The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks complete the back half of a home-and-home on Sunday on NBC. The Bruins are in second place in the Atlantic Division and a serious Stanley Cup contender, while the Blackhawks are almost assuredly going to miss the playoffs for the first time under head coach Joel Quenneville. The teams have split their last ten meetings in Chicago. The Bruins should be listed as small road favorites in this contest. Let’s look at this matinee and NHL picks.
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This is definitely a weird situation for these teams, as rarely do teams from opposite conferences play a home-and-home. Not only is it a home-and-home, but both games are matinees and it is being played with no rest. The Bruins are 18-12 on the road this season, with 14 games going over the total, 15 going under, with one push. They are scoring 3.3 goals per game and giving up 2.5 per contest.
The Bruins are getting strong play on defense, even without Charlie McAvoy out of the lineup due to injury. Torey Krug has been scoring a lot of goals lately. He had two goals and two assists in Boston’s 6-5 win on Tuesday against Detroit. Krug has 13 goals and 36 assists this season. He has six goals and 12 assists in his last 15 games. “Torey is a good shooter, (and) the puck is finding the back of the net,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. Krug has had to carry more of the load with McAvoy out and McAvoy is not expected to return until the playoffs.
Chicago was 16-17 in their first 33 home games, with just 10 games going over, 22 going under the total, with one push. They are scoring 2.8 goals per game and giving up 2.9 goals per contest.
The Bruins have been solid on special teams this season, as they rank 10th on the power play at just over 21%, and they are 6th in penalty killing at about 83%. The Blackhawks have been a poor team on the power play at just 28th in the league at about 15%, while they are 11th in penalty killing at 82%. Boston should have a solid edge in this game in terms of special teams.
Chicago has won six of the last ten meetings in this series, with the last two going under the total. The teams have split their last ten in Chicago, with Boston taking two of the last three. Six of the last ten in Chicago have gone under the total.
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This is the second half of a home-and-home and the Bruins should be favored, even on the road. It is always tricky with a home-and-home, so we have to consider how each team does playing with no rest. The Bruins have won six of their last ten games playing with no rest, with six of the ten going over the total. The Blackhawks have been awful playing with no rest, as they are just 2-8 in their last 10 in that situation. Three of the last four have gone over the total. Based on how each team does playing with no rest, there is definitely an advantage for the Bruins. I will lay the small price and take Boston on Sunday afternoon. There could be some value on the total as well, as the Blackhawks have been going under the total at home on a regular basis. I will also take this game under the total.
NHL Odds: Bruins 3, Blackhawks 1
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