According to NHL betting odds the Bruins are a -140 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0. These two clubs have seen just 2 of their last 9 meetings go over the total. This is the rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals in which the Bruins swept the Penguins in 4-games.
Penguins are on a Roll
Pittsburgh enters tonight’s game having won 5-games in a row and 8 of their last 10. They currently are in 1st place in the 8-team Metropolitan Division, with a comfortable 10-point lead over the 2nd place Carolina Hurricanes. The Penguins are also first overall in the Eastern Conference, holding a 2-point lead over the Montreal Canadians, and a 3-point lead over the Boston Bruins, who are both hot on their tail.
Defensive Lock Down
The Penguins get a lot of media attention for their offensive accomplishments, but they’re quietly becoming one of the better defensive teams in the NHL. They rank 5th in the league allowing just 2.2 goals per game. In their last 4-games they’ve allowed just a combined 4-goals total. Their penalty killing has been outstanding so far this season, as they’ve killed off 86% of their opponents power plays, which is good for 5th best in the NHL. The Penguins #1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has bounced back from a shaky postseason, and is off to a very good start to the 2013-2014 campaign. In 24 starts Fleury has posted a stellar 2.01 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Still Dynamic Offensively
The Penguins certainly haven’t missed a beat offensively this season. Entering tonight they’re 5th in the NHL averaging 3.1 goals per game. Their power play is the best in the league converting at a sizzling 26.5% of their opportunities. The Penguins have the two top scorers in the NHL with the league leader Sidney Crosby, who is currently 4-points ahead of teammate Evgeni Malkin. Left wing Chris Kunitz is 9th in the scoring race as well.
Shaking off the Rust
The Bruins come off a disappointing 2-1 loss at Montreal on Thursday night. They showed signs of rust especially early on in the contest, after entering the game on 4-days of rest. Tonight will be just their 2nd game in the last 7 days. Boston is currently is 2nd in the Atlantic Division just 1-point behind 1st place Montreal. They are also 3rd overall in the Eastern Conference trailing tonight’s opponent the Pittsburgh Penguins by 3-points for the top spot. The Bruins do have 2-games in hand on both Montreal and Pittsburgh heading into tonight.
It wouldn’t be difficult to make the case that Boston possesses collectively the best group of defensemen in the NHL. When coupling that with the play of #1 goaltender Tuukka Rask, it becomes a lethal combination defensively. Boston has been, and continues to be, #1 in the NHL allowing 2.0 goals per game. The aforementioned Rask has been brilliant in 23 starts, posting an excellent 1.90 GAA, a .934 save percentage, and has earned 2 shutouts.
NHL Super System
Any money line home favorite that comes off a 1-goal loss in their previous game, versus an opponent that’s scored 3-goals or more in each of their last 5-games is 82-32 (71.1%) since the beginning of the 1996-1997 year. So it's not too difficult to choose Boston as our NHL pick.
Free Pick: Boston -140 over Pittsburgh