The NHL’s Boston Bruins are 29-17-4, good for 4th place in the Atlantic Division, and riding a 2-game winning streak. The New York Rangers are at .500 (well below par in National Hockey League terms) and struggling to stay out of last place in the Metropolitan Division. New York has also lost 2 in a row.
Those facts haven’t stopped Las Vegas from putting fairly tight lines on Wednesday night’s meeting between the clubs at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins are (-141) favorites (approximately 5/7 in London terms) while the Rangers are only (+128) underdogs in a face-off with a (6) O/U total.
The game is scheduled to begin at 8 PM EST.
Looking Just Fine vs New York Clubs
The Islanders were looking like the next team on a hot streak until they ran into the Bruins on Tuesday night. Peter Cehlarik scored his 3rd goal of the season to give Beantown a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period, followed by an empty-net tally from prolific goal-scorer Patrice Bergeron to seal the deal.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask improved to 16-12 on the year with the victory. However, the Finnish netminder is likely to make way for Jaroslav Halak, another European goalie, for the 2nd of back-to-back road games. Halak has an excellent lifetime record of 18-8 against the Rangers, but his road record this season leaves something to be deserved at 4-8 with a .913 save percentage.
Let’s start with the good news – Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad scored their 24th and 21st goals of the season against the last-place L.A; Kings on Monday night. But the good news ends there – the Rangers lost to the woeful Kings in overtime.
It was a classic example of a floundering team playing down to the level of its opposition. New York played impressively in a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday, out-shooting the powerful Lightning 33-23 and taking only a single minor penalty. But Henrik Lundqvist did not have his best game, and followed by giving up 4 goals on 30 shots to Ilya Kovalchuk and the Kings. Alternate GK Alexandar Georgiev is likely to start vs Boston.
Rangers vs Bruins: Handicap and Best Bet
In a battle of backup goaltenders it will be down to the defensemen to provide puck-clearance and checking support in the slot area. Ageless giant Zdeno Chara will come in handy, as will Boston’s big D-men who are still in the under-40 club…Kevan Miller and John Moore.
Halak has had some tough luck on the road and is due for a nice win behind a club that can smell a postseason bid and wants to play well for the Slovak veteran.
We’re liking Boston on the moneyline, but the Over (6) could also have value given the backup goaltenders who are likely to start on Wednesday night.
Photo from YouTube.