After winning the first two of a three-game series, the Boston Bruins will look to complete the sweep against the struggling Buffalo Sabres on Friday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
Game one on Tuesday night was Tuukka Rask’s first shutout of the season and a 2-0 Bruins win. Thursday night saw Boston find its offense on the way to a 5-1 victory.
The win Thursday night saw the Bruins climb to 60 points in the standings. The have won six in a row and currently sit fourth in the tightly contested East Division but are now only four points behind the division-leading Washington Capitals.
The NHL odds have the Bruins moneyline set at a staggering -340, with the Sabres listed at +280. While the overall over/under team total is set at 5½ goals favoring the over in this matchup.
Season Series to Date
Friday’s game between the two teams will be the sixth time they have faced off this year. Boston has dominated the series, winning all previous five games.
From an over/under perspective, four of the five games have gone under 5.5 goals, while Thursday’s 5-1 Bruins win has been the lone game to go over 5.5. Of note: David Krejci scored for Boston with just under two minutes to play or it would have been five consecutive games under 5.5.
Boston Finding its Form Late
Only two weeks ago, Boston Bruins fans were concerned about the New York Rangers catching them for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East. Six consecutive wins later, and now it’s the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and Capitals who are all looking over their shoulders at the suddenly surging Bruins.
On April 11, the Capitals embarrassed the Bruins 8-1. In the six games since that loss, the Bruins are 6-0 and have allowed a total of seven goals.
Getting Tuukka Rask back from injury recently is certainly a big part of the reason Boston has been better at keeping pucks out of its net. The veteran netminder has allowed a total of four goals in the three games he has played since his return, including his 2-0 shutout in Buffalo on Tuesday.
Boston has averaged 2.84 goals per game. The Bruins acquired Taylor Hall from the Sabres at the trade deadline, and he has helped offensively with five points in his six games with the team.
Defensively, Boston is giving up only 2.42 goals against per game. The always dependable Rask has a 2.22 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.
Hall and Oates Were Good. Can Hall and Krejci Be Better?
While Boston is surging up the standings, Buffalo is plummeting in the exact opposite direction. The Sabres have 31 points in their 47 games played. Their 12-28-7 overall record is good enough for last place in the entire NHL, and Sabres fans can focus on getting the right bounces from the draft lottery ping-pong balls in hopes of securing the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
With superstar Jack Eichel out for the remainder of the season and with Hall now a Bruin, Buffalo struggles to score goals. The Sabres are averaging 2.32 goals per game this year while giving up an average of 3.36. Buffalo has a goal differential of -49 in their 47 starts. That differential is just another category in which Buffalo, unfortunately, leads the league.
What to Look for Friday Night
On Tuesday night, Boston shut out the Sabres. On Thursday night, Boston scored five against Buffalo while only allowing the lone goal. I don’t see any reason to suggest Buffalo has figured out a way to score against Boston yet. When making your NHL bet, take the moneyline on the Bruins to do more of the same.
- The Pick: Boston Bruins -340