Canucks Close 4-Game Trip At St. Louis Blues

By: Adam Markowitz | Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thursday night's NHL betting action is going to be significant for a number of teams, as the trade deadline of February 27 draws near. There are a slew of squads that you wouldn’t think of as traditional buyers at the deadline, and though Thursday night is only one of the 20 or so games that the teams will play before Feb. 27, every game counts with these tightly-packed playoff chases.

We’ll start with the Ottawa Senators. The Sens would be the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs if they started today, but they have been outscored by four goals on the season and have the second most goals allowed in the conference.

That’s all bad news on Thursday night when Ottawa travels to face top team in the East in a battle against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have some salary cap room to work with, and this is as close as they have come in years to being legit Stanley Cup contenders now that they Brad Richards is in the Big Apple.

New York enters this one having won five in a row and 10 out of 11 on the NHL betting lines. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. (ET), and the game can be seen on MSG2 and RSNE.

The Nashville Predators made a name for themselves last year when they made it to the second round of the playoffs before dropping out, and they are hoping to contend in the brutal Central Division. The Predators and the team that they are facing on Thursday night, the Colorado Avalanche, are separated by just three points in the standings, but if the playoffs started right now, Nashville would be the No. 6 seed and Colorado would be out at No. 10.

Both teams are playing well. The Predators have won six out of nine, while Colorado, despite a two-game skid, has still won seven out of 10. The puck drops at 8:00 (ET) in Bridgestone Arena, and Altitude will have the TV pickup for the game.

On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders knocked off the Detroit Red Wings, and the boys from Long Island moved to 6-0-1 in their last seven against the men from Motown. We sure hope that the Isles enjoyed that success. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers come to town, and they haven’t been beaten by New York in seven straight tries. The Islanders only have two points to show for those seven meetings.

The showcase game of the evening pits the Vancouver Canucks against the St. Louis Blues. The Canucks are about to finish up a very tough road trip that has already seen them take on two division leaders.

They split their proceedings against the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers, and now, they have the Blues to deal with. St. Louis’ net minders have seven shutouts between them this year, but Roberto Luongo is going to come into this one fresh from three straight off days.

St. Louis has played well in this series this year already, handing the Canucks a 3-0 loss in British Columbia and a 3-2 defeat here in the Gateway to the West. You won’t want to miss this contest, which will start from Scottrade Arena at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on RSNP and FOX Sports Midwest.

Elsewhere on the NHL rotation schedule for Thursday, the Boston Bruins will host the struggling Montreal Canadiens at 7:00 p.m.. The 7:30 starts include the Phoenix Coyotes at the Detroit Red Wings and the Carolina Hurricanes at the Tampa Bay Lightning. At 8:30, the Minnesota Wild will look to try to get back to their winning ways against the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks try to take a bite out of the Winnipeg Jets.

Late-night affairs have the Calgary Flames welcome the Anaheim Ducks to the Saddledome for a 9:30 skate. The evening on the ice wraps up at 10:30 p.m., when the Dallas Stars take on the Los Angeles Kings.

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