It’s almost playoff time folks, and with so few games to go in the regular season there are some playoff matches that are being set in stone. One of those matches involves the Pittsburgh Penguins who will most likely face their Pennsylvania rivals in the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs, and if Sunday afternoon’s fight-filled game was any indication, it should be a dandy. But for tonight’s game, the Penguins will travel to Boston to do battle with another Eastern Conference powerhouse.
Last night I took a night off betting on hockey as there were only two games on the schedule and I didn’t find any value in either of the lines. Instead I played online poker real money games at PokerStars while watching some sports and ended up cashing in a bit of money. On to tonight’s pick…
NHL Pick for April 3rd
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins
Like mentioned above, the Penguins are coming off a playoff-type game against the Flyers on Sunday in which they came out on the wrong end of a 6-4 decision. Thing aren’t likely to get much easier for the star studded Penguins tonight as they will head to the TD Garden in Boston to do battle with another of the league’s rougher teams in the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are coming off of an impressive victory over the East-leading New York Rangers on Sunday night, one that could give the B’s some momentum heading into tonight’s game and more importantly the playoffs. Not only is it Sunday’s win that is propelling the Bruins going into tonight’s game, they are 7-1-1 in their last 9 contests and have given up only 16 goals over that span. Tim Thomas has been sensational once again for Boston as he is 5-1-1 in his last 7 games and has played in 18 of Boston’s last 19 games overall. He has raised his save percentage to .921 on the year and boasts a 2.35 goals against average to boot. The Bruins have a defense that ranks 5th in the league on home ice, surrendering just 2.2 goals per game at the TD Garden, however they will face the league’s 3rd best road offense, tallying 3.2 goals per game away from Pittsburgh. There are quite a few players on each side tonight who hold a hot hand. Of course Evgeni Malkin’s successful season has been well documented, and Sidney Crosby’s return has made the Penguins a Stanley Cup contender, but there are several others in this game tonight who are contributing significantly to their respective teams success. For the Penguins, Steve Sullivan has tallied 5 points over his last 2 games, Pascal Dupuis has 4 points over that span, and Chris Kunitz has totalled 8 points in his last 8 games. For the Bruins, Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand each have 4 points over their last 2 games, and Zdeno Chara is on a 4 game points streak, tallying 7 points over that stretch. With all the firepower involved in tonight’s game, it could very well come down to who gets the better goaltending. Judging by his recent success, there is a chance for Tim Thomas to shine tonight against one of the league’s best. As mentioned earlier, Thomas has been fantastic for Boston lately, while Marc-Andre Fleury has been sub-par for the Pens, leading to some starts from their number 2 and 3 goalies over the last few games. Fleury is 0-3-0 with a 5.32 goals against average and a .788 save percentage over his last 3 games played. He will be attempting to equal Tom Barrasso’s franchise record of 226 wins as a Penguin tonight, but that task may prove to be severely difficult. The Bruins are the league’s 2nd ranked offense overall and 5th ranked home offense, tallying 3.3 goals per game at the TD Garden. It is extremely rare to see Boston as a home underdog, so let’s go ahead and take the Bruins tonight at a special price.
My Pick – BRUINS +110 (bet it at www.5dimes.com and get $520 FREE)