NHL Picks: Keith Suspension Brings Value In Blackhawks’ Trip To Boston

Dana Lane

Sunday, April 3, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 3, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

As the NHL season approaches its final stages, can the NHL Odds underdog Boston Bruins climb back in to the last wild card spot with a victory over the Chicago Blackhawks?

If the season were to end today the Boston Bruins would not make the postseason due to their inability to win on the West Coast. The Bruins are now 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and trail the Philadelphia Flyers by one point for the last wild card spot.  They also can climb back in the third automatic spot with a victory.  Hope is not lost in Beantown but they are a long way from the day when they led the Atlantic not to long ago. I currently have the Bruins ranked 13th in my power poll.

Chicago is securely in the third spot in the Central with hopes of catching the Blues for home ice advantage in the first round.  They trail St. Louis by four points with four to play.  Chicago is 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and have settled in to the 9th spot in my rankings.

Chicago will be without several key players today including Duncan Keith who was suspended six games for his high stick on Minnesota's Charlie Coyle. The Hawks also fear that they will be with goaltender Corey Crawford for the start of the playoffs but did practice yesterday with goaltending coach Jimmy Waite. His injury is believed to be a concussion or vertigo related. It was his first time on the ice since mid-march. Scott Darling is the probable starter who will be making his ninth straight start.

Lets not forget that without Darling last season the Blackhawks probably don't win the Stanley Cup.  Darling took over for Crawford in the playoffs and helped stabilize the team until Crawford got back on track.  Since Darling took over he is 4-3-1 with a .912 save percentage.  Solid numbers from a back-up.

Marian Hossa will be back in the lineup after missing Friday's 5-4 overtime win over Winnipeg but Andrew Shaw will not dress after suffering a an upper body injury.

Chicago still has enough weapons to back in this one with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. Kane scored his 40th goal and an assist against Winnipeg to move his point total to 96 on the season. Panarin had two goals and two assist to move his numbers to 27 goals and 41 assist.  

Tukka Rask will once again be in goal for the Bruins.  Rask owns a horrible .888 save percentage over his last seven starts.  Before the Bruins 6-5 victory over the Blues they had only scored 10 goals while losing six of their last seven. 

From a trend perspective the Blackhawks have always been a solid play at the United Center with a 119-56 mark over their last 175 home games and a solid 35-17 against the Atlantic Division. 

The 'under' is 35-13-16 in Chicago last 64 games against the Eastern Conference, and offers an attractive price on the NHL Odds board.

The Blackhawks may not be running on all cylinders now but until I see some more fight from Boston I can't back them, So we'll make the Under our NHL Pick on Sunday's early hockey game.

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Free NHL Pick:  Bruins Under 5 +125
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage


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