As the NHL is in its opening week, the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils will meet for the second time this afternoon in Newark. In the first meeting between these clubs on Thursday, an eventful third period forced the game to be decided in a shootout, where the Bruins squeaked away with a 3-2 win.
Here is what you need to know both the Bruins and Devils, as well as what betting odds to consider. It will be the last time these teams play each other until February 15th, where the two-game series shifts to Boston.
Boston Bruins Betting Preview: One Last Run?
When the 2019-20 season came to a halt, no team had a better record in the Eastern Conference than the Bruins. And although their quest for another Stanley Cup fell short with a second-round loss to the eventual-champion Lightning, their run of four consecutive playoff appearances was able to continue easily. However, with the difficult East Division they find themselves in this season and big offseason losses, the road to the Cup appears much steeper this year.
Among the losses sustained this offseason, star defenseman Torey Krug bolted for a large free agent deal with the Blues. In addition, longtime captain Zdeno Chara signed with the now-division rival Capitals, and standout right winger and last year’s team leader in points David Pastrnak underwent offseason hip surgery, sidelining him until at least the middle of February.
Fortunately, there is a little bit of normalcy, where veterans Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci. Marchand, who tallied 87 points in 70 games last season, will be counted on even more to score with Pastrnak out, as will other role players like Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk. Charlie McAvoy will also need to take on the number one d-man role following Krug’s departure.
Thursday against New Jersey, we saw Marchand step up exactly how he needed to. The pesky veteran scored late in the first period on the power play, assisted on Nick Ritchie’s power play goal in the third, and scored the lone shootout goal as well. His play helped Boston out-shoot New Jersey 37-22 on the game, while also taking advantage of two of their five power play opportunities.
New Jersey Devils Betting Preview: Still at the Bottom
Less than 10 years ago, the Devils found themselves in the Stanley Cup Final, continuing a near-25 year stretch of being a playoff team. But since 2012, New Jersey has made the playoffs just one time in the last eight years, the 2017-18 season, where they were promptly eliminated by the Lightning in five games. Rest assured for Devils fans, there are a number of reasons why this team has a bright future, but for now it may be another year in the depths of the division.
This offseason, the Devils made some moves to improve. They parted with Joey Anderson in a trade and acquired left wing Andreas Johnsson, a former 20-goal scorer. They also bolstered the defense with the acquisitions of Ryan Murray and Dmitry Kulikov, while also re-signing Sami Vatanen after trading him in the middle of last season. New Jersey also signed former Cup champion Corey Crawford to man the net, but Crawford unexpectedly retired just before the season began.
Regardless, the newcomers will play alongside youngsters like last year’s first overall pick Jack Hughes and rookie Yegor Sharangovich, with Hughes in particular hoping to break out after a 21-point rookie season. Leading goal-scorer Kyle Palmieri returns as well, along with fellow forwards Pavel Zacha and Nikita Gusev, as well as d-men P.K. Subban and Damon Severson.
Playing their first game in over 300 days, the Devils were held without a goal for about 48 minutes of action before left winger Miles Wood got them on the board with an assist from Hughes. After giving up the lead a few minutes later, 20-year old defenseman Ty Smith scored 34 seconds after Ritchie, with Hughes once again earning the primary assist. New Jersey got a great performance in the game from Mackenzie Blackwood, who had 35 saves on 37 shots, but as a team went 0-for-5 on the power play.
Bruins vs. Devils Betting Odds & Lines
In the second meeting between these teams this year, MyBookie has the Bruins as -195 favorites. In addition, the over/under at MyBookie is 5.5, with the U5.5 favored at -120.
Free Betting Pick
Two things that stood out in the first meeting between these teams was the differences in shots on goal as well as power play success. As mentioned earlier, Boston out-shot New Jersey by 15, while also capitalizing on two power play chances to the Devils’ zero. The Devils will have to find a way to even things out, although it may be hard to generate offensive firepower with former first overall pick Nico Hischier likely to remain out with a leg injury.
It’s entirely possible that Boston’s defense, which has taken a step back from last season, can allow New Jersey to get some quality chances. But I’m betting on Blackwood to come back down to Earth after Thursday and not bail out his team for much of the game. For all these reasons, I’m going with the favorites to earn the two-game sweep on the road.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Bruins -195