NHL Betting Tips and Advice: Boston Bruins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Game 2 of what is sure to be an eventful series takes place at TD Garden tonight. The Bruins will look to build on their overtime win in the series opener and leave Boston with a 2-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are hoping to recreate some of the magic they had during their improbable upset over the Lightning.

Here is a brief recap of Game 1, along with some keys to the game and a prediction.

Game 1 Recap

After two periods, the only score on the board belonged to Boston, where Noel Acciari scored a shorthanded goal about halfway through the first period. Then in the third, Brandon Dubinsky and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored 13 seconds apart to give Columbus the lead. Then with about five minutes left, Charlie Coyle tied the game for Boston before scoring once again to win it for the Bruins in overtime.

Keys for Columbus

The score indicated the game was a lot closer than it actually was, as Columbus was unable to muster up much of an attack in the first two periods. The biggest difference in the game came in shots on goal, where Boston had a sizeable 37-22 advantage, as well as a huge 75-38 advantage in shot attempts. They picked it up in the third, but the Blue Jackets will have to have a sustained forecheck and up-tempo attack for all 60 minutes of Game 2. Relying heavily on Sergei Bobrovsky to bail them out will result in Boston having success once again.

While Columbus did a great job of shutting down Boston’s dynamic first line, it was the third line for the Bruins that was tough to stop. Trade deadline acquisition Charlie Coyle has had a great postseason, scoring five goals in Boston’s eight games. Limiting his effectiveness, as well as the play of a hot bottom-six, will go a long way for the Blue Jackets.

Keys for Boston

The Bruins dominated the first two periods, including a 14-4 shots on goal advantage in the first 20 minutes. So why did they find themselves down by a goal until Coyle tied the game late in the third? Missed opportunities. Multiple missed chances coupled with Bobrovsky’s performance made that game a lot closer than it should have been. If Boston dominates a game, the score needs to reflect that, before the Jackets are able to steal an important game in the series.

Another key comes down to David Pastrnak. Other than a two-goal performance in Game 4 against the Maple Leafs, Pastrnak has had a very quiet postseason. The struggles have extended to the rest of Boston’s top scorers, as the bottom-six have carried the team over the past two games scoring seven of Boston’s last eight goals. Pastrnak and the rest of the top line will need to wake up, as it’s only a matter of time before the bottom-six come back to earth.

The Verdict

I think the Blue Jackets stumbled in Game 1 due to a long layoff between now and their sweep of Tampa Bay, so I think they will be better prepared in Game 2. However, I also think the Bruins will do a better job of capitalizing on their chances. I’ll pick the Bruins -140 to win and grab a 2-0 series lead.