NHL Picks: Decisive Battle for Bruins vs. Capitals to Go 'Under' the Total Tonight

David Lawrence

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 11:04 AM GMT

The Boston Bruins are fighting for their playoff lives. They enter Wednesday tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the Ottawa Senators. They have a game in hand and they’ll get it on Wednesday when they visit the Washington Capitals, who are a slight home favorite on the NHL betting lines.

The Boston Bruins Can Win Because…
They’re hot right now. The Bruins now it’s go time and you can see it in their performance. The Ottawa Senators have been hot on their heels for a month but the Bruins have responded with some of their best hockey of the season. They’ve won five straight games, which matches their longest winning streak of the season.

The Bruins have gotten back to their roots, which is by playing strong defense and winning close games. Each of their last four wins have come by exactly one goal. Goaltender Tuukka Rask continues to give his team a chance to win as he has a .930 save percentage since the All-Star break with a 2.16 GAA.  

The Caps don’t have as much on the line here as the Bruins do. And even if the Caps just have the gas slightly less pressed, that means Boston should have an opening here to sneak into town and pull out a much-needed win. Those are some of the reasons why you should take the Bruins.

Our expert handicapper also previews tonight's Stars vs. Ducks

The Washington Capitals Can Win Because…
They’ve been playing well over the last couple of weeks, and are short favorites ATS on the NHL betting odds. They have won eight of their last 11 games and have been very competitive over that span. Their three losses have come against Nashville and two red-hot in the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. That shows just how strong they’ve been. While everyone talks about the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference, people forget that it’s the Capitals who are currently the No. 4 seed. They are right up there with everyone else.

More importantly, the Capitals have had no problems with the Bruins this season as they’ve won both meetings rather easily. They won 4-0 in the first one and 2-0 in the second, meaning the Bruins haven’t even scored a goal against Washington this season. They know how to play them and Wednesday will be no different.

The Stanley Cup is closer, share with us which team you think will win!

Outlook
This looks like a tricky situation. Yes, Boston needs this game more but as we’ve seen in recent days, must-win doesn’t mean will win. And on top of that, Rask doesn’t have a strong track record against the Capitals. For his career, he has just one win in nine starts while posting an .893 save percentage and a 3.00 GAA.

While I’d like to take the Bruins as a road dog, those numbers will keep me away. Instead, I’ll look for another low-scoring matchup between the sides here. Three of the last four meetings have stayed under and Wednesday should make it four in five. Take under with your NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek