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Devils to stay hot vs. slumping Kings on Thursday

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We have an exciting day of NHL action ahead of us, with 24 of the league's 32 teams set to be in action. Let's take a look at a couple of plays worth backing.

Kings (+100) @ Devils (-120)

The Devils changed their defensive coverage to more of a zone scheme coming out of the All-Star break. They also got Jack Hughes back from injury.

Those two things have paid immediate dividends and made the Devils look like a completely different team.

They own a 3-1-1 record since All-Star Weekend and have performed better at both ends of the ice. Their defensive play has been more stable, and their offense looks like the juggernaut it was expected to be - it's generating more high-danger chances at five-on-five than all but three teams.

I think they'll build on their recent success on Thursday night. The Kings have been stuck in the mud for what feels like forever, unable to gain footing and put together quality showings.

That's becoming more difficult by the game as their goaltending has predictably fallen off a cliff.

David Rittich has started four straight games, the last of which he allowed five goals on just 17 shots. They'll probably go back to Cam Talbot, which will probably be even more favorable for the Devils.

Talbot has conceded at least three goals in seven consecutive starts and given up 8.33 goals above expectation since the calendar flipped.

Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and company are no doubt chomping at the bit to pounce on a reeling team with poor netminding.

Look for them to do just that en route to the team's third straight win.

Bet: Devils (-120)

Oilers (-200) @ Blues (+170)

The Blues routinely give up more shots and chances than they generate and compensate with clinical finishing. That's not a recipe for success against the Oilers.

Stuart Skinner has been one of the league's best goaltenders for quite some time - a crazy thought given how the year started.

He's posted a .940 save percentage and saved 19.57 goals more than expected since the holiday break. Those are downright absurd numbers.

Although Skinner obviously won't maintain those long term, he's very much in form and won't give opponents more goals than they deserve on any given night. The Blues likely need that to have a chance in this game.

The Oilers are among the best even-strength teams in the NHL and often earn a big edge in terms of chances. They should have their way against a Blues team with a 42% expected goals share over the last 10 games.

Given the firepower on this Oilers roster, more chances will generally lead to success on the scoreboard.

I expect Edmonton to take care of business in regulation and bring St. Louis back down to earth.

Bet: Oilers in regulation (-130)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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