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Two of the NHL's most explosive offenses take on each other this Thursday night as the Vancouver Canucks (9-2-1) go on the road to take on the Ottawa Senators (5-6). The Canucks continue to be one of the most surprising teams in the NHL this season, thanks to their elite offense and hot start. The Senators are trying to get themselves out of the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.
Vancouver is one of the hottest teams in the league, as a stellar combination of their offense and defense has helped them win seven of their last eight games. They are currently on a four-game winning streak with wins over Nashville, San Jose, Dallas, and Edmonton.
Ottawa started the season well on a 3-1 record with solid wins over Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Washington. They lost five of their next six games on the road versus the Toronto Maple Leafs the night before. This game against the Canucks will be the second of a three-game streak in three days.
Both teams have two of the most explosive offenses in the league. The Canucks are the top team in the league in scoring offense, as they average 4.5 goals per game. Ottawa is third in the league in goals per game, averaging 4.0 goals per game.
The biggest difference is the efficiency of both teams on defense. Vancouver is ranked third in the league in goals allowed per game (2.17), while Ottawa is ranked 23rd in goals allowed per game (3.46). Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko is third in the league in save percentage (94.8%), as he has saved 255 shots on 269 shot attempts.
Time: 8:07 PM E.T. - Thursday
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Two teams from the Western Conference are set to compete on Thursday night to attempt to get out of the middle of the pack. The Arizona Coyotes (6-5-1) go on the road to take on the St. Louis Blues (5-5-1) to face each other in one of the closest odds in this Thursday slate of NHL games.
The Coyotes have been up and down the season, as they want some good games but mostly against lesser-tier opponents. They have also battled a brutal schedule, with some of their most recent losses coming from the Los Angeles Kings twice, the Anaheim Ducks, and at home against the Winnipeg Jets. The Coyotes are coming off a 4-3 win at home over the Seattle Kraken this past Tuesday night.
The Blues should be in one of the worst shape in the league, as their offense has been highly inconsistent this year. Their saving grace is some surprisingly good play on the defensive side of the ice. They will have wins over Pittsburgh, Calgary, and at home against New Jersey, but their offense still limits their success. The Blues are coming off a 5-2 loss at home to the Jets.
St. Louis’ offense has only scored an average of 2.36 goals per game, which is tied for the third worst in the league. They do not possess the high-caliber offensive talent that many teams in the NHL do.
Arizona is in the middle of the pack regarding efficiency on the offensive and defensive sides of the ice. Last season, the Coyotes were among the worst teams in the NHL. This is a huge improvement over a team that is still essentially trying to roster build.
Time: 10:37 PM E.T. - Thursday
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The last game of the night is set for a huge Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins (5-6) visiting the Los Angeles Kings (8-2-2). The Penguins are looking to redeem themselves after a very inconsistent start to the season. The Kings are looking to make a huge run toward one of the top teams in the Western Conference, especially after beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh has had a very horrible start to the season, considering the amount of high-caliber talent on the roster. After a 2-1 start, the Penguins lost five of their next six games. They are currently on a two-game winning streak, with the last one being a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
The Pacific Division is loaded with the Golden Knights, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Kings, all competing at high levels. The Kings have won six of their last seven games, including the big 4-1 win over the Golden Knights.
The defense of the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a huge task ahead of them as they attempt to slow down Los Angeles's explosive offense. The Kings average 4.25 goals per game, second in the league, with the Penguins averaging 3.45 goals per game. The Penguins’ defense allows an average of 2.82 goals per game, tied for eighth in the league.
Ordinarily, the Kings would be huge favorites in this matchup against the Penguins, who must find a rhythm. Los Angeles, however, is coming off of a huge emotional win over their divisional rivals on the road the night before. This will give Pittsburgh a chance to account for a huge win and gain some confidence moving forward, as they will need to make a serious run to avoid being in a bad deficit in the Eastern Conference standings. This is if the Kings are not physically and emotionally exhausted from the night before.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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