Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins
Have the Bruins awoken from their hibernation? It certainly seems that way with five big wins in a row to force their way back into a playoff spot and suddenly the Atlantic lead doesn't seem to far off either. Columbus are going in the opposite direction and the 2-1 loss to the NY Rangers last night made it four straight defeats, they'd do well to arrest the slide before the break for the All-Star game that they are hosting.
Poor play in the key moments has often left the Jackets found wanting with only Buffalo and Arizona allowing more third period goals, turning a 2-0 lead with ten minutes to go into a 3-2 loss was their party trick against Montreal on Wednesday. 18 year old rookie David Pastrnak has provided a nice shot in the arm to Boston's offence fitting nicely onto the top line alongside the in form David Krejci and Milan Lucic. More noticeable has been the defensive improvement, through seven outings in 2015 they've conceded just ten times and even though his own performance hasn't necessarily been up to his usual standards Tuukka Rask hasn't lost in regulation since December 19th.
Take Boston over the -1.5 handicap at 2.33.
Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings
Showdown number three for the season between these West Coast powerhouses with an overtime win each back in November. I think the Ducks can bust out a road win tonight because after months of narrow victories they've got a mostly clean injury slate and have steamrollered Toronto and New Jersey in the last few days. Corey Perry has been one of those key players often unavailable to Bruce Boudreau and the winger's four tallies in those two tilts give him the best goals per game ratio in the league so he's obviously an X-factor to their offence.
LA look vulnerable too and lost out to those same Devils on Wednesday after a four goal second period capitulation, already five games into a homestand only one win has been secured leaving the gap to Anaheim at 14 points. It's hard to argue against the Kings playing solid possession hockey and spending limited time in their own zone but clearly they're giving up a few too many good looks to opposing shooters. Anaheim do have the physicality to pin them in deep and at least during the regular season have the overall edge in the recent head to heads so I'm backing them for the two points tonight.
Best Bet: Anaheim Ducks to win at 2.90.