NHL Betting Picks: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins Game #3

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Finals Game #3
#1 Pittsburgh Penguins at #4 Boston Bruins
Bruins lead Best of Seven Series 2-0
Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Bruins -120 / Penguins +100
Current Line: Bruins  -110 / Penguins -110
Opening Total: 4 1/2 under -110 / 4 1/2 over -110
Current Total: 4 1/2 under -135 / 4 1/2 over +115

Boston and Philadelphia meet for the second year in a row in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Boston Bruins look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Going into the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins were a heavy favorite to beat the Boston Bruins. Well, the Bruins apparently didn’t get that memo. They have completely dominated the Penguins in all phases of the game outscoring Pittsburgh by a combined 9-1 in two games in the Steel City. Now the series switches to Boston for games 3 and 4 with the Penguins facing a must win down 2-0. Only 3 times in NHL history has a team down 0-3 come back to win the series.

The Bruins won game one 3-0. The game was marred by ejections and an ugly brawl at the beginning of the third period, something that very rarely happens in playoff hockey. In game two, Boston routed the Penguins 6-1. Boston chased Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun in the first period with 3 goals in just 12 shots. Marc-Andre Fleury was benched as the Penguins’ goalie in the first round series against the New York Islanders when the series was tied at 2-2.

The Penguins scored a goal with less than a minute left in the first period to make it 3-1. However, Fleury gave up a soft goal with 9 seconds left in the period to make it 4-1 Bruins. neither team would score in the second period. Boston would add two goals in the third to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Boston had 29 shots on goal and Pittsburgh had 27. The Bruins were 0 for 1 on the power play and the Penguins were 0 for 2. Boston won 29 faceoffs and Pittsburgh one 28. The biggest difference in the game might have been the 12 Penguin giveaways.

Left wing Brad Marchand had 2 goals for the Bruins. Center Patrice Bergeron, defenseman Johnny Boychuk, and right wing Nathan Horton each had a goal and an assist. Center David Krejci also scored a goal. Jaromir Jagr had 2 assists. Center Brandon Sutter scored the only goal for Pittsburgh on assists from Matt Cooke and Paul Martin.

Pittsburgh is coached by Dan Bylsma. The Penguins lead the playoffs in scoring with 3.69 per game, and are allowing 2.85 goals per game. Pittsburgh averages 32.3 shots per game and gives up 32.8 per game. The Penguins had been effective on the power play converting 13 of 52 chances, or 25%. The Penguions haven’t converted a power play yet in six tries against Boston. Pittsburgh did allow 3 short handed goals in the Ottawa series. The Penguins have killed 40 of 44 penalties or 90.9%. Pittsburgh has scored 2 short handed goals. The Penguins are 49% on faceoffs. Pittsburgh averages 15.2 penalty minutes a game in the playoffs.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fluery  has a 3.51 GAA and a save percentage of .883. He was benched in favor of Tomas Vokoun, who made several playoff runs when he was the starter for the Nashville Predators. Voukoun has gone 6-3 since then with a GAA of 2.26 and a save percentage of .929. Both Vokoun and Fleury have each recorded a shutout in the post-season. Vokoun has allowed 20 goals on 281 shots faced.

Center Evgeni Malkin has 4 goals and 12 assists. Defenseman Kris Letang has 3 goals and 13 assists. Center Sidney Crosby has 7 goals and 8 assists. He missed the first game of the playoffs with a broken jaw suffered late in the regular season. Crosby will likely win the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP. Right wing Jarome Iginla has 4 goals and 8 assists.  Right wing Pascal Dupuis (7 G, 3 A) and left wing James Neal (6 G, 4 A) each have 10 points. Defenseman Paul Martin (2 G, 8 A) and left wing Chris Kunitz (4 G, 5 A) both have 9 points. Center Joe Vitale is day to day for undisclosed reasons.

Boston is coached by Claude Julien. The Bruins are averaging 3.36 goals per game and giving up 2.07 in the playoffs. Boston is averaging 37 shots per game and giving up 32. The Bruins are 7 for 37 on the power play or 18.9%. Boston has allowed 1 short handed goal. The Bruins have killed 36 of 43 penalties in the playoffs or 83.7%. The Bruins have one short  handed goal. The Bruins have won 57.6% of faceoffs, which is the best among playoff teams. The Bruins are averaging 9.8 penalty minutes per game.

Goalie Tukka Rask is 10-4 in the playoffs with a 1.99 goals against average. He has allowed 29 goals on 447 shots faced. His save percentage is .935 and he has one shutout.

Center David Krejci leads the playoffs with 20 points, including 12 assists. Right wing Nathan Horton has 7 goals and 10 assists. Defenseman Zdeno Chara has 2 goals and 9 assists. Left wing Milan Lucic has 3 goals and 9 assists. Left wing Brad Marchand has 4 goals and 7 assists. Center Patrice Bergeron has 4 goals and 5 assists. Rookie defenseman Torey Krug has 4 goals and 2 assists. The Bruins need to get more production from Jagr who has 6 assists and talented young center Tyler Seguin who only has a goal and 3 assists in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh is 8-0 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more, 4-1 after allowing 5 goals or more, 41-14 overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, 20-7 against Northeast teams, 19-7 in road games and after scoring 2 goals or less, 8-3 in conference finals games, 47-18 on one day rest, 36-15 against teams with winning records, 14-6 when the opponent  allows 2 goals or less, and 1-7 after a home loss by more than 3 goals. The road team is 11-3 in this series recently. The Penguins are 6-2 in the series recently and 6-0 in Boston.

Boston is 4-0 ATS after the opponent allows 5 goals or more, and at home, 7-1 overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, 6-1 against Atlantic Division teams, 5-1 after allowing 2 goals or less, and after a win, 4-1 after the opponent scores two goals or less, and in conference final games, 26-9 after scoring 5 goals or more, and 37-16 in Wednesday games. The under is 4-1 overall in this series and 7-1-1 in Boston.

Pittsburgh needs Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to show up or this will be a very short series. Neither has a point in the Boston series. After averaging over 4 goals a game during the playoffs, Pittsburgh has only scored one goal total in this series. The good new is the Penguins have won 6 straight games in Boston, so this series isn’t over yet. Both Vokoun and Fleury struggled in game 2 but I look for Vokoun to get the start. Pittsburgh wins on the road to get back in the series.

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