NHL Betting : Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh on Thursday

In their first meeting of the season, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (9-2-2) will host the Minnesota Wild (6-4-1) Thursday at 7 PM ET. The Wild, having lost their last two games, sit first overall in team defense with an average of 2.00 goals against per game so far in 2016-17. The Wild have only given up three goals in their last five games despite the two-game slide. That stingy Wild defense will look to contain red-hot Evgeni Malkin (seven goals, six assists) and Sidney Crosby, who has eight goals and two assists through eight games when they face off in Steel City.

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The Minnesota Wild (6-4-1) will try to stop a two-game slide Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins (9-2-2). Thursday’s game (7 PM ET) on FSN will showcase two of the offensive mainstays in the league over the past decade in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Neither has shown signs of slowing down so far in 2016-17, as Malkin (seven goals, six assists) and Crosby (eight goals and two assists) have each led their team offensively.

The Penguins, sixth overall in team offense, have won two straight and have scored a combined nine goals over those games. After missing the first six games of the season with a concussion, Captain Crosby has been on fire, leading the Pens in goals despite playing only half of his team’s games. Netminder, Matt Murray (1.33 GAA, .957 save %), has started the last two games for the Penguins, and may get the nod again this Thursday over Marc-Andre Fleury (3.07 GAA, .912 save %).

Look for a battle of offensive strength versus defensive strength on Thursday night, as Pittsburgh will look to utilize its versatile offense against a suffocating Wild defense.

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