NHL Odds: Bruins finish road trip at Penguins
By: Joe Freda
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Sidney Crosby is expected to be out of action at least one more week.
The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins have both struggled in their last five games, going 1-1-3 (5 points) and 1-2-2 (4 points), respectively. Monday’s league slate has the Eastern Conference rivals clashing, with the Bruins completing a two-game road trip at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center.
Boston has been idle for one day since Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss as a 101 road dog against the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins blew a 2-0 lead, with Montreal scoring twice in the last 2:22 of regulation. Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty then poked a 39-foot wristshot past Bruins goalie Tim Thomas in the extra stanza, ending the contest.
Thomas stopped 39-of-42 shots, allowing 3-of-23 to connect in the final 23:43 of play. The Michigan native’s setback dropped his record to 18-4-6 (42 points) with a 1.84 GAA.
Boston center Patrice Bergeron notched both of his squad’s goals during the second period. The 25-year-old struggled in the faceoff circle, winning only 7-of-23 draws.
The battle’s combined five goals ‘pushed’ the ‘total’ of five, bringing the ‘under’ to 3-1-1 in the Bruins’ last five games. Boston finished with 29 SOG, while going 0-for-3 with its power plays.
Bergeron and Co. dipped to 12-5-4 (28 points) in their first 21 road games, with the ‘under’ cashing at 9-6-6. Boston has allowed 35.6 SOG per game in that span, while killing 83.1 percent of its shorthanded stints.
Pittsburgh suffered its second straight defeat in Saturday’s 4-0 loss as a 187 home favorite against the Minnesota Wild. The Penguins were outshot, 37-26, while being outdrawn in faceoffs, 38-20.
Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33-of-36 shots, with Minnesota’s final goal being an empty net strike. The 26-year-old’s season mark moved to 18-10-2 (38 points) with a 2.29 GAA.
Pittsburgh played without its league-leading scorer Sidney Crosby (66 points), who missed the duel with a concussion. The Nova Scotia native is expected to miss a week of action, according to DonBest.com’s NHL injury page.
The lopsided shutout’s four goals ducked below the ‘total’ of five, making the ‘under’ 6-2 in Pittsburgh’s last eight contests. Both squads united to go 0-for-9 on power plays.
Pittsburgh is 14-8-1 (29 points) in its first 23 home dates, with the ‘under’ collecting at 13-9-1. Dan Bylsma’s crew has notched 32.9 SOG per game in that stretch, scoring on 17.2 percent of its power plays.
The Penguins are 3-2 in their last five home games against the Bruins, with the ‘over’ going 4-1.
Boston won its Nov. 10 trip to Pittsburgh, 7-4, as a 120 underdog. The Bruins scored five unanswered goals in the third period, with right wing Mark Recchi logging two assists in that span. Crosby finished with a team-high three points for the Penguins, while his mates Kristopher Letang and Evgeni Malkin notched two assists each.
Monday’s rematch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (PT), with Versus providing the national television coverage.
Boston is playing the front end of a back-to-back spot, returning home for Tuesday’s matchup against the Ottawa Senators. Pittsburgh will be idle for one day, visiting Montreal as part of Wednesday’s league schedule.