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Pens, Bruins Could Be Ready to Light It Up

Sidney Crosby NHL Hockey Betting Preview Pittsburgh Penguins vs Boston Bruins

When the Boston Bruins reeled off eight straight wins in late November and early December, they looked completely unstoppable. But the seven weeks since have been a major eye-opener as the reeling Bruins look to stop the bleeding Thursday against Pittsburgh. Boston has just seven wins over its past 20 games and is in jeopardy of falling out of top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Boston Bruins

Opening Odds Analysis

The Bruins opened at -135, and the line hasn’t moved much in either direction at the majority of sportsbooks. The same is true of the game total, which is set at 6.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

Things just got a lot more interesting in the Metropolitan Division. Sidney Crosby made a triumphant return to action after missing 28 games with a core muscle injury, scoring once and adding three assists in Pittsburgh’s 7-3 win over Minnesota on Tuesday. The Penguins went 18-6-4 with Crosby sidelined, and are even better with him back as they chase Washington atop the division.

But while Crosby being back certainly helps the Penguins’ case Thursday night – as does the Bruins’ extended slump – the home team has dominated the recent head-to-head series between the teams. The hosts have won each of the previous 11 meetings in the series, with four of the last five victories coming by multiple goals – including a 6-4 Boston win in their last tilt on November 5.

Boston News & Notes

Boston’s lead atop the Atlantic Division is getting dangerously small, thanks in no small part to Tampa Bay’s incredible midseason surge. But the Bruins are just as culpable for their shrinking advantage – and their struggles reached a new level Monday when Brad Marchand whiffed on the puck at center ice in the shootout, handing the Philadelphia Flyers a stunning 6-5 victory.

And the news might have become even worse for a Boston team that relies heavily on its superb goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Rask suffered a concussion Tuesday night when he was elbowed in the head during a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets; it isn’t clear when he will be able to return to action.

Betting Pick: OVER

Pittsburgh’s offense is officially in overdrive – and with the Bruins likely forced to choose between starting Halak for the third time in four days or using an AHL call-up, Boston will need to be aggressive offensively to keep pace.

Shark Bites
  • Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 road games.
  • Boston is 3-7 SU in its past 10 home games.
  • The UNDER is 7-3 in Boston’s previous 10 games.