Predators, Capitals tight on NHL betting lines for Thursday matchup

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The Nashville Predators take motivation – their playoff positioning isn’t secure – and a strong bounce-back trend into a Thursday night matchup of NHL division leaders against the Washington Capitals, who are expected to have top goal scorer Alex Ovechkin on the ice.

Washington is priced at -110 on the moneyline with a 5.5-goal total for Thursday on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Predators, who need to win only one of their two remaining games to clinch the Central Division and top overall seed in the Western Conference, are coming off a disappointing road defeat against the Florida Panthers, where they lost 2-1 despite a 36-27 edge on the shot counter.

The Predators are 8-1 in their last nine games after a loss where they outshot their opponent.

The OddsShark NHL Database shows that the Predators are only 3-7 in their last 10 regular-season away games in April. That might be canceled out by the Capitals’ identical 3-7 mark in their last 10 regular-season home matchups during the month.

The Predators are 51-18-11 but only 8-7 in away games against Eastern Conference teams. Nashville, with a solid offense by committee built around the likes of left wing Viktor Arvidsson, left wing Filip Forsberg and defenseman P.K. Subban, is only 5-5 in its last 10 games, but eight were against teams batting for playoff spots.

Nashville will likely start goalie Pekka Rinne, who will be aiming to fine-tune his game after posting an .880 save percentage in his five most recent starts.

The Capitals are 48-25-7, which includes being 11-3 at home against Western Conference teams. Ovechkin did not practice on Tuesday, leading to speculation that the Washington captain could sit out to get some rest before the playoffs start next week. However, he participated in the morning skate on Thursday.

Still, summoning center Travis Boyd and defenseman Madison Bowey from their Hershey Bears minor-league team could indicate that the Capitals might be as interested in evaluating players as they are in winning the game.

Washington has been rotating goaltenders Braden Holtby (.916 save percentage in his last five games) and Philipp Grubauer (.925 in his last five) over the last few weeks. Grubauer is expected to be between the pipes for the Capitals on Thursday night.

The total has gone under in seven of the Predators’ last 10 road games against the Eastern Conference, including the five most recent. The total has also gone under in seven of the Capitals’ last 10 regular-season home games in April.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

How to watch Boston Bruins vs NY Rangers: Live stream, TV channel, puck drop time for tonight’s game

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It’s the Bruins vs Rangers tonight on NBCSN. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. with NHL Live. See below for additional information on how to watch the game. Click here for the latest stats, scores, and division standings.

The Boston Bruins (8-1-2) currently lead the East division after sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers last week (Feb. 3 and Feb. 5). David Pastrnak has helped the Bruins climb to the top spot since returning to the lineup on January 30, after undergoing a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16. The Bruins’ forward already has 5 goals and 3 assists in the 4 games he’s played in this season, making him third on the team in goals scored behind Brad Marchand (7 goals) and Patrice Bergeron (6 goals).

The New York Rangers (4-5-2) are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Islanders on Monday night. The Rangers made 30 shots on goal but just could not get past Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov. Artemi Panarin currently leads the team in goals (5), points (15), and assists (10). Mika Zibanejad, who led the team with 41 goals last season, is still struggling to find the back of the net. The Rangers forward has just one goal on the season and one assist in his last eight games.

                                 RELATED: Rangers’ rebuild — Good, bad, and the Lafreniere

Tonight will be the first of eight meetings between the Bruins and Rangers this season and will mark the 700th all-time meeting since these Original Six rivals first played against each other in 1926. Watch live online or with the NBC Sports App.

How to watch Boston Bruins vs New York Rangers:

              RELATED: 2021 NHL Season: How to watch, new format, key dates, and schedule

Be sure to check out ProHockeyTalk for more on the 2021 NHL season including game previews, recaps, news, rumors and more. Click here for the 2020-2021 NHL on NBC regular season schedule.

Ewan wins Stage 11; Conti keeps pink jersey in Giro

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NOVI LIGURE, Italy (AP) Caleb Ewan of Australia sprinted to victory on the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, while Italian cyclist Valerio Conti remained the overall leader.

Ewan, who rides for Lotto-Soudal, edged out Arnaud Demare and Pascal Ackermann in a bunch sprint at the end of the entirely flat 221-kilometer (137-mile) route from Carpi to Novi Ligure.

Conti remained 1 minute, 50 seconds ahead of Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic, who is one of the favorites, and 2:21 ahead of Nans Peters of France.

It was the second victory at this year’s Giro for the 24-year-old Ewan, who also won the sprint at the end of the eighth and longest stage on Saturday.

The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports