NHL Picks: Bruins Losing Streak Will Continue When Meeting Predators

Dana Lane

Thursday, February 18, 2016 5:08 PM GMT

Big game for both teams and for our NHL picks as the Bruins are right on the heels of first place in the Atlantic while the Predators need a victory to hang on to their playoff spot. 

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Free NHL Pick: Nashville -127
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Bruins vs. Predators
This is game five for the Bruins who are on a season-long six-game road trip. Boston managed a 2-1 overtime victory over Columbus Tuesday night, one of the leagues worst teams. The Bruins won on sheer talent, but that kind of effort against Nashville will result in a loss. The Predators dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Dallas Monday, but in defeat, they looked better than Boston in victory.

There's a goaltending situation forming in Nashville. Pekka Rinne (20-18-8, 2.57 Goals Against, .902 save percentage) has held the number one starter spot down for most of the year, but Carter Hutton (6-2-2, 2.17 Goals Against, .922 save percentage) has now made two straight starts. This may be a negative situation is most cases, see Calgary, but I think this will be a motivator for Rinne who hasn't been challenged for his spot. I expect Rinne to start this game because if he doesn't, Head Coach, Peter Laviolette, will be sending a clear message. Laviolette did make a comment that the goaltender situation is a hard decision, which is an admittence that there could be a problem.

I still feel like the Bruins can go deep in the playoffs but what's worrisome is their tendency to offensively disappear for long periods of time. No one would mistake their match-up with the Predators as a marquee tilt, but the Bruins have to start stepping up in big spots, see Detroit. As the season progresses, every game will become a must-win. That's when I have to question if the Bruins have the internal toughness needed to compete in big situations. It's not from a lack of desire, it's from the lack of ability. Many feel, including me, that trading Milan Lucic will become a glaring weakness as the season comes to an end. 

 

Betting Analysis
Head Coach, Claude Julien, calls his team a work in progress. To me, that sounds like we shouldn't expect a consistent effort every night. "Works in progress", don't earn that label if they're a safe NHL pick every night. 

In order for the Bruins to make real noise in the playoffs, they must become as good on the power play as they are on the penalty kill. The Bruins haven't scored a goal with the man advantage in four games and is 1-32 over their last nine contest. 

Tukka Rask started in goal for Boston against Columbus, so expect Jonas Gustavsson (10-4-1, 2.53 goals against, .913 save percentage) to start. Gustavsson is not as stable as I'd like. He tends to react too quickly, which causes too many rebounds. His goals against average is too high for me to financially back.

The Bruins have a small trend forming playing Western Conference teams. They have now lost six of their last eight against the West. Specifically against Nashville, the Bruins have dropped four of the last five meetings. The home team has won nine of the last 11 in this series. With the NHL odds showing Nashville at -127, jump in on them with a play for tonight's game.