I split my pick 1-1 last night but hit a massive underdog in the process which notched us a solid profit on the night.
I took the New Jersey Devils as huge +186 home underdogs to end the Blues’ eight-game win streak and that was indeed the case.
In fact, it wasn’t overly close as the Devils opened the scoring and ever trailed in the game, eventually taking a 3-1 lead into the third. While the Blues scored with under four minutes left to make it a 3-2 game, a Devils empty-net goal sealed the deal and a big-time profit for Devils moneyline backers, such as us.
I mentioned in yesterday’s write-up featuring the Blackhawks and Red Wings that I liked either the Red Wings on the moneyline as notable +145 home dogs or the over 6. I also said I viewed the over as the safer of the two, but unfortunately I was wrong.
The first and third periods were scoreless and while the second period featured three goals, it wasn’t nearly enough and the Red Wings indeed won as big home dogs by a 2-1 final.
It was a little frustrating to miss on that one as my gut originally told me Detroit, but I’ll take the 0.69-unit profit on the 1-1 split and move onto today’s 10-game Saturday schedule, albeit a six-game Saturday night schedule.
Season Record: 106-93-1
Now let’s dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Lightning vs. Bruins from the TD Garden in Boston!
Lightning vs. Bruins Betting Odds
- Lightning (+120)
- Bruins (-133)
- Lightning +1.5 (-205)
- Bruins -1.5 (+175)
- Over 5.5 (+105)
- Under 5.5 (-116)
Lightning vs. Bruins NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s check in with each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Lightning uncharacteristically dropped four in a row of late, but have responded by winning two of their last three, mostly recent a 4-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens.
Nonetheless, they seem cemented in that second spot in the Atlantic Division as they now sit nine points back of the Bruins for top spot, but 10 points ahead of the Maple Leafs for second, almost ensuring home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
These two clubs met on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, a game that was won by the Bruins by a 2-1 final, with Boston out-shooting the Bolts by a 35-21 count.
In fact, the Lightning were also held to just 23 shots against the Canadiens two nights later, but managed to score four times nonetheless.
They’ve been doing more scoring at home than on the road as they sit first with 3.85 goals per game at home but 10th with 3.09 goals per game on the road.
That road offense will remain without superstar Steven Stamkos for the remainder of the regular season and likely the first round of the playoffs as well due to core muscle surgery.
For some reason, the Lightning have also struggled mightily on the power play away from home, sitting 25th with a weak 15.4% clip.
The power play as been decent of late in going 3 for 8 over their last three games and 2 for 5 over their last two on the road.
They defend well on the road, however, as they rank seventh with 2.79 goals against per game on the road and 10th with an 81% mark on the penalty kill away from home as well.
Tampa also owns some strong possession numbers on the road, as well.
At 5v5 on the road, they rank 12th with a 49.53% Corsi For%, but also fourth with a 51.15% Scoring Chances For% and third with a 51.45% High-Danger Chances For%.
They’ve also received strong goaltending on the road where they’ve posted a .930 Sv% at 5v5, and tonight’s start will go to reigning Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy.
He hasn’t had the smoothest of seasons, but Vasilevskiy has been good on the road and good of late.
His splits are actually fairly even, but he’s posted a 2.58 GAA and .918 Sv% on the road where he’s gone 14-6-2 on the season.
Vasilevskiy also played well against the Bruins earlier in the year, earning a 3-2 win with 27 saves on 29 shots in Tampa back on December 12th after turning aside 34 of 37 shots in a 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins in Boston on October 17th.
All told, he owns a 2-1-0 record and a .931 Sv% against Boston in three starts against them this season.
The Bruins remain scorching hot.
Since January 21st, they have a six-game win streak, a five-game win streak, and they’ll enter this one riding a four-game win streak.
The consistent winning has them running away from the pack not only in the Atlantic Division but the Eastern Conference and remainder of the NHL as they look to ensure home ice advantage throughout the postseason.
While the Bruins are capable of scoring with the best of em’, it’s been their defense that has them winning all these games.
I mean, they’ve scored just two goals in each of their last two games but have won both of them by identical 2-1 scores.
They’ll enter this one ranked 10th with 3.38 goals per game at home, so they’re no offensive slouch, but they also sit fourth with just 2.32 goals against per game on home ice this season.
Their special teams are similar as they sit fifth with a 26.9% clip on the power play at home, but also fifth with an 85.4% mark on the penalty kill at home as well.
That penalty kill is a clean 11 for 11 over their last three games while their power play has scored in four of their last six games with a 26.7% mark over that time.
They’re no slouch in the possession game, either.
At 5v5 at home, the Bruins rank 14th with a 52.01% Corsi For%, 11th with a 52.80% Scoring Chances For% and 14th with a 53.51% High-Danger Chances For%.
Also helping their cause is the fact they rank fourth with a .937 Sv% at 5v5 at home between veteran netminder Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak while it will be Rask getting the nod in this one tonight.
Likely the front-runner to win this year’s Vezina Trophy, Rask has posted a stout 2.13 GAA and .928 Sv% on the season across his 39 starts, going 25-7-6 in the process.
He’s been slightly better at home where he’s worked to a 2.06 GAA and .930 Sv% on the season, going 14-1-6 in his 21 home starts.
After getting touched up by the Canucks and Flames in back-to-back starts in which he allowed 10 goals and posted an .825 Sv%, he’s turned in a .978 Sv% over his last two starts and also owns a shutout in that time.
He’s made two starts against the Lightning this season, allowing three goals each time while going 0-1-1 with a .910 Sv% between those games.
It’s a battle of the titans in Beantown tonight and this one shouldn’t be short on entertainment value.
In terms of betting value, there’s a case to be made for just about every angle here.
Given the white-hot goaltending and top-10 defenses on both ends, the under 5.5 could be considered, but on the other hand we have two potent offenses, so the over 5.5 at +105 doesn’t look terrible, either.
The Bruins as -133 home favorites is something you don’t see often and for a team that’s only had four losses since the third week of January, that doesn’t look too bad.
That said, I am going to take a stab here with the Lighting as +120 road dogs.
For one, they’re coming off a confidence-building shutout win after losing five of their previous six games.
Second, I feel like they’ll bring a big effort in this one knowing they’ll need to without the services of Stamkos, and while his absence isn’t helping their cause, this team remains among the deepest in the NHL.
Vasilevskiy has brought his A-game in each of the last two games, and as long as he does in this one as well, he’ll certainly give the Lightning a chance to win and capitalize on odds we rarely see them at, as well.
The Lightning have also played well against the B’s this season.
Finally, while the Bruins are an impressive 23-3-9 at home, that also means they’ve lost 12 home games this season. Meanwhile the Lightning are 20-10-3 on the road, meaning they’ve lost just 13 road games this season, albeit in three fewer games.
I’m comfortable taking the road dogs here despite taking on the powerhouse Bruins in Boston.