Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins Free NHL Pick 2/4/12
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The Penguins were really up against the wall in the middle of January. They were in some big trouble in terms of the playoff picture, and they were going to be in for a fight with a slew of injuries just to stick in the postseason. In spite of the fact that there were just a ton of stars that missed time during this roll, the Pens buckled down an rolled off eight straight wins to solidify their position once again as one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. This four-game road trip started with a loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, but at least at this point, there is no doubt that this is a team that is still heading in the right direction once again. Jordan Staal is still a week or two away from returning with his knee injury, while Arron Asham could be back in the fold on Saturday after sitting out extensive time with a concussion. We still don’t know when Sidney Crosby is going to be able to return with his concussion symptoms and neck problems, but once Staal and Asham get back in the lineup, this is finally a team that can say that it is about as at full strength as it is going to likely be for quite some time.
All of a sudden, the Bruins look like they are a relatively mortal team. They were absolutely shut down on Thursday night by the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that just can’t get out of its own way offensively. The 3-0 defeat was very costly to Boston’s NHL betting fans, as they were shocked as -265 favorites at home at the TD Garden. Now, the team has a brutal stretch ahead, including games against the Pens and the Washington Capitals. Sure, the lead in the Northeast Division isn’t being challenged any time in the near future in all likelihood, but the truth of the matter is that it looks like this team has taken its foot off of the gas pedal just a bit. Tim Thomas has become a bit of a public enemy in town thanks to the fact that he didn’t visit the White House and then spoke up about his problems with the country, and that is more or less putting a damper on what has been another fantastic season for the likely Vezina Trophy contender. The hope is there that the B’s are just hitting a bit of a lull, but the truth of the matter is that they only have two victories in regulation since January 12th, a stretch of nine games.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins Pick: For the second straight game, we are going to go against the mighty Bruins in their own backyard. We just don’t see how this team is always such a huge favorite when push comes to shove, and for as hot as Pittsburgh has been, we aren’t going to discount its abilities to come on the road and beat one of the best teams in hockey.
Free Hockey Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins
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