June 4, 2013 at 10:28 PM #52282
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Here we go again.
There are few words to describe what has gone on in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins but those few words say everything about what has gone on. Domination, ease and humiliating are words that describe just how badly the Bruins are beating the Penguins. In every aspect of the game, Boston has owned Pittsburgh – they have outscored the vaunted Pittsburgh Penguins 9-1 in the series and don’t look as though they are due for a letdown anytime soon.
Pittsburgh Penguins (44-16-1-0) at Boston Bruins (38-17-4-3)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Where: TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Broadcast: CBC, RDS, NBCSN
Bruins lead series 2-0
Pens vs. Bruins Betting Lines from betonline.com
Pittsburgh Penguins +1½ -300 +105 Ov 5½ +109
Boston Bruins -1½ +250 -116 Un 5½ -120
Boston Returns Home Looking to Put Nail in Pittsburgh’s Coffin
The Pittsburgh Penguins have played about as badly as they can play so far in the first two games of the Eastern Final. A team that averaged 4.27 goals in the first two rounds of the playoffs has just one goal combined in two games against Boston. Sydney Crosby is pointless, Evgeni Malkin hasn’t hit the score sheet and the defensive zone coverage has been awful at best. An interesting stat? Sydney Crosby had four turnovers in Game 2 while the Boston Bruins as a team had just two turnovers combined! Pretty telling stuff!
The Penguins have picked precisely the wrong time to slump – offensively they are generating zero pressure and are letting the Bruins out of their own zone with ease – time and time again. Pittsburgh’s game is puck possession – they had virtually no sustained pressure in Game 2 and just a bit in Game 1.
It is pretty hard to blame the goaltending for Pittsburgh’s collapse – they simply are getting no help from anyone playing in front of them. Tomas Vokoun gave up three goals on 12 shots in the first period on Monday and was eventually chased. The scoring opportunities against were glorious and Vokoun had no chance on any of them. Enter Marc-Andre Fleury who gave up a momentum killing goal on his first shot against and ended up stopping 14 of 17 shots. Coach Dan Bylsma hasn’t yet named his starter for Wednesday but it is clear that no matter which he trots out there will be under siege unless his team starts to wake up and play some responsible D.
Now for the Boston Bruins – the polar opposite of the Pittsburgh Penguins. They have been terrific. Overall, the Bruins have won seven of their last eight games with a 30-15 scoring advantage – incredible.
Offensively everything is going well. Nathan Horton has five points in the series for the Bruins. He’s posted three goals and five assists during a four-game points streak. David Krejci has three goals and continues to lead in playoff scoring with 20 points. Johnny Boychuk, who had one goal and six points in 44 games during the regular season, now has five goals and six points in 14 postseason contests after posting a goal and an assist on Monday and Brad Marchand keeps getting it done at his favorite time of the year.
Tuukka Rask has quietly been a rock for Boston too and isn’t getting a whole lot of headlines because of the offense. Rask has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his past five starts and has stopped 55 of 56 shots directed his way in the series.
Boston has all four lines contributing, they have a stout, deep defensive corp. that is making the best offense in the game look like amateurs and they have a goaltender that looks unbeatable at this point in time. What’s not to like about the Boston Bruins?
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider: • Over is 8-1 in PIT last 9 Wed. games. • PIT are 41-14 in their last 55 overall. • PIT are 20-7 in their last 27 vs. Northeast. • BOS are 7-1 in their last 8 overall. • BOS are 7-1 in their last 8 vs. Eastern Conference. • BOS are 37-16 in their last 53 Wed. games. • Under is 7-1-1 in the last 9 meetings in Boston. • Road team is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings.
We know that Pittsburgh is a better team than they’ve been playing but the constant pressure and superior game plan has the Penguins looking lost on the ice. I can’t see the Pens regaining their focus that quickly. While I expect a closer game Wednesday and for the Pens to gain a little confidence, I just can’t see the Pens rebounding with the intensity that they obviously need. Boston has Pittsburgh’s number – I think it takes the Pens another game to figure it out.
Pick: Boston Bruins -116
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