NHL Picks: Back Bruins To Pick Up A Home Win Over Blue Jackets

Swinging Johnson

Monday, February 22, 2016 6:02 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 6:02 PM UTC

The Blue Jackets travel to Boston as the Bruins return home after a 7-3 road win. As we peruse the NHL odds let’s determine which side will cash in our NHL picks tonight.

Columbus Blue Jackets (23-36, -11.1 units)
Columbus is ahead of only the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings and their last two games have done nothing to enhance their unlikely chances of squeaking into the postseason with only 13 games left in the regular season. Columbus fell to the Bruins just last week by the score of 2-1 before they welcomed a fellow cellar dweller in Buffalo three nights later where they dropped a 4-0 decision.

The Jackets ran into a brick wall on Friday night as Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner stopped all 38 of the Columbus shots and shutdown their power play on six opportunities. Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo had a tough night at the office watching a 149 foot clearing shot off the stick of the Sabres’ David Legwand hop over his glove and into the back of the net for the second Buffalo tally of the game. After turning aside 27 of 31 shots Korpisalo was yanked with a little over eight minutes left in the game and the recently activated Curtis McElhinney took his place and stopped all four shots he faced in what ultimately proved to be a 4-0 home loss.


Boston Bruins (32-27, -1.0 units)
The NHL odds makers installed the visiting Boston Bruins as +130 road dogs when they took to the ice in Dallas on Saturday evening after a 2-0 loss to Nashville two nights earlier. The night began inauspiciously for Boston as the Stars jumped out to a 3-1 lead until the Bruins struck again at 6:36 of the second period on a power play goal by Brad Marchand to cut the lead to 3-2. In total the B’s would register three power play goals on six opportunities which was a refreshing change of pace for a team that had failed to connect on their previous 21 man-advantaged situations before Marchand’s goal. Boston would go on to explode for seven goals en route to a 7-3 victory over a Western Conference powerhouse. They now hold the league’s second best road mark with a 20-7-3 record.

The Bruins may be road warriors but when they play at home the results have not been nearly as favorable. Boston holds the league’s third worst home record with a 12-14-3 mark yet their power play has been surprisingly effective at the Garden where they have connected on 26.5 percent of their man-advantage opportunities, tops in the NHL at home. The Black & Gold has traditionally been built on solid defense but this season they are a middling bunch ranked 19th in goals allowed but their offense has been their savior averaging 3.0 goals per game which places them 3rd in the league.


Betting Analysis
While it would be easy to blindly back the Bruins in your NHL picks tonight when handicapping this game, it may not be the slam-dunk it appears to be. These teams have met twice this season with Boston prevailing on both occasions in overtime. However, Boston seems to be revving its engine at the right time while Columbus has been struck in neutral offensively, managing a league worst in goals this month with only 14 tallies over eight games.

The Jackets could very well give their starting goalie Joonas Korpisalo a rest on Monday's game after his struggles in the last game against Buffalo and a workload that has seen him get the start over the last 12 contests. Curtis McElhinney is back in uniform after an ankle injury derailed his season on January 2nd and could very well get his first starting assignment in a long while tonight. Yet, that could be a boon for the Bruins who would then face a goalie with plenty of rust on his skates. As poorly as the Bruins have played at home this season, they are gunning for a high seed in the postseason and should dispense with a team like Columbus who has been unable to put the puck in the net, not just recently but all season long.

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Free NHL Pick: Boston -168
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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