NHL Picks: Fade Panthers & Their Poor Goaltending Against Bruins

Dana Lane

Thursday, March 24, 2016 3:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 24, 2016 3:30 PM UTC

The Boston Bruins are in a must win situation against the Florida Panthers tonight and they must do it at a place they haven't had much success, at home. Will Boston beat the NHL odds?

Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins
We get to see what the Boston Bruins (39-27-8 86 points) are made of tonight when they face the first place Florida Panthers (40-24-9 89 points) at the TD Garden. Boston has lost four straight games including an uninspired effort last night against the New York Rangers resulting in an easy 5-2 Rangers win.  

It still not clear who will start in goal for Boston tonight.  There is a early morning belief that Jonas Gustavsson could start but that has not been confirmed.  Tuukka Rask was taken out of last night's game after the first period after allowing two goals but Tuukka has not felt well lately and was hit by a puck against the Kings Saturday night.  From a wagering perspective it may be better if Gustavsson starts until Rask is 100%. 

The Panthers are expected to start Roberto Luongo in goal. Luongo has had a horrible run against Boston, dropping his last seven games against them.  The Bruins have always been in his head dating back to the 2011 Stanley Finals as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.  Boston beat Luongo three times on their way to winning the Cup.  That series was directly responsible for Luongo getting shipped to Florida. 

The Panthers could be just what the Bruins need at this point considering their dominance over Florida.  The Bruins have won nine straight in the series and know they have a game in hand on both the Panthers and Lightning. It gets even worse if you go back to their last 15 meetings in which the Panthers have managed just one regulation victory. Since 2011, the Panthers are 0-8-1 at Boston.  Let's go back even further, in their last 26 meetings the Panthers have dropped 21 while the home team has won eight of the last 11 in this series.  

Even though the Bruins have scored only five goals during their losing streak I still believe that they are one of the leagues premiere offensive teams. Although too slow on defense they looked active in the offensive zone while applying 41 shots on Henrik Lundqvist.  Most of those shots were not high caliber shots but the idea was obviously to buzz around the net to pick up rebounds.  Don't forget Boston had their first goal disallowing after Brad Marchand was ruled offsides and Lee Stempniak almost had another after he beat Lundqvist but the puck couldn't quite trickle over the goal line.  A few inches would have made this game completley different. 

The Bruins stars are clearly more comfortable playing on the East Coast as Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand both notched assist last night after going pointless on the West Coast trip. 

It's not just Boston that the Panthers have issue with.  There is a recent strong trend of them not being able to beat good teams.  In their last seven attempts against teams with a winning record the Panthers have dropped all seven. 

We are backing the Bruins with our NHL picks to get back on the winning path tonight at decent NHL odds.

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NHL Pick: Bruins -115
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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