NHL Playoff Thursday Picks April 25, 2024

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by OddsCrowd Analysts

As the first round of the NHL playoffs roll on, we’re beginning to see series shift locations and really begin to take shape. It’s do-or-die time for some teams, while others are looking to build some serious momentum en route to the second round. We have just two games on the ice tonight, but we’ve still broken down our best NHL picks for you on Thursday, April 25.

NHL Thursday predictions

  • Florida Panthers money line over Tampa Bay Lightning (+102)
  • Matthew Tkachuk to record an assist (-108)
  • Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders - Over 5.5 Goals (+104)

Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning best bet: Panthers money line over Lightning (+102)

The first game of the night is the classic Atlantic Division rivalry between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s also an in-state rivalry, so these teams know each other quite well.

It’s long been the Lightning that has been the big brother in this matchup, but it has become far more even in the last couple of seasons. Not only that, but the Panthers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final last year has them even more prepared, as experience is certainly a key factor in the NHL postseason.

We saw a very close Game 1, but despite the score, Florida was in control for the majority of that game right from the start, out-shooting the Lightning by double-digits in the first period. Of course, they’ll be on the road for tonight’s Game 3, but with that being just down the road, that isn’t a large concern.

In fact, both of the Panthers’ wins against the Lightning in the regular season came on the road, and they did so by a combined score of 12-4. So, the first of our NHL Thursday picks is Florida on the money line.

Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning player prop pick: Matthew Tkachuk to record an assist (-108)

We’re sticking with the Panthers vs Lightning matchup for our best NHL player prop bet of the night. There is no shortage of superstars across both teams and our favorite target is Matthew Tkachuk of the Panthers.

He was the primary driving force behind their magical Stanley Cup Final appearance last season, despite being the final team to even sneak into the playoffs. If not for a broken clavicle, we may not have seen the Vegas Golden Knights win it all.

Regardless, Tkachuk has thrived against his cross-town rivals, recording two points per game against the Lightning in three games this season, as well as four games last year. It’s difficult to bet against Tampa goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, but Tkachuk has simply been too consistent to ignore.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders best bet: Over 5.5 goals (+104)

The other Game 3 that we get to enjoy tonight features another rivalry in the Eastern Conference, this time in Metropolitan Division. The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders entered the Stanley Cup playoffs as two of the hottest teams in the NHL, but it’s been the ‘Canes who have gotten the best of things thus far.

Their 2-0 series lead shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as they’re the overall favorites to hoist Lord Stanley. Hopes are higher with the Isles being on home ice tonight, especially after having a commanding lead in Game 2. So, rather than trusting Carolina to win three straight or New York to recover from that blown lead, we’re focused on the total instead.

As you’d expect, it’s quite low, set at just 5.5 goals. However, the Islanders’ defense hasn’t been quite as stout as it has been over the past few seasons, which was on full display when the Hurricanes scored four goals in the third period alone in Game 2.

Similarly, three of the four regular-season meetings between these teams finished with seven or more goals. With that in mind, we’re going against the grain and adding to our NHL Thursday picks with over 5.5 goals in the Hurricanes vs Islanders Game 3.

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