Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
5:05 PM EST. Regulation only. Both these squads played yesterday and both will play its third game in four days and tail end of back to backs. The difference is that Boston played in the early afternoon last yesterday while the ‘Canes played in the evening against Pittsburgh, although Carolina was at home and won’t have to travel, The Bruins will have to travel from Boston to Raleigh. In terms of fatigue, we’ll give the edge to the Bruins, as Carolina has to be tired of losing. That’s not the only difference between these two.
Carolina will conclude the last of its five-game homestand here before the four-day break. The ‘Canes have dropped three of those four home games thus far including the last two in a row to Detroit on Thursday, 4-1 and yesterday to Pittsburgh, 3-0. Carolina outshot Detroit 39-24 and outshot the Penguins 39-32. They were outscored in those two game, 7-1. Prior, the ‘Canes scored five times on Washington and lost 6-5 in OT after blowing a 4-1 lead and the game prior to that, they scored four times on the Habs ands lost 6-4. The Canes are the lowest scoring team in the Eastern Conference and the second lowest scoring team in the NHL so when they score four or more they’re supposed to win but their goaltending is so bad that they don’t. Most of the time, they’re scoring two or less and when that happens, they virtually have no chance because of said goaltending. As far as mindset goes, the Hurricanes have got to be one frustrated group of guys. They have been home for too long and probably cannot wait to get away from the rink and the game for a few days to regroup. Carolina is two points out of last place in the East and a team that is frustrated, can’t score and has weak goaltending is a pretty good fade target on the final day before the four-day Christmas break. Curtis McElhinney was in goal last night, so figure on Petr Mrazek here but it matters not.
Jaroslav Halak was in goal for Boston’s 5-2 win over Nashville yesterday so figure on Tuukka Rask today. Boston has won three in a row while outscoring the opposition over that span by a count of 12-3. In contrast to the Hurricanes, the Bruins are winning, they’re scoring, they’re getting great goaltending and they’re in a great frame of mind. Thus, in an evenly priced game, we have to ask which team has one more win in them before the break? Even if the B’s are flat, which we doubt because they rarely are, the goaltending mismatch gives them a great chance to win and if they’re not flat, they will win.
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Boston -½ +144 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.88)