My recent stretch of winning NHL picks has hit a sizzling point after notching yet another winner last night in a matchup featuring the Senators and Hurricanes from Raleigh.
In fact, it wasn’t even close.
The Sens came in hot and the Hurricanes came in cold, but at the end of the day those factors worked in our favor in a matchup between one of the league’s worst road teams and a top-five home team. Carolina tallied a pair of first-period goals before scoring the next three goals of the game in the second period to build a 5-0 lead late into the second. The Senators got one back late, but Sebastian Aho scored just over a minute into the third and the Hurricanes would add to more in a 8-2 romp of the visiting Senators.
With the Hurricanes winning on the puckline, we notched a winner at attractive +103 odds to continue a hot stretch of picks.
Season Record: 18-9
Now let’s move onto the first of three free NHL picks I am releasing tonight featuring the Panthers vs. Bruins from the TD Garden in Boston!
Panthers vs. Bruins Betting Odds
- Panthers (+144)
- Bruins (-160)
- Over 6.5 (-101)
- Under 6.5 (-109)
Panthers vs. Bruins NHL Pick Breakdown
Let’s now break down both clubs before getting into the final pick!
Despite some issues on the back end early in the season, the Panthers have held their head above water in a difficult Atlantic Division.
At 8-4-5 through the club’s first 17 games, the Panthers sit fourth in the Atlantic and actually have a chance to leapfrog the Montreal Canadiens (vs. Columbus) and Toronto Maple Leafs (idle) and claim a stake on second spot in the division behind these Boston Bruins.
The Panthers have gotten here on offense. Their 3.53 goals per game this season are tied with the aforementioned Canadiens and Bruins for fourth-best in the NHL while their 3.36 goals per game on the road checks in at eighth league wide. The Panthers have actually outshot the opposition by an average of 4.6 shots per game on the road and their 29.5 shots against per game away from home ranks them third behind the Kings and Penguins who are tied with identical marks of 29.4.
The problem, however has been on the back end and more specifically, in goal. While they could certainly play better in front of him from a defensive standpoint, Sergei Bobrovsky’s young Panthers tenure has been just short of disastrous. The Panthers rank 22nd with 3.55 goals against per game on the road thanks in large part to the .880 Sv% they’ve received from their goaltenders on the road, a number that ranks 28th in the league.
Most of that is on Bobrovsky who has started 13 of the Panthers’ 17 games this season. In those games, he’s posted a 3.39 GAA and .884 Sv%. He owns a 3.29 GAA and .882 Sv% in seven road starts and eight road appearances on the season.
A silver lining here could be his work of late.
After posting a ghastly .873 Sv% in October, Bobrovsky owns a .921 mark in three November starts with a shutout and is coming off a 34-save effort against the Islanders in which he turned in a .944 Sv%.
Head coach Joel Quenneville is likely to keep running Bobrovsky out in hopes that the positive regression kicks in, and it appears Bobrovsky could be turning a corner with two excellent starts over his last three outings.
The Boston Bruins have been no joke at home.
They’ll enter this one sporting a near-perfect 7-0-2 mark at home this season compared to their 4-3-1 mark on the road.
While they’ve certainly been good at home, their play overall of late has regressed. The B’s enter this one having lost three in a row including a 3-2 shootout loss to the Flyers at home on Sunday. They loss followed an ugly 4-2 loss to the lowly Red Wings and a 5-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens – both coming on the road.
I mentioned in my winning pick of the Red Wing over the Bruins at +218 odds that I expected more regression from Tuukka Rask and that has indeed been the case. Rask – tonight’s confirmed starter for the Bruins – has allowed eight goals over his last two starts in which he’s posted an .871 Sv%. He posted a .951 Sv% in October and his .894 Sv% in November is only boosted by a 30-save outing over the lowly Ottawa Senators at home a couple of Saturday’s ago. He’s still been very good at home to the tune of a 1.32 GAA and .953 Sv% in six starts, however there’s just a ton of regression to be had in those numbers.
As noted above, the Bruins are tied with these Panthers for fourth in team offense and their 3.89 goals per game at home sits alongside the Capitals and Avalanche for fifth-best in the league. Where I expect most of the regression to take place is in their home defense – linked to Rask’s mention above – as they are allowing just 1.78 goals per game at home to this point. The Dallas Stars’ mark of 2.14 goals against per game at home last season was the best in the NHL and I would expect the Bruins to regress by roughly half a goal per game in this area moving forward.
Of course, the Bruins have dominated at home, but I’m not discounting this Panthers team in the least. They’ve been awesome on offense regardless of venue and it’s hard to fathom Bobrovsky not improving significantly towards career norms moving forward. The Panthers are the better possession team overall with a fourth-ranked 52.99% Corsi For% at 5v5 this season while the Panthers are the league’s second-ranked road possession club with a Corsi For% of 52.76% away from home. For good measure, the Bruins are a rather mediocre possession team at home with their 51.38% Corsi For% at 5v5 ranking 15th, yet they are undefeated in regulation at home. To me, that doesn’t add up.
Give me the road team as heavy underdogs to win this game over a Boston team that would appear due for regression on home ice.