It wasn’t for a lack of effort, but the Bruins fell by a score of 4-3 to the Flyers in Philadelphia last night. The Flyers didn’t necessarily outplay the Bruins, although all that matters is the 2 points that they earned. It probably hurts them in the long run, as they should be going into tank mode. Carter Hart is playing for a spot on next years roster, so he’s one guy that you know isn’t going to give up.
He stonewalled the Bruins last night, as he turned back 39 of 42 Boston shots. If we’re looking at scoring chances, the game was fairly lopsided. The Bruins put 42 shots on net while Halak saw only 19 shots. You would have thought it was a blowout if that’s what you only looked at. That’s certainly not how hockey works, though.
With Halak in net last night, the job will turn to Tuukka Rask on Thursday. Rask has been a polarizing figure in Boston. Fans seem to be eager to blame him for miscues and losses. It’s true sometimes, but often they are just looking for someone to target. Like how a quarterback is the easiest to pick on when things go wrong for a football team, the goaltender is usually the one to get blamed.
Halak and Rask have played evenly this season, so I don’t get the Rask hate. Yes, he started the year off poorly and he had no one to blame but himself, but he’s regained his footing and playing better. Conversely, Halak started the year on fire and has sort of hit a wall recently.
His most recent appearances came in a loss to the Canadiens in Montreal by a score of 3-2 in overtime. The Bruins failed to follow up their big win over the Leafs with a win in Montreal. They are back home to welcome the Blues at TD Garden on Thursday. Get our free Blues vs. Bruins pick below.
St. Louis Blues vs. Boston Bruins Pick
The Blues came close, but failed to get 2 points against the Islanders the other night. Jordan Binnington put together another stellar performance, though, as he nearly pulled off another win on his back. Jake Allen unfortunately has had to sit and watch the rookie steal his spot as the starter in St. Louis. Ever since Brian Elliott left and the pressure was on Allen to become the fulltime starter, things have been a little more difficult for him.
His numbers have slipped and he hasn’t played like the answer to the post-Elliott era for the Blues. Maybe Binnington develops in that answer, but let’s see how he carries himself for the next few months. He has passed the first test, with a stellar 1.55 GAA and 0.937 save percentage in six starts. Combined with his numbers from the OHL and minor leagues, he’s posted a nearly perfect GAA of 1.67. Stopped a lot of pucks is nothing new to him.
The beauty of it has been that he can’t be blamed for the vast majority of the goals he’s let in. It also appears like the defence doesn’t mind playing for him either. The Blues haven’t allowed more than 30 shots in a game since December 29th. They’ve allowed just 23.2 shots per game in their previous nine games since that point. St. Louis have allowed 2.2 goals per game in their previous ten games, as they’ve improved drastically since the arrival of Binnington.
The Bruins are certainly capable of getting into a physical, low-scoring game if the Blues want to go that route, though. St. Louis have been doing much better by slowing things down and focusing more on their defensive efforts. However, Boston are one of the best at winning those type of games.
They are 3rd in the league with 2.62 goals allowed per game. It didn’t look like that last night, but they should be able to get back to basics tonight. At home they have allowed just 2.43 goals per game this season. The UNDER has gone 4-1-1 in their last six meetings with the Blues in Boston. The Blues have also favoured the UNDER six straight games. For the Bruins, they’ve been good for the UNDER at a clip of 4-0-1 in their previous five outings. You might need a bottle of scotch or whiskey to bet UNDER’s in the NHL this season, but I think this is a bet where you won’t have to drink yourself to sleep on Thursday night.