday night against Los Angeles.

Play: Conor Garland over 0.5 goals


Evan Popalis is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email epopalis83@gmail.com.


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About the Contributors

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Evan Popalis

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Evan Popalis is a third-year from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer, analyst, and play-by-play commentator for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include weekly NHL betting previews along with power rankings for the NHL and NFL. He appears weekly on the NHL Podcast as a host and analyst reviewing the previous week’s action. If you would like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).