Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins - 1/7/15 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Boston Bruins (19-15-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (24-10-5)
NHL Hockey: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 8:00 pm (Consol Energy Centre)
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -165 / Boston Bruins +140 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
At 19-15-6 the Boston Bruins might not be one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League, but if you’re affiliated with this club in any way or a fan of the team it certainly feels like they are. Boston has been one of the elite teams in the league over the last several years, especially in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve set a standard for themselves that is extremely high. This year they look like a shell of themselves and it has been that way all year long. Many people point to the move made by general manager Peter Chiarelli before the season started that sent defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders in a salary cap dump. Boston has gotten themselves into cap trouble by doing everything in their power to keep the key components to a roster that has been to multiple Stanley Cups of late. Losing Boychuk the player was bad enough, but what he brought to that locker room was even harder to replace. Add in the fact that it came right before the season kicked off and that the Bruins lost defenseman Zdeno Chara for a lengthy period due to injury and the Bruins have just been a mess. There’s no better example than Sunday afternoon’s lackluster performance in Carolina against the lowly Hurricanes. Carolina out skated the Bruins from the drop of the puck, out shooting Boston 14-4 in a first period that saw the Hurricanes grab a late 1-0 lead. Boston rebounded enough in the second period to draw the equalizer on Patrice Bergeron’s eighth goal of the season but then were dominated again in the third. Boston was out shot 9-2 over the final 20 minutes and 36-20 for the game. The B’s eventually lost in the shootout as all three Bruins failed to score before Eric Staal won it for the Hurricanes on Carolina’s final shot. Now the Bruins need to bounce back for Wednesday’s match against a Pittsburgh Penguins team that has had some struggles of their own recently.
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Pittsburgh comes into the contest still sitting in first place in the Metropolitan Division standings but they’ve lost five of their last seven games overall. The Penguins snapped a four game losing streak with consecutive wins over the Hurricanes and Lightning but on Saturday night they were clearly out matched on home ice by the Montreal Canadiens. David Perron scored for the second time as a Penguin midway through the first period but at that point the Canadiens already held a 2-0 advantage and had control of the hockey game. For the rest of the night the Penguins struggled to generate quality chances and when they did they were frustrated by Carey Price. The addition of Perron to the lineup gives the Penguins a much needed weapon and he appears to adjusting just fine to playing alongside Sidney Crosby, but the Penguins are still going to have to add more depth to this roster if they want to make a serious run come April. We’ve seen it time and time again with the Penguins and even in a meaningless January game it’s hard not to take something from them being frustrated by a team like the Canadiens. Boston has been down this season but they’re the type of club that could give the Penguins fits in the past so it will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh plays in this one.
The Penguins are heavy favorites in this one and while I don’t think they should be this heavy it’s really hard to trust the Bruins with they way they’re playing hockey right now.