Back Lightning To Beat Reeling Bruins For 5th Straight Victory

Jimmy Murphy

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 6:55 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 6:55 PM UTC

In a battle of two teams headed in opposite directions, Tampa Bay will beat Boston on Thursday for their fifth straight win. Let's see why as you ponder your NHL picks. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Jimmy's NHL picks record: 40-33-2

Boston (14-9-4, 14-13 ATS) at Tampa Bay (21-7-1, 21-8 ATS)Thursday 7:30 p.m. ETFree NHL Pick: Lightning Puck LineBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3493772, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,238,999996,169,999991], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

On November 16, the Tampa Bay Lightning found out they would be without Vezina Trophy candidate Andrei Vasilevskiy for 4-6 weeks. So what have they done since then? The Bolts have gone 8-2 and are riding a four-game win streak into this Atlantic Division tilt with the Boston Bruins. Tampa Bay currently leads the NHL in goals (114), is tied with Toronto with the best goal differential (29) and leads the NHL in points (43).

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Good morning, #Bolts fans! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/UZ8LcfKveG

— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 5, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

Meanwhile, the battered Bruins are finally succumbing to what has been an injury-riddled last month plus and lost their last two games. Boston is now 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and looked tired and beaten down in an embarrasing 5-0 loss at Florida on Tuesday.

Remember, the Lightning bounced the Bruins in five games in the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. While I’d normally factor in the revenge factor for their first meeting since that playoff ouster, the Bruins are simply in dire straits and desperately need to get healthy and/or have their general manager Don Sweeney bring in some help via a trade. The absences of captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captain Patrice Bergeron are simply proving to be too much, and if the lowly Florida Panthers -- who by the way surrendered four unanswered goals to Tampa Bay in a 5-4 loss Saturday -- can put up a 5 spot on the Bruins, then imagine what the dynamo that is the Lightning can do to the Bruins right now!

Thanks to Boston goalie Tuukka Rask though, who has been playing much better as of late, the Bolts won’t blow the B’s out of the building. I'm expecting a spirited effort by Boston but the Lightning will pull away late in this one. The puck line looks like a very solid play. I’m tempted to ride the "over" here too but again, Rask should keep it close and the Bruins simply can’t score now. They’ve scored more than two goals only twice in their last 10 games and haven’t scored more than three goals since November 11.

Tampa Bay is 21-8 against the spread and 11-4 at home. As mentioned above, Tampa Bay has scored a league-leading 114 goals and allowed 85. They’re 15-12-2 on the over/under and 8-6-0 at home. The Bolts are 14-15 on the puck line and 9-6 at home.

Nikita Kucherov had a 10-game point streak snapped in his last game, a 6-5 shootout win at Detroit. During that span he had five goals and 19 assists. He now leads the team in assists with 30 and points with 42. Brayden Point leads the team in goals with 20.

The Bruins are 14-13 against the spread and 5-10 on the road. Boston has scored 71 goals and allowed 69. They’re 8-18-1 on the over/under and 4-11-0 on the road. The Bruins are 13-14 on the puck line and 6-9 on the road.

Goaltending Matchup

For the visiting Bruins, Rask is 6-5-0-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .915 save percentage. He’ll likely get the start after Jaroslav Halak was lit up for five goals Tuesday at Florida. Halak is 8-4-0-2 with a 2.25 GAA and .932 save percentage.

For the Lightning, Louis Domingue battles at times filling in for Vasilevskiy but has done enough to win. He’s 15-11-4 with a 3.14 GAA and .900 save percentage. Backup Edward Pasquale has started two games and is 1-1-0 with a 4.62 GAA and .792 save percentage.

M*A*S*H Report

For the Bruins, defenseman Chara (knee) is out at least three more weeks. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy (concussion) practiced with full contact Monday but there’s still no timetable on his return. Center Bergeron (clavicle) is out at least four more weeks. Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen is day-to-day with a concussion. Defenseman Kevan Miller is out at least five more weeks with a neck injury.

For the Lightning, Vasilevskiy is out at least another week with a foot injury. Defenseman Anton Stralman (UBI) is also out at least another week.

Prediction: Lightning 4, Bruins 2
comment here