Thursday night is shaping up as a major NHL evening as plenty of top teams hit the ice. Nashville takes on Columbus in a Western Conference versus Eastern Conference clash, the Capitals battle the Bruins, Winnipeg throws down against the Wild in Minnesota while the Sharks and Knights battle at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. I’ve covered four of my favorite games for tonight in my Thursday NHL Free Picks below. The Washington Capitals take on the Boston Bruins, while the San Jose Sharks visit the Las Vegas Golden Knights, on ESPN+. NBC Sports Network showcases Winnipeg at Minnesota.

Jets-Wild might be the most important matchup of the night. The Winnipeg Jets have a tenuous lead in the ultra-deep Central Division. If rival Nashville takes down Columbus, Winnipeg must keep up with the Preds by thumping the Wild. Minnesota’s no slouch, though, so expect Jets at Wild to go down to the final few minutes in the third period.

San Jose at Vegas is another huge matchup. Calgary, Vegas, and San Jose are in a logjam atop the Pacific Division. Whomever wins on Thursday night could end up in first place.

Check out analysis and a pick for San Jose at Vegas along with the other 3 top matchups in NHL on Thursday, Jan. 10.

NHL Free Picks Thursday: Predators Hope to Claw Blue Jackets, Caps Battle Bruins

Thursday, Jan. 10

Nashville Predators +105 at Columbus Blue Jackets -125

Columbus isn’t nearly as big of a favorite as some might expect. Nashville must battle the Blue Jackets only a day removed from taking on tough Chicago on the road. The Predators might not be ready to take on a team like Columbus.

Then again, some hockey handicappers believe that any time the Predators offer underdog odds, they’re a great team to back. Nashville is 4-1 in the last 5 in Columbus. They’re also 9-2 in their last 11 versus a team form the Metropolitan Division. Hard to pass on the Predators’ odds even though Chicago could rough them up on Wednesday night.

Thursday NHL Free Picks:  Predators +105

Washington Capitals +120 at Boston Bruins -140

Right now, most NHL handicapper prefer to lay the -140 on Boston even though Washington has shown that they’re dead set on defending their Stanley Cup championship.

Some of the belief in Boston must have to do with the trends. The Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous, 5-0 ATS in their last 5, and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 playing on 1 day of rest.

However, the Caps are 6-0 in the last 6 meetings in Boston. Washington’s the play.

Thursday NHL Free Picks: Capitals +120

Winnipeg Jets +100 at Minnesota Wild -115

It’s always tough to beat the Wild in St. Paul, but Winnipeg’s been on fire when going 3-1 in their last 4. The Jets are also 8-2 in their last 10 on the road, 12-2 in their last 14 playing on a day of rest, and 5-1 in their last 6 Thursday games.

Minnesota is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings at home, though. The Wild are also 4-1 in their last 5 versus a team with a winning percentage above .500. The Wild are a hot team right now, which is evidenced by the fact that they’re favored at home against one of the best in the NHL. They’re worth backing.

Thursday NHL Free Picks: Wild -115

San Jose Sharks +105 at Vegas Golden Knights -125

San Jose has been on fire, winning 4 straight and 5-of-6. The Sharks are also 5-1 in their last 6 on the road and 8-2 in their last 10 following a win. Unfortunately for San Jose backers, Vegas dominated the Sharks 6-0 on Nov. 24.

The Golden Knights have gone 15-3-2 at home. They’ve also won 7 in a row and 8-of-10. Vegas has finally gotten their skates underneath them this season. Golden Knights all the way.

Thursday NHL Free Picks: Golden Knights -125