Little has changed in the East since June for Boston and Pittsburgh, with the two 2013 Eastern Conference finalists both competing hard for the lead.
The Penguins would love to extend their five game streak, as well as further banish the members of that 4-0 series drubbing in the play-offs. Whilst some have come against lower opposition, the 5-1 routing of San Jose was undeniably impressive.
It's 11 games since the Bruins last lost in regulation at TD Garden and nine of those have been victories. It's an arena where you have to scrap for everything, as the Pens managed to their credit on November 25th when Sidney Crosby tied the game in the final second.
Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis' absences will mean Dan Bylsma will have to juggle his lines a little. It's a shame, particularly for Malkin, who had been in scorching form before his "lower body" injury. They'll need all the firepower they can muster or another top effort from Marc-Andre Fleury to get something here. Take the Bruins to stay on top of this developing rivalry at 2.20.
Washington versus Nashville might look a simple one on paper but Verizon Center has yielded only one win in five for the Capitals. In addition, the Predators have taken the last three away.
Somehow Nashville will have to dig deep to find that spark again, as five goals from a four game home stand isn't going to get you anywhere. This is especially true without Pekka Rinne to haul them through low scoring affairs, as proved by them only taking one point from that stretch.
Alex Ovechkin's 21 goals are good for most in the league and also constitute marginally over a quarter of the Capitals' total tallies. There's been a noticeable shift from the stream of power-play goals drying up to a greater effectiveness at even strength.
Washington really should be stamping their authority on this one and I'd back them to seal it by a clear margin so have a look at the -1.5 handicap at 2.70.
Washington Capitals to overcome a -1.5 handicap at 2.70
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