Bruins' Inconsistency At Home Makes Penguins The Sharp NHL Pick

Dana Lane

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 7:59 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 7:59 PM UTC

The Penguins (30-20-8 68 pts) are desperately trying to hang on to the last playoff spot in the East. They lead the Devils by one point while the Bruins (30-22-6 66 pts) are trying to solve their problems at home. What's the best NHL pick?

Penguins Head Coach, Mike Sullivan, took over for Mike Johnston December 12th and was promptly greeted with a home and home loss to the Boston Bruins while being outscored 9-2.  Since that time, the Penguins are 15-6-5 and 9-3-1 in their last 13 games. It seemed that the changes coincided with the emergence of Sidney Crosby who is having his best month this year. He has eight goals and seven assist in 10 games.  The team is moving the puck with confidence and will get stronger when Evgeni Malkin returns. Malkin has missed nine straight games but has finally started to practice. Nick Bonino was also back on the ice practicing after suffering a broken hand January 12th. 

The Penguins are on a 3-0-1 road streak after their recent victory in Buffalo.  

Boston has had difficulty finding traction at home all year.  The Bruins have the sixth worst home record and are currenty on a 1-3-1 home slide, giving up 26 goals in the process. The slide started with a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the most goals they've allowed in eight seasons. They just dropped a 6-4 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the second worst team in the Eastern Conference.

In the recent series against Pittsburgh the road team has won 4 of the last 5 meetings. 

Bruins, Joe Morrow, said that he thought the Bruins may be cursed at home.  They seem to lack tempo or engery.  Those are some tough words to hear if your going to back the Bruins. The lack of defense bothers me the most. Only six teams have allowed more goals that Boston. Of those teams only Colorado is in the playoff hunt. I've been a fan of Tuukka Rask but he has been ordinary this season.  It's been a long time since I considered Rask as a goaltender that could win games by himself. Rask has played well lately but I've always questioned his mental toughness and his ability to shake off bad goals. 

In all fairness his defense has been undermanned.  You may want to keep an eye on Boston as the playoffs begin because their top six defensive pairings are playing as good as they have all year. I expect Don Sweeney to add another defenceman at the February 29th deadline. 

The Bruins also have had issues with beating teams better than them.  They were impressive in their victory against Dallas but have only managed one win in their last six attempts. 

Patrice Bergeron, the teams leading scorer, doesn't have a point in five straight home games. 

Brad Marchand has only one goal in 17 regular season match-ups against Pittsburgh. 

The Bruins are certainly a team to watch against the NHL odds as the season progresses but the Penguins are worth a play, as a dog with your NHL picks, until the Bruins show some home consistency. 

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NHL Pick: Penguins +105
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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