Jimmy’s NHL picks record: 48-61-3
Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
Free NHL Pick: ‘Under’
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
The Boston Bruins had arguably their biggest win of the season on New Year’s Day when they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in the Winter Classic. In a season marred by injuries and lack of consistency, Boston stepped on the national stage and delivered what they’re hoping will be a sign of things to come as 2019 kicks into full gear. The Flames, meanwhile, will be coming off a game Wednesday night at Detroit. Calgary is 2-2-0 in the second game of a back-to-back and likely will have fatigue hit them at some point, after playing the night before and also logging some major travel miles in the last 72 hours. What does that mean for this game? A very good chance the two teams struggle to get going and that the score will stay “under” the total on the NHL odds board.
Boston has scored 114 goals and allowed 105. They’re 14-23-3 on the over/under and 8-8-2 at home. Entering Wednesday’s game, Calgary had scored 141 goals and allowed 112. They were 19-20-1 on the over/under and 5-15-0 on the road.
Both teams have been getting huge performances from their star players lately as David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand all scored for the Bruins in the Winter Classic, while Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk have been delivering for the Flames. Monahan had five assists and Tkachuk had two goals and two assists in an 8-5 win over San Jose before the Flames took off on this current five-game road trip.
Even with the stars recently shining, though, both teams are human and the back-to-back for the Flames and the potential Winter Classic hangover for Boston, combined with the stellar goaltending of Tuukka Rask (36 saves in the Winter Classic) and Jaro Halak, the “under” is the play here.
The Bruins are 22-18 against the spread and 13-5 at home. They are 19-21 on the puck line and 10-8 at home. Pastrnak leads the team in goals with 24 and points with 50. Marchand leads the team in assists with 29.
The Flames were 24-16 against the spread and 12-8 on the road before Wednesday’s game. They were 23-17 on the puck line and 12-8 on the road. Gaudreau led the team in points (55), assists (34) and is tied for the team lead in goals with Monahan as each player had 21.
For the Flames, Mike Smith was 11-8-0-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .888 save percentage, while David Rittich was 13-4-0-3 with a 2.39 GAA and .920 save percentage. Jon Gillies was called up Wednesday and hasn’t played in the NHL this season.
For the Bruins, Rask is 10-8-0-2 with a 2.63 GAA and .914 save percentage, and Halak is 12-6-0-2 with a 2.28 GAA and .928 save percentage.
For the Flames, forward Andrew Mangiapane is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury; defenseman Juuso Valimaki (lower-body) is week-to-week; and defenseman Michael Stone is out indefinitely with an arm injury. Rittich is day-to-day with a lower-body injury but could start Thursday.
For the Bruins, defenseman Charlie McAvoy (lower body) will be a game-time decision. Forward David Backes is serving the third game of a three-game suspension.