Bruins vs. Penguins NHL Picks: Low Scoring Matchup Offers High Value

Bruce Webster

Friday, December 18, 2015 2:35 PM GMT

The Boston Bruins face the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Join in as we break down the NHL odds and find top value for our NHL picks.

Boston Bruins (17-9-3-1 SU, 15-15 PL, 15-13-2 OU) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (15-12-1-2 SU, 9-21 PL, 9-16-5 OU)
Lines: Boston -118/ Pittsburgh +107
Total: 5
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Free NHL Pick: Under 5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

The NHL odds are out for game two of a home-and-home series between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins and it was Boston that took game one on Wednesday night by a 3-0 score. Boston comes in having won three of their last four games, while Pittsburgh has now lost three in a row and five of their last six. The Bruins have won five of the last six in this series.

 

Tuukka Rask Remains Hot in Shutout of Pens
Boston goalie Tuukka Rask started the season at 5-8 and he allowed five goals or more in five of those games, but since then he has gone 7-2 with three shutouts and hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of those starts. On Wednesday night he stopped 34 Pittsburgh shots in the 3-0 win. Rask is now 4-0 in his last four starts, posting two shutouts in the four games while allowing just two total goals. This is clearly not the same Rask that started the year. Rask now has 30 career shutouts and is 6-6 with a 2.20 GAA in his career vs Pittsburgh.

Maxime Talbot got the scoring started for Boston in the first period with his first goal of the year. In the 2nd period it was Jimmy Hayes who scored his first goal in 15 games and now has five on the year, plus he had an assist as well. Rounding out the scoring was Ryan Spooner, who notched his 8th of the year, while also posting an assist. The Bruins check in at 2nd in the league in scoring, putting up 3.2 gpg, while also still holding on to the top spot in power play conversions (29.4%). On defense they have climbed to 18th in goals allowed (2.6 gpg) and 18th in penalty kill (80%). If Rask stays hot and the offense continues to produce, then this will be a tough team to beat this year. 

 

Despite Coaching Change, Same Old Pens
Pittsburgh recently made Mike Sullivan their new coach, but after falling to the Bruins 3-0 on Wednesday night, they are now 0-2 under him and have been outscored 7-1 in the two games. Nothing really has changed for this team as they are still offensively challenged and they are still losing games. I feel that the problems with this team are a bit deeper than who is coaching them. It’s just a matter of the team figuring what the problems are. The Pens are now just 2-7 in their last nine games and they have fallen to 5th place in the Metropolitan Division.

Taking the loss in the game vs. the Bruins was Jeff Zatkoff, who is now 2-3 with a 2.35 GAA on the year. Getting the start in this game should be Marc-Andre Fleury (if he passes concussion test), who is 13-12 on the year with a 2.29 GAA, while at home he has gone 7-6 with a 2.54 GAA. Fleury is also 12-10 with a 2.32 GAA in his career vs the Bruins. Pittsburgh checks in at 28th in the league in scoring, putting up just 2.2 gpg, while also ranking 28th in power play conversions (14.9%). On defense the Pens are pretty solid, ranking 10th in goals allowed (2.4 gpg) and 7th in penalty kill (83.5%). Jump starting this offense should be top priority for Sullivan.

 

Trends for Boston:
The Under is 12-5-5 in their last 22 vs. the  Metropolitan.

The Under is 6-0 in their last six overall.

 

Trends for Pittsburgh:
The Under is 15-5-1 in their last 21 following a loss of three or more goals.

The Under is 40-17-4 in their last 61 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.

 

Betting Analysis
I played the under in this game on Wednesday night and will come right back with it here. The Pens just don’t have enough offense to make games high scoring, and especially going up against a hot Tuukka Rask, who has allowed a total of two goals in his last four starts. The Boston offense has tapered off some of late and should find the going tough vs a solid Pittsburgh team, especially here at the Consol Energy Center. I expect four goals or less here as well. Take the under for your NHL picks.

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