The Pittsburgh Penguins arrive in Boston on a four-game winning streak and have accumulated points in five of their past six contests (5-0-1). Meanwhile, the Bruins continue their season-long seven-game homestand coming off a split with New Jersey and look to put even more distance between themselves and fifth-place Philadelphia in the race for the final playoff spot in the East division.
Let’s take a look at this East Division matchup from a betting perspective in our Penguins vs. Bruins betting preview with odds, picks and predictions.
Penguins vs. Bruins Betting Pick
The Penguins are rolling right now and doing it with a bevy of injuries. They’ve been without Evgeni Malkin, Kasperi Kapanen, Brandon Tanev, and Teddy Blueger for multiple games. Now, starting goalie Tristan Jarry is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
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Tanev could return tonight, but the Penguins must lean on backup goalie Casey DeSmith to slow down a Boston offense that (aside from a shutout loss to New Jersey last Sunday) has scored 11 total goals in their three other games since having a week off thanks to COVID-19 rescheduling.
The Bruins have been without forwards Sean Kuraly and Jacob DeBrusk because of the NHL’s COVID protocol and although Kuraly returned to practice Wednesday, he’s likely not ready to return to game action. The absence means the Bruins continue to have forward depth issues.
Starting goalie Tuukka Rask also remains out of action. Rookie Dan Vladar will make his third start this season. Vladar allowed just one goal and beat the Penguins on March 17.
Penguins vs. Bruins Odds
Here are the lines for Penguins vs. Bruins at DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: Penguins (+1.5 -240); Bruins (-1.5 +195)
Moneyline: Penguins (+107); Bruins (-124)
Over/Under: Over 5.5 (+100)/Under 5.5 (-121)
Bets We Like With a Penguins Win
Bryan Rust OVER 0.5 Goals (+220, FanDuel)
Rust is a streaky scorer, no doubt, and his goals often come in bunches, as evidenced by his hat trick last Saturday in Pittsburgh’s win over the Islanders. But if the Penguins are going to win a game, it’s a good bet to count on Rust for a tally.
The Penguins are 10-0-0 this season when Rust scores a goal, and just 13-11-2 when he doesn’t. In fact, the last time he scored and the Penguins lost was Feb. 26, 2020. It’s not definite that he scores, but the value is there to bet that he does (more than double your money), especially if you believe the Penguins are going to win.
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Bets We Like With a Bruins Win
David Pastrnak 2+ Points (+150, DraftKings)
There’s no doubt Pastrnak is the Bruins’ best player and one of the best scorers in the NHL, but he has gone without a goal in his last four games (with just one assist) and only has two goals and five points in his last eight contests.
As a result, head coach Bruce Cassidy called him out after practice Wednesday and said his star player needs to “get a little dirtier,” and get to the net.
When a coach challenges a star, the star often responds. If the Bruins are going to win the game, it’s likely Pastrnak will answer the bell. To get such good value for a two-point game, this is a worthwhile bet.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Boston to win and OVER 5.5 Goals (+240, DraftKings)
The Penguins have to slow down at some point, and going on the road against a tough opponent and being forced to use a backup goalie seems to be the right time for it to happen.
Not to mention, the Bruins are motivated to get some breathing room in the playoff race, and they have a superstar ready to break out after being challenged by his coach. While Vladaar has been good (1.50 GAA in his two starts), the Penguins scored 17 goals in the last four games, so expect this one to be a little more wide open.
Penguins vs. Bruins Prediction
Depending on how things play out over the final six weeks of the NHL season, this could be a playoff preview.
Boston has won three of the four meetings this season. The two teams will play four more times this month, which should make these clubs very familiar with one another.
Tonight, it could be a shooting gallery with two teams that know how to put the puck in the net, but the game means a bit more to Boston than it does Pittsburgh. So, on this night, the Bruins prevail, 4-3.
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