Bruins Start Crucial Road Trip Against Resurgent Blues

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 5:25 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018 5:25 PM UTC

With just a few weeks left in the regular season, Wednesday’s Bruins-Blues matchup nationally televised from St. Louis (8 p.m. ET) is huge for both clubs.

Boston Bruins (99 points) at St. Louis Blues (83 points)Free NHL Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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Just four games on the Wednesday NHL schedule, which is usually pretty light, and it’s led by Boston’s lone visit of the season to St. Louis. NBC Sports Network has the national TV coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET.

The Bruins haven’t swept a two-game season series from the Blues (they played just once some years) since 1996 but can here. On Feb. 1, Boston beat visiting St. Louis 3-1 behind 32 saves from Tuukka Rask – who was playing perhaps the best hockey of his life at the time as it extended his personal points streak to 19 straight games. David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes scored for Boston, which was 1-for-1 on the power play. Jake Allen was a tough-luck loser for the Blues with 43 saves, and Jaden Schwartz had the only goal.

Meanwhile, Boston is 32-30-9 all-time in St. Louis (regular season) and has won its past two trips there.

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Both Clubs Need This W

This starts a crucial four-game road trip for Boston as it tries to catch Tampa Bay not just for the Atlantic Division title but the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference. I assure you that the B’s would rather face a wild-card team in the first round of the playoffs like a New Jersey rather than Atlantic third-place team Toronto. The four-game trip is Boston’s longest remaining, and it still has two games left vs. the Lightning (March 29 in Boston and April 3 in Tampa).

Boston will be very short-handed for this game. The team was upset at home by Columbus on Monday, 5-4 in overtime. Forwards Bergeron (foot), Backes (leg laceration) and Rick Nash (upper body) missed that as did future Hall of Fame defenseman Zdeno Chara (upper body). The only one with a chance of playing Wednesday is Nash, who was acquired around the Feb. 26 deadline from the Rangers. Rask wasn’t sharp in the loss, which ended a six-game personal winning streak. It was his first time allowing at least five goals since Jan. 7.

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Ryan Donato (goal, two assists) became the eighth Bruin to score his first career goal this season and first to register a multi-point game in his NHL debut since Jarno Kultanen in 2000.

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 20, 2018

There was one piece of good news Monday. Rookie Ryan Donato, who recently signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins after a stellar junior season at Harvard (finalist for Hobey Baker Award) and leading Team USA in scoring at the Olympics, debuted Monday in spectacular fashion with a goal and two assists.

The Blues supposedly waived the white flag on the season when they traded away Paul Stastny at the deadline to Winnipeg, but someone forgot to tell the St. Louis players the season was over. The team is still very much alive in the wild-card chase after winning two straight and four of five. The Blues had dropped nine of 10 prior to that.

St. Louis has been off since Saturday’s 5-4 overtime win in Chicago in the second of a back-to-back. The Blues were down late in regulation when defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tied it, and Patrik Berglund scored 3:31 into overtime. The Blues had trailed 2-0 after one period and 3-2 after two. Pietrangelo, who was named the NHL’s first star for last week, and fellow blueliner Vince Dunn each had a goal and three assists overall. Star winger and second-leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) missed the game and is day-to-day.

Looks like there could be a lot of offensive talent on the sidelines here. Rask seems unlikely to have another poor game, while like Blues starter Allen has surrendered just 15 goals in six games this month. The ‘under’ is 4-1 in Boston’s past five on the road and has hit in 19 of the Blues’ past 25 at home. Go ‘under’ for a Wednesday NHL pick.

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