On paper, this appears to be one of the bigger mismatches of the evening. A 15-6-1 Hurricanes team that has won six of eight at home, hosting a Red Wings team that is 7-15-3, which includes a 3-9-1 road mark.
Across the board, Carolina ranks as the superior team. The Hurricanes' 3.27 goals and 31.7 shots per game each rank seventh in hockey, while their power play percentage is fourth.
They'll be going up against a Detroit D that gives up an average of 3.28 goals, the fourth-most in the league, and carries the NHL's second-worst penalty kill.
Even on the other side, Detroit's offense has been bad for much of the year, ranking next-to-last in both goals and power-play percentage. Carolina, meanwhile, is 11th and 14th, respectively, in goals allowed and penalty kill, while also sitting inside the top 10 in shots allowed.
The Hurricanes have bounced back from a three-game losing streak, all of which came against the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. They beat the then-first place Panthers in back-to-back games in Florida, and on Tuesday, beat the Predators on the road 4-2, with leading point-producer Sebastian Aho.
Other players who have stepped up recently include Vincent Trocheck and Brett Pesce. Trocheck has scored in three straight games, upping his goal tally to 12 on the year, while the defenseman Pesce has points in three of his last four games to give 13 total.
With the return to home ice, the dominant play, and facing one of the league's worst teams fresh off of two blowout losses, don't overthink this one. Take the Hurricanes for the first leg of your parlay.
This is another matchup that on paper seems to favor one team a lot more than the other. But stats aside, the previous three meetings between these teams indicate a clear advantage for the Islanders.
Meeting for the first time back on Feb. 15, the Islanders had a brilliant defensive performance, winning 3-1 in Buffalo while holding the Sabres to just 21 shots. The following night, with a new goaltender in net, New York once again held Buffalo to 20 shots and shut it out 3-0.
In each of those games, the Islanders used two goals in the first period to set the tone while letting their defense dominate the rest of the way. A week later, the Sabres had their best effort yet in New York, registering 36 shots and entering the final minutes tied.
However, it still wasn't enough, as a late power-play goal sealed the deal for the Islanders in a 3-2 win.
While previous history isn't a foolproof plan to deciding what games to bet on, it's clear the Islanders are the better team than the Sabres and give them some problems. The brunt of that comes from New York's stout defense, which allows the third-fewest goals in the league and the fifth-fewest shots.
That D will be facing off against Buffalo, which ranks third-to-last in goals per game and shooting percentage.
In addition, New York is just the hotter team right now, winning four of its last five. A couple of players have been red-hot lately, too, including Oliver Wahlstrom, who has goals in back-to-back contests and is currently in the midst of a five-game point streak.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau is another who has three goals during that stretch, while he and Anders Lee each have points in four of those five games. Buffalo, on the other hand, has taken losses in four straight games, two of which were shutouts.
The Sabres have some talent, and a case can be made that they have had quite a bit of bad luck. But expecting the luck to turn around against last year's Eastern Conference runner-ups may be lofty thinking. Take the Islanders to win for part two of your parlay.
The third and final team for the parlay is the only one playing on the road. However, they just so happen to own the league's top record and have dominated against this opponent.
The Maple Leafs have had a phenomenal season, winning 17 of their 23 games and six of their last seven. The offense has been clicking since day one, averaging over 3.5 goals per game to rank second in hockey while carrying the league's second-best power play as well.
Even their defense has improved drastically, ranking fourth and sixth, respectively, in goals and shots allowed per game. Look no further than the last two games, where Toronto shut down two of the three leading scorers in the league on Edmonton to win back-to-back shutouts on the road.
This dominant Toronto group heads to Vancouver to take on the Canucks, who entering Thursday have lost five of their last six games. While Vancouver has been fine offensively, its defense has been abysmal.
The Canucks rank third-to-last in goals allowed at a little under 3.5 while also giving up close to 33 shots per game. It may also be a problem that they average over 10 minutes a game in the penalty box, giving the Leafs' power play plenty of time to operate.
In a three-game stretch in Toronto, the Maple Leafs handled the Canucks from start to finish. The first game was a 7-3 blowout, with Jason Spezza netting a hat trick as they held the Canucks to 19 shots while blasting them with 37.
Two nights later, the shots were closer, but the score wasn't. Auston Matthews and Wayne Simmonds each netted a pair of goals as Toronto went on to win 5-1.
Then two nights after that, Vancouver played its best game yet, winning 32-19 in shots and racking up half as many penalty minutes as Toronto. However, Toronto scored two goals in the third period 11 seconds apart to win 3-1.
The Canucks have players to get excited about, including Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, all of whom have eclipsed 20 points. But the Leafs have a pair of 30-point studs in Matthews and Mitch Marner, a more-than-competent defense, and a solid goalie in Frederik Andersen.
Look for the Leafs to win on Thursday, completing your three-team parlay and hopefully helping you win big.
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