Two of the leagues best at converting on the power play, the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins meet at PPG Paints Arena in an Eastern Conference tilt. NBC Sports Network will air the matchup, and the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 7.
Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins Odds
Boston is 23-16 straight up (SU) and has earned 1.9 units for moneyline bettors this season. Through 39 regular season contests, 20 of its games have gone under the total, while 17 have gone over and just one has pushed. The Bruins are 9-8 SU on the road in 2017-18.
Boston has converted on 21.1 percent of its power play chances this season, a mark that places them in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, it has the fifth-best penalty kill in the league, and the teams successfully killed off 84.2 percent of its penalties.
Boston, as a collective unit, has been penalized 4.1 times per game overall this season, and 3.4 per game over its last five road outings. The teams had to kill penalties just 8.0 minutes per contest over their last five road games.
Averaging 25.0 saves per game with a .925 save percentage, Tuukka Rask (14-12-3) has been the best option in goal for Boston this season. If Boston chooses to rest him, however, head coach Bruce Cassidy might turn to Anton Khudobin (9-6-3), who has a .925 save percentage and 2.37 goals against average this year.
David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand will both spearhead the attack for the visiting Bruins. Pastrnak has 38 points on 16 goals and 22 assists, and has recorded multiple points in nine different games. Marchand has 16 goals and 22 assists to his name (and has notched at least one point in 21 games).
On the other side of the rink, Pittsburgh is 21-22 straight up (SU) and has lost 8.4 units for moneyline bettors thus far. Through 43 regular season outings, 21 of its games have gone over the total, while 20 have gone under and just two have pushed. The team is 12-8 SU at home this season.
Pittsburgh comes into the matchup with the first-best power-play unit in the NHL, as the team has converted on 25.8 percent of its extra-man chances this year. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 11th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 82.1 percent of all penalties.
Pittsburgh skaters have been called for penalties 4.2 times per game in total this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five match ups. The team has been forced to stave off opponent power plays just 8.1 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
Matt Murray has stopped 25.3 shots per game as the top netminder in goal for Pittsburgh. Murray has 16 wins, 14 losses, and one OT loss to his name and has registered a pedestrian 2.97 goals against average and a subpar .902 save percentage this season.
Phil Kessel (17 goals, 28 assists) will pace the offensive attack for Pittsburgh.
Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins Free Picks
Predictions: SU Winner – Bruins, O/U – Over
- The total has gone under in four of Pittsburgh’s last five outings.
- The Penguins are 9-10 SU when they serve more penalty minutes than their opponent while the Bruins are 10-4 SU in games where they spend more time in the box than their opponent.
- Two of Boston’s last ten games have been decided by a shootout. The team is 1-1 in those games and 2-2 overall in shootouts this season.
- Pittsburgh skaters have averaged 7.4 takeaways per game over its last five home games, an improvement over its season average of 6.3 takeaways per game (ranked 25th in the NHL).
- Boston has averaged 3.2 goals per game overall this season, but has upped it to 5.7 per match up in their last three games (the teams a perfect 3-0 SU during that span),
- Boston is ranked sixth this season with 9.7 takeaways per game. That figure has trended lower, however, as the team has managed 9.2 takeaways over its last 10 games and 7.8 takeaways over its last five.