Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes Predictions
Boston came out on Saturday afternoon and defeated Carolina to take a 2-1 series lead.
This becomes extremely impressive when you factor in this happened just two hours after the shocking news of their goalie deciding to depart the bubble in Toronto.
Tuukka Rask in a way quit on his fellow teammates, deciding he needed to be with his family during this time in the world. Jaroslav Halak came in and backstopped the Bruins to a win; the only goal he gave up was a gift wrapped mistake by Halak himself.
Rask is a good goalie, but Halak is an upper-echelon backup goaltender in this league who has a history of performing very well in the postseason with teams like Montreal and the New York Islanders. If you think this is a series changing downgrade, I would disagree with you.
In fact, it wasn’t even the biggest lineup departure that happened in this series on Saturday.
Andrei Svechnikov, the former 2nd overall draft pick of Carolina, crumbled to the ice late in the game grabbing his knee. He isn’t expected to return to the Hurricanes lineup for a while, as per coach Rod Brind’Amour. Svechnikov led the Hurricanes in individual expected goals scored per 60 minutes.
Svechnikov either plays on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, or he anchors a second line that splits up the Hurricanes offense. With the Bruins top line consisting of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, they can effectively eliminate the duo of Aho and Teravainen should they matchup with each other. If the Bruins can shut down the Hurricanes two elite players, the depth on this team is lacking.
Goals were already hard to come by for the Hurricanes, but without Svechnikov it will be even harder.
Boston seems to be rising to the occasion, finally getting settled in the bubble without their malcontent netminder. David Pastrnak might return to the Bruins line-up in game four, and he would be a huge addition as the league’s best goal scorer.
Carolina is a good team, but at this price, they are being overrated. Carolina is a trendy underdog that could take advantage of the Bruins in a perfect world. However, with the injury to Svechnikov, the coming return of Pastrnak, and the drama leaving the bubble in Boston, this line is short and it’s a good opportunity to back what was the league’s best team this past season.
Colorado Avalanche vs Arizona Coyotes Predictions
Arizona won game three, we must have a series now, right?
Game three was actually hard to watch with how much the Colorado Avalanche dominated in terms of zone-time, shots and shot attempts. The shots in this game were 51-23. Yes, 51 to 23.
Somehow, Arizona won this game. In the sport of hockey, we deal with results like this more often than other sports. Similarly to baseball, it’s a sport with a lot of variance and luck involved. All you can do is trust your process.
My process tells me that allowing your opponent to consistently barrage your goaltender every night with over 40 shots isn’t a good idea. Arizona has played 7 games in this tournament, and in 5 of them they’ve let their opponent fire over 40 shots. Darcy Kuemper has been phenomenal, but he can’t do this every night.
Colorado was 4th in the league this past year in goals per game, averaging 3.37 goals a game. In this series, they’ve only averaged 2.7 goals a game despite twice firing over 40 shots. Colorado is due for an explosion offensively. Arizona is due to get absolutely plastered one of these nights on the scoreboard when Kuemper has a pedestrian night.
Arizona might have awakened the beast by winning game three. Colorado was on cruise control in this series, winning and dominating games but not really showing their teeth. Now that the series is somewhat up for grabs, the more skilled, experienced and plain better team has to bear down and take care of business.
I don’t lay crazy juice like -190 in this league; like I said, it’s way too random at times. But I do think that Colorado can win this game by at least two goals. I can see the Avalanche finally netting 4 or 5 goals as their offense breaks out en route to a convincing win.
The Pick: Colorado Avalanche -1.5 (+150)