It is the worst team in the Eastern Conference visiting the best, as the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the Boston Bruins. It’s time to continue our NHL odds series with a Blue Jackets-Bruins prediction, pick, and how to watch.
Columbus has been mired in disappointment this year. They are currently last in the NHL, with 53 points, have the second-worst record on the road, and the second-worst goal differential on the season. Tonight they face the best team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins. The two games in this series so far have both gone Boston’s way, with a 4-0 shutout win for Boston, followed by a 4-2 win. Boston is the best team in the NHL, has the best home record, and has the best goal differential in the NHL. This is the NHL though, and on any given night a team can take an inexplicable loss.
Here are the Blue Jackets-Bruins NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Blue Jackets-Bruins Odds
Columbus Blue Jackets: +1.5 (+152)
Boston Bruins: -1.5 (-184)
Over: 6.5 (-124)
Under: 6.5 (+102)
How To Watch Blue Jackets vs. Bruins
TV: NESN /Bally Sports Ohio/ ESPN+
Stream: NHLPP / ESPN+
Time: 7:00 PM ET/ 4:00 PM PT
*Watch NHL games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Blue Jackets Could Cover The Spread
In the NHL the Boston Bruins have two of the top five guys in terms of save percentage and goals against average. Linus Ullmark is the top guy in both categories, while Jeremy Swayman is third in goals-against average and fourth in save percentage. With Ullmark just facing Nashville, and Boston having alternated the guys recently, it is expected that Swayman will start. The man right ahead of Swayman in goals against average and just behind him in save percentage is Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders. What does he have to do with anything? The Blue Jackets just beat him. A repeat of the March 24th game against the Islanders is exactly what the Blue Jackets have to do to cover the spread, or even beat the Bruins.
First, the Bruins got good-enough goaltending in the game. Michael Hutchinson was not amazing, but he saves 34 of 38 shots, which was enough to get the win in Overtime. Hutchinson is expected to be the starter tonight and will need to be just as good, or better to win. Second, the Blue Jackets capitalized on the man advantage. They have four different power-play opportunities and scored on two of them. If they are going to beat the Bruins, this is a must. Third, they were efficient in their shots. While they only shot 27 times, they had their highest percentage of high-scoring opportunity shots on goal since January. They got into a good position and got the puck on the net.
Finally, the Blue Jackets may just need a little luck. The Bruins had a very down game against Nashville, struggling to score and Ullmark was not his normal nearly perfect self. If Swayman is a little off, maybe Columbus can get the upset.
Why The Bruins Could Cover The Spread
It is very rare for the Bruins to have two bad games in a row. Against Nashville, they managed to get 36 shots off. Poor shooting positions, combined with a good goal-tending performance from Nashville limited them to just one goal. They also went 0-5 on the power play. In the 16 games this year that they have had five or more power-play opportunities, they have scored in ten of them. Surprisingly enough, two of those six misses are in the last four games. They need to figure out the power play and get it back in the right direction consistently for the playoffs.
The Bruins typically bounce back from bad offensive showings though. They have scored one or fewer goals four times previous to the game against Nashville. They won all four of the following games and averaged 3.75 goals in those performances. Oddly enough, of the five times they have scored one or fewer goals, four of them have come at home, which is surprising for a team that is the best in the league at home this year.
Pastrnak had a good enough game for the Bruins, getting the only goal against Nashville and getting eight shots on goal, but the rest of the star scorers struggled as well. Bergeron, Krejci, and Marchand combined for only seven shots on goal, five missed shots, and three turnovers. It is rare for three of their top four players to have sub-par games at a time as well. The Bruins do not put up two stinkers in a row, and they will not do it tonight against a bad Blue Jackets team.
Final Blue Jackets-Bruins Prediction & Pick
Swayman will get the start for the Bruins and he has been very good in March. The last four games include two shutouts, and all four have save percentages over .919. He may drop the ball against Columbus, but this is not a good scoring team. Columbus is one of the worst in the NHL in scoring, and considering Boston just had a down game, they will most likely bounce back. This is a perfect game to bounce back in, and an alternative spread might be the best play here, going with a -2.5 for Boston.
Final Blue Jackets-Bruins Prediction & Pick: Boston -1.5 (-184) and Over 6.5 (-124)
The post NHL Odds: Blue Jackets vs. Bruins prediction, pick, how to watch – 3/30/2023 appeared first on ClutchPoints.