May 31, 2013 at 2:52 PM #52257
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
What We’ve All Been Waiting For – Penguins Host Bruins in Game 1
It doesn’t appear that the shortened season had anything to do with the happenings in the NHL so far – the best four teams and the last four Stanley Cup winners are left. The Eastern Conference Final pits the Boston Bruins who dispatched the Rangers in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins who made it look easy against the Ottawa Senators. Both teams enter the East Final absolutely on fire with every element of their games clicking. Needless to say – this series should be fun.
Boston Bruins (36-17-4-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (44-14-1-0)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, June 1, 2013
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Broadcast: CBC, NBC, RDS
Bruins vs. Penguins Betting Lines
Boston Bruins +1½ -210 +149 Ov 5½ +105
Pittsburgh Penguins -1½ +180 -164 Un 5½ -116
The Bruins had their issues with Pittsburgh during the regular season. The Penguins and Bruins met three times during the regular season with Pittsburgh winning all three contests by one goal. But Boston has shown to be as balanced a team as there is left in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After taking care of the Leafs the Bruins soundly beat the Rangers in every aspect of their five game series.
Nathan Horton had three points in two games to close out the series and he had five points in five contests overall. Brad Marchand was much better in the second round with two goals and four assists in five matches versus New York. The Bruins’ fourth line of Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton combined for four goals and six assists in five games against the Rangers as well. David Krejci will enter Round 3 as the playoff point leader with 17 points in 12 games. It’s safe to say that Boston is plenty dangerous going into Round 3.
How about Torey Krug in Round 2 – he netted four goals in five games despite having only three games of regular season experience. He may lose some playing time to a returning Andrew Ference – let’s hope not.
Tuukka Rask gave up two goals or fewer in all four victories against New York and looks to have the goaltending edge over Tomas Vokoun for sure although Vokoun has been surprisingly solid for the Penguins. Rask is 4-1-0 with a 1.86 GAA and .936 save percentage in his last five games and looks every bit an elite goaltender at this stage of the playoffs.
What can we say about the Penguins heading into Game 1? Kris Letang leads all defensemen in scoring with 16 points, tying him with Evgeni Malkin for the team lead, Sidney Crosby has 15 points in 10 games since returning from a broken jaw and James Neal scored five goals over the final two games against Ottawa. The Penguins outscored Ottawa by a 22-11 margin in five games in their second round series – incredible.
Pittsburgh’s power play has been the best on the playoffs, while clicking at a 28.3 success rate. Their penalty kill has been solid as well and sits second among the teams remaining in the playoffs. It has allowed just four goals on 39 opposition attempts. The goaltending has been all but shored up now that Marc-Andre Fleury is stapled to the bench. Tomas Vokoun is 6-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .941 save percentage since getting the call for Game 5 of the Islanders series. Everything is clicking for the Penguins – there are simply no holes.
A few trends to consider:
• BOS are 1-7 in their last 8 Sat. games.
• Under is 10-2-1 in BOS last 13 Sat. games.
• Under is 10-4-1 in BOS last 15 vs. Atlantic.
• PIT are 42-12 in their last 54 home games.
• PIT are 41-12 in their last 53 overall.
• PIT are 38-14 in their last 52 Sat. games.
• Under is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.
• Road team is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings.
The Boston Bruins had a lot of trouble with the speed that the Toronto Maple Leafs brought in Round 1. The Penguins possess better speed and a ton more talent than the Leafs. I’m sure that Boston will make some necessary adjustments but it may take them a game or two to adjust to what the juggernaut Penguins bring. Pittsburgh takes Game 1 and puts a little doubt into the heads of the Bruins.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -164
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