San Jose Sharks vs. Boston Bruins 7:05 PM ET
According to NHL odds the Bruins are a -115 money line home favorite in this game tonight. This will be a Boston team that will for the challenge of facing currently the best team in the Western Conference, and the hottest team in the NHL. The Bruins come off a dominating 5-2 road win at Buffalo last night with backup Chad Johnson in goal for the first time this season. Tuukka Rask will be back between the pipes tonight for the Bruins and he’s been terrific to start the year. In 7-starts Rask has an excellent 1.29 GAA and a .953 save percentage. The Boston Bruins enter tonight riding a 3-game winning streak with all of those coming on the road.
Although the Sharks have shown no flaws so far this season this will be by far their toughest test of the year. They will be facing an opponent that matches up with them physically, and is as skilled offensively for the first team this season. My betting odds service has shown that 64% of money has been wagered on San Jose thus far. Obviously they’ve fallen in love with an underdog which has started the season 8-1, is playing on 2-days rest, and is facing an opponent who played last night. My experience is that it’s never as easy as it looks.
Any team that comes off a win by 2-goals or more versus a division opponent, and they’re facing a team that comes off a road game where both clubs scored 1-goal or less is 35-12 (74.5%) since the start of the 1997-1998 year. For that reason we are backing the favored Bruins with our NHL picks tonight.
Free Pick: Boston -115 over San Jose
Chicago Blackhawks (6-3) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3) 7:35 PM ET
The Chicago Blackhawks enter tonight’s game at Tampa Bay having won 5 of their last 6-games. Although they’ve been far from dominant as many expected them to be, one has to consider that they’re a team with a bulls-eye on their head as the defending Stanley Cup champions. This is still a stacked team with the majority of its roster intact from a season ago. The 40-year old veteran Nikolai Khabibulin will make his 2nd start of the season tonight for the Hawks. There’s no doubt that factor will sway some public money the way of the home underdog.
You can easily make the case that this Tampa Bay Lightning team has overachieved on the way to their 5-3 start. I firmly believe that they indeed have. This will be the Lightning’s 6th game of a 7-game home stand that’s seen them go 3-2 so far. They received a harsh dose of reality in their last game on Saturday as they were dominated by Boston in a 5-0 loss. Tonight’s starter Ben Bishop was in goal for that loss to the Bruins and had to be pulled from the game after allowing 4-goals on just 17-shots.
Any money line road favorite that’s playing their 2nd game in 5-days and has a win percentage of .600 to .700, versus an opponent with a winning record is 43-13 (76.8%) over the last 5-seasons.
Free Pick: Chicago -120 over Tampa Bay