NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

Big battle in the NHL Eastern Conference on Monday Night as the Pittsburgh Penguins look to regain some momentum as they head to the TD Garden to take on the red hot Boston Bruins. The Bruins are currently in first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 10-1-2 for 22 points. That’s the second best mark in the Eastern Conference and the entire NHL but they’ve got plenty of company, most urgently being the Buffalo Sabres who are just 2 points back in their division. The Penguins aren’t having a bad season and if the season ended today they’d be the top wild card in the East. They’re 8-5-1 for 17 points and that ties them with the Toronto Maple Leafs (who have the #2 wildcard spot currently) and puts them 1 point up on the Montreal Canadiens.

Pittsburgh is coming off of a hard fought 2-1 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers which broke a 2 game winning streak. They’ve really been up and down this season–in early October they went on a 5 game winning streak followed by a 3 game losing streak. They come into this game having lost 4 of their last 6, all to top flight opposition (Edmonton, Florida, Tampa Bay and Vegas). The Penguins’ offense is doing it’s job this season ranked #10 in goals per game (3.36) and the defense has been pretty solid as well. They’re currently tied for the #4 scoring defense in the league giving up just 2.36 goals per game.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Boston is better in just about every phase of the game. The Bruins have the stingiest defense in hockey giving up just 2.00 goals per game. Making them even tougher, they’ve got the #6 scoring offense putting up 3.54 goals per game. That gives them a 1.54 goals for/goals against differential which is the best in the NHL. Bruins have a huge special teams edge–Boston leads the NHL on the power play scoring on 32.6% of man advantage opportunities. Pittsburgh’s power play is mired in 24th place connecting at a 14.3% rate. The Penguins have been significantly more effective on the penalty kill–they’ve killed off 85.3% of opponent power plays good for #9 in the league. Once again, however, Boston has a better unit tied for #6 with a 85.7% mark.

In recent years, this series has been dominated by the home team. Over the past three seasons the Bruins and Penguins have split 6 games with each winning 3 on their home ice. That trend goes back quite some time with the Bruins winning 29 of the last 43 meetings at the TD Garden. Overall, the Penguins have lost -28 units for bettors over the past 3 seasons while the Bruins have made +12.3 units. That further validates our take on this matchup–Boston should be a higher priced favorite than they are.


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