Boston Bruins @ New York Rangers – Madison Square Garden at 01:00

My first NHL Handicap Betting preview of the week is an original six matchup between the Bruins and the Rangers. I’ll be hoping for two in a row with this prediction.

Goaltender Crisis in Beantown

Bruins head coach Claude Julien has lost his starting and backup goalies over the past couple of days. Tuuka Rask is still listed as day-to-day prior to the trip to New York. Backup Anton Khudobin is out for three weeks with an upper-body injury. This could be testing times ahead for the Bruins. Since the injury of Rask, they have slumped to two defeats and conceded 9 goals in the process. 22-year old Malcolm Subban was between the posts in yesterday’s 5-0 defeat to Minnesota Wild. He was pulled after conceding 3 goals on just 16 shots. Backup for the night, Zane McIntyre didn’t fare much better conceding, 2 on 17 shots. Boston have been reliant on Rask this year as all three of their wins have been with him in goal. The Finn has look very assured so far and is looking to get back to the form that saw him with the Vezina in 2014.

One of the major issues for the Bruins last term was the amount of shots against. This coincides with their ageing blueline. Captain Zdeno Chara will be 40 in March and is not the force he was 5 years ago. Boston’s defensive issues have also been eased up to an extent by perennial Selke-trophy contender Patrice Bergeron and Czech playmaker David Krejci. The Bruins will be desperate to make the post-season after missing out over the past two years, their success could all hinge on their defensive priorities.

Stanley Cup in Rangerstown?

The New York Rangers have been in contention for the Stanley Cup for the past couple of years now. Like their opponents Boston they have an ageing roster. Unlike the Bruins they haven’t won the Stanley Cup recently. You have to go back 22 years in the Mark Messier era when the Blueshirts last tasted success. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture in New York’s line up for 10 years now. His nickname is King Henrik, although he is a fantastic goalie and will inevitably be a hall of famer. The Swede has not warranted that moniker as he hasn’t won the Stanley Cup. Lundqvist falls into the same bracket as fellow superstar Alex Ovechkin in being annual contenders with their respective teams, yet falling short every time.

New York have started the season steadily with a 4-2 record and find themselves second in the hotly-contested Metropolitan Division. In the off-season the most talked about acquisition was Jimmy Vesey. The Rangers beat a lot of clubs for the Harvard Crimson’s signature, in what was a long played out sweepstake akin to LeBron James’ The Decision. Vesey has so far lived up to the hype with 3 goals in 6 games and will be seeking to be in contention for the Calder Trophy come the end of the season.

Prediction

If Tuuka Rask doesn’t start for the Bruins, I’m expecting a lot of goals to fly in. Subban will be bereft of confidence having been pulled last night. The Rangers have scored the second most goals in the Metropolitan Division (22 in 6 games).

Asian Handicap recommendation: Over 5.5 goals at 2.18

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @The_Drewse

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