April 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM #51215
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Slumping Bruins Hope to Avoid Season Sweep Versus Surging Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be after the season sweep of the Boston Bruins on Friday night – a win would also clinch Pittsburgh the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston enters Friday night`s showdown having lost three straight games including an emotional loss Wednesday night in a shootout versus Buffalo while the Penguins have gone about their business and have won five straight, despite the absence of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin (for the last two games), James Neal and Paul Martin.
Pittsburgh Penguins (33-10-0-0) at Boston Bruins (26-11-2-3)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, April 19, 2013
Where: TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Broadcast: RDS, NHLN-US, TSN2 (HD), ROOT, NESN
Penguins vs. Bruins Betting Lines from betonline.com
Pittsburgh Penguins +1½ -255 +121 Ov 5½ +124
Boston Bruins -1½ +215 -133 Un 5½ -137
The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially proven that their two game losing streak to start the month was simply a blip – they won 15 straight before those two losses and have strung together five straight wins since. The additions, Brenden Morrow, Jarome Iginla and Jussi Jokinen have gelled well with the team and have minimized the effect of having injured stars out of the lineup – they have brought scoring, experience, grit and a spark to an already superb team.
On Wednesday night alone Brenden Morrow scored twice for the second straight game to give him five goals and three assists in a four-game point streak, Jarome Iginla and Doug Murray also scored while Brandon Sutter acquired in June added two goals. Morrow now has six points in two games and Iginla has four points in three games. Pittsburgh continues to possess the best offense in the NHL – 3.35 goals for per game for a reason- they are stacked up front and there are a host of players that can and will step up at any time.
The Penguins will likely start Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes Friday after Thomas Vokoun started Wednesday. He is 9-1-0 with a 1.73 GAA and .942 save % age in his last 11 appearances.
The Boston Bruins are scuffling and have some work to do in order to win the Northeast Division and ultimately secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Currently they sit two points behind the Montreal Canadiens with two games in hand.
The Bruins are riding an uncharacteristic three game losing streak – the last being a shootout loss Wednesday, two days after the Boston Marathon Bombings led to the postponement of their game with Ottawa. Stopping the skid will be tough – the Bruins, have been beaten five straight times by the Pens – twice this year, five in a row in Boston and seven of eight time overall.
Boston’s offense that had picked up in recent weeks has scuffled the last three games – just five goals during their streak. Jaromir Jagr remains hot with six points in five games and Tyler Seguin has maintained consistency with three points in four games but there are a number of struggling Bruins as well. Milan Lucic who is rumored to be a healthy scratch Friday has one point in four games, Nathan Horton is pointless in four games and Rich Peverley hasn’t recorded a point in three games overall.
The Bruins will rely as always on their strong goaltending and defense Friday night. They allow just 2.17 goals per game – top three in that category in the NHL. Tuukka Rask is 2-3-0 with a 1.81 GAA in his last five starts and Anton Khudobon is 3-1-0 with a 1.96 GAA in his last four. Translation – the Bruins can’t go wrong with who they start Friday.
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• PIT are 14-3 in their last 17 vs. Northeast.
• Under is 12-4-1 in PIT last 17 overall.
• PIT are 53-19 in their last 72 overall.
• Under is 7-1 in BOS last 8 vs. Atlantic.
• Under is 13-4-4 in BOS last 21 overall.
• Under is 6-2-2 in BOS last 10 home games.
• Under is 6-1-1 in the last 8 meetings in Boston.
• Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.
The Boston Bruins are struggling – the Penguins are soaring. The Penguins have won five straight in the series and seven of the last eight versus Boston – and Pittsburgh is an Underdog? Take advantage – the Pens have won 20 of their last 22 games for a reason!
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins +121
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