Bruins at Devils Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/10/2013
Are we witnessing the final games in the career of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur? The Devils legend will turn 41 next month, and he's still been very good when healthy this season with a 10-5-7 record, 2.18 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. However, the Devils have lost seven in a row for the first time in 27 years to drop to a tie for No. 9 in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Rangers and Islanders. You certainly can't blame Brodeur even though he has been the losing goalie of record in all seven. He has allowed more than three goals just once in those games. But maybe it's time for the Devils to finally look to the future in net if they miss the playoffs for only the third time since the 1989-90 season.
The Bruins, meanwhile, will certainly be a playoff team, but they believe they can catch Pittsburgh for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The B's are currently No. 4 in the East with 54 points, four behind the Pens. Boston has to concern itself with catching Northeast Division-leading Montreal first, which has a one-point lead entering Tuesday's action. The winner of that division is all but assured of no worse than the No. 2 seed in the East and the chance to avoid Pittsburgh until the conference finals.
New Jersey is +2000 to win the East for the second year in a row at BetOnline, while Boston is +370, behind only the Pens (+160).
Bruins at Devils Betting Story Lines
Boston beat sliding Carolina 6-2 on Monday for its fourth win in its past five and a season high in goals. Brad Marchand had two goals and Tuukka Rask stopped 40 shots. Coach Claude Julien unveiled a new second line for that game, sticking new acquisition Jaromir Jagr along with Marchand and Gregory Campbell. Jagr assisted on both Marchand goals and has a goal and two assists in three games since being acquired from Dallas. Julien dropped Tyler Seguin from the second line to the third, moving Campbell up to center the second. Campbell also had two assists.
The Bruins did welcome back center Chris Kelly on Monday. He had been out with a broken left tibia since March 11. He has six points this season but is good on faceoffs. Kelly skated on the third line with Seguin and Daniel Paille. Boston has played the past two games without top line center Patrice Bergeron. He's out indefinitely with a concussion.
New Jersey's season went in the tank when sniper Ilya Kovalchuk went down with a shoulder injury. He had 10 goals and 17 assists before the injury. The Russian did skate at full speed Tuesday at practice but wasn't involved in any contact. He remains out indefinitely. At 25:13 of ice time per game, Kovalchuk is the only forward among the NHL's Top 50 in that stat. He leads the NHL with four short-handed goals. The Devils lead the NHL with 10 short-handed goals.
The Devils were 15-11-6 in the final game Kovalchuk played and are now 15-14-10. Yep, that's the seven-game winless streak. New Jersey enters this one off a 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo on Sunday -- the fourth defeat in this skid in overtime or a shootout. New Jersey is 2-7 in shootouts this year. The Devils are 28th in the league in goals per game and have scored more than twice once in the streak. Steve Sullivan, a Trade Deadline acquisition from Phoenix, scored on Sunday. It was the veteran's first goal for New Jersey since Feb. 15, 1997, a span of 16 years and 51 days.
Bruins at Devils NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Boston has been opened at -142 and New Jersey +129 with the total at 5. Boston is 12-23-3 “over/under” (5-13-2 on road) and has lost three of its past five as a road favorite. New Jersey is 15-7-7 over/under (7-10-2 at home) and has lost five straight as a dog.
The Bruins are 9-2 in their past 11 when their opponent scores two goals or less in their previous game. The Bruins are 1-4 in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Boston is 2-6 in its past eight road games overall. The Devils are 1-4 in their last five home games vs. a team with a winning road record. New Jersey is 3-13 in its past 16 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game. The under is 7-0 in the Bruins' last seven after scoring five goals or more in their previous game. The under is 4-0-1 in New Jersey's past five home games. The Bruins have won 10 of the past 11 meetings. The under is 1-0-3 in the past four in New Jersey.
Bruins at Devils Picks and Betting Predictions
The Bruins are winning, but most nights it's because Rask is standing on his head. Boston has allowed at least 40 shots on goal in three of the past four games. Rask was my Vezina Trophy pick before the year, and he's the favorite at 17-6-4 with a 1.95 GAA and .928 save percentage. Rask has started twice vs. the Devils, winning both and stopping 65 of 66 shots. Boston has won both games vs. New Jersey by a single goal. Jagr scored in his Boston debut on April 4 in Beantown a 1-0 win.
I usually lean toward the more desperate team, especially if it's at home. But where will the Devils offense come from? About the only way they win this one is if it's 1-0 or maybe 2-1. So take Boston and the under. However, if Rask gets a night off I'd lean Devils. The Bruins do play again Thursday at home, so it's possible Rask sits out. The last time Rask started three straight games (which he has currently), he sat the next one.
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