NHL Betting: Take Boston to overcome both Tampa Bay and the handicap

Tampa Bay - Boston

Steven Stamkos' big return to action from a broken leg was perhaps bittersweet knowing he wouldn't be along Martin St Louis, but the bigger picture is a tough spell for the Bolts as they dropped a third consecutive game against lowly Buffalo on their new captain's comeback night Thursday.

Boston are in a reverse of that run after stomping over the NY Rangers, Florida and Washington in the past week, Tampa's faltering along with their domination of intra-conference matchups has allowed the Bruins to open up a commanding lead in the Atlantic.

In fact it's 3-0 Boston in the season series and 11-1 in terms of goals, admittedly the last of those victories was back in November but that still provides a significant psychological boost.

Tampa's major trade pickup Ryan Callahan skated alongside Valtteri Filppula on the second line on his debut and has the potential to make a power forward's impact for his new team, when compared to St Louis however given his poor scoring form as well as the negative impact of their former captain's departure it's definitely a loss.

Even though they are on the road I expected Boston to be shorter than 2.35, I'll take them over the handicap considering the relative form of the two teams.


Nashville - Columbus

Three home defeats through the week in which they failed to score more than one goal in any of those games have Bridgestone Arena fans very deflated for the visit of another form side, Nashville's season is slipping away even with goalie Pekka Rinne finally back in action.

Franchise leading scorer David Legwand was also traded earlier in the week to further reduce Barry Trotz's offensive options, in truth that's a perfect illustration of the belief the Preds won't be qualifying for the playoffs even though what they received has solid upside it doesn't help them at this moment in time.

Columbus meanwhile are well equipped to score without Marian Gaborik, they'd won three straight before running into Chicago and that result can easily be discounted. Take the Blue Jackets to get through at 2.60.

Best Bet: Boston Bruins to overcome -1.5 goal handicap at 3.40