Last Updated: 2017-03-06
Matchup: Anaheim Ducks at Boston Bruins
Date/Time: March 26, 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: NHL Network
NHL Betting Odds From BetOnline Sportsbook
Moneyline: Boston -113
March has not been a kind month to the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins. The Ducks are 7-5 overall, but they have allowed 12 goals in the first two games of a five-game road trip in their last two matchups. The Bruins fell out of a playoff spot earlier this week and enter this game 0-3-2 over their last five games following a five-game winning streak. The Ducks are safely in the playoffs, but the Bruins don’t have that luxury. Every point is vital for the Bruins, who are a small home favorite on Thursday night.
It’s hardly panic mode for the Anaheim Ducks with 12 goals allowed in their last two games because of their big lead in the Pacific Division, but it’s clear that they have some things to iron out. Ever since Frederik Andersen went down on February 8, the Ducks have been an inconsistent team. They lost that game 5-2 to fall to 34-13-7. Since then, the Ducks are 12-9 but the goaltending position continues to be in a state of flux. Andersen has not been able to meet his pre-injury performance and John Gibson has mixed in a lot of good with a lot of bad.
The Ducks are now 22nd in goals against per game and if that trend continues, the Ducks will need more from their offense. The Ducks have the 25th-ranked power play, even though leading scorers Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are a huge part of that unit. Getzlaf has 66 points in 72 games with 43 assists, most of them on Corey Perry’s team-leading 31 goals. Perry has added 20 assists of his own. Defenseman Sami Vatanen leads the team with 17 power play points. Frederik Andersen is 31-11-5 with a 2.42 GAA and a .913 SV%, but Andersen is 5-5 with a 2.88 GAA and an .894 SV% since the All-Star Break.
The Bruins have been outscored 17-9 during their five-game losing streak that includes a shootout loss at home to Buffalo. Four of the five losses have been on the road and the Bruins have outshot their opponent in each of their last four losses, so maybe things are going to turn around. However, results like that speak to Boston’s inability to score goals. The Bruins are scoring 2.6 goals per game and have just two players, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, with at least 20 goals. Top defenseman Dougie Hamilton is now out indefinitely for the Bruins and that will make a tough task even harder against the Ducks and in the playoff race in general.
The aforementioned Bergeron is the leading scorer for the Bruins with 51 points. The now-injured Hamilton was the second-leading scorer on the team with 42 points. Only two other Bruins, Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson, have at least 40 points this season. The Bruins simply don’t score enough goals and that puts a lot of pressure on Tuukka Rask. Rask is 29-19-11 with a 2.33 GAA and a .921 SV%. Rask gave up four goals on 12 shots against Tampa Bay in his last start and will be looking for better results on Thursday.
Free NHL Picks: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks aren’t going to be concerned with too many games against Eastern Conference opponents, but back-to-back poor efforts have to lead to a sense of urgency on Thursday. The Bruins are a mess and really struggled without Zdeno Chara earlier this season and now they’re back in that position without Hamilton.
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