NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs. Kraken (Feb. 24)
Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Boston Bruins standouts Brad Marchand, left, and Patrice Bergeron.
Bruins vs. Kraken Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
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The Boston Bruins begin a six-game, West coast road trip Thursday with their first stop coming in Seattle to face the NHL’s newest franchise.
Boston enters this matchup in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with an overall 29-17-4 record in a season that currently has the team in the second wild-card spot in Eastern Conference.
In contrast, the inaugural season for the Kraken hasn’t been one to write home about. Seattle sits in last place in the Pacific Division, with a 16-33-4 record and 36 points.
The gap in talent between these squads has only grown larger since the start of the season, but Seattle is a team that has played decent defense up to this point despite what its record indicates.
That said, can the Kraken utilize that defense and defend home ice or will Boston start off their journey with a win?
Boston is coming off of a massive 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, but that kind of offensive performance hasn’t always been the case for this squad.
In their last 10 games, the Bruins are scoring just 1.73 goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations, a number that is far below their season average of 2.33. In that stretch of time, Boston has scored two goals or less in eight games, showing that the offensive firepower has been rather nonexistent of late.
A big reason for their regression on the offensive end has been the absence of Brad Marchand, who was suspended and has missed the last six games. Luckily for the Bruins, their leading point scorer is eligible to return here, which could give them the extra push they need.
Regardless of who is on the ice, Boston has proven that their defense can hold any opponent in check, and that has remained the case as of late.
Entering this matchup, the Bruins have just 2.02 Expected Goals Against (xGA/60) in 5-on-5 situations, which leads the NHL by a significant margin. That number has risen slightly to 2.13 in their last 10 outings, but that mark is still the second best in the NHL during that span of time.
That shows that even when things aren’t clicking on the offensive end, Boston is still finding ways to keep pucks in front of it.`
The first season for the Kraken has been disappointing, and the biggest reason why has been their inability to find a rhythm on offense.
Simply put, this is a team that is offensively challenged. In 5-on-5 situations, the Kraken have scored 93 total goals in 53 games, and are second to last in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF/60) with 2.04 overall.
The offensive struggles have continued during Seattle’s ugly five-game losing streak as well, a stretch in which the team has averaged just two goals per contest. Things don’t appear they are going to get much easier either, which is bad news for an a team that hasn’t had much going its way as of late.
Luckily, the Kraken defense hasn’t been all that bad. Seattle has posted an xGA/60 of 2.24 in 5-on-5 situations, which happens to be the third best in the NHL. They have also allowed the fifth-fewest High Danger Chances per 60 minutes in 5-on-5, showing this is a defensive unit that has the talent and capability to keep pucks in front of it.
However, the problem is that Seattle has some major issues in net, starting with Philipp Grubauer. He’s expected to get the start as well, and in 5-on-5 this season he has posted an SV % of .890 and -24.6 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in 39 games.
Bruins vs. Kraken Pick
Neither team is particularly strong on the offensive end of the ice, which is why I have begun to eye the total in this matchup.
Boston’s strong defense and lack of scoring has kept many of its games tight all season. As a result, nine of their last 10 games have seen a total of six goals or less, and I think it is likely we see that trend continue in this meeting.
On the other hand, Seattle has given up 4.6 total goals per game during their five-game losing streak, a number that is a little concerning when it comes to looking at the total. However, three of those five games have come against the Maple Leafs, Flames, and Jets, all of which have better scoring attacks.
Boston and Seattle have played once this season in a game that ended 3-2 in favor of the Bruins, seeing both teams land 26 shots. I think it’s likely we see the defenses be the main headline once again, which should give us another low-scoring affair.
Pick: Total Under 6 Goals (-115)