Detroit Red Wings Vs. Boston Bruins: Vegas Odds, Preview, and Prediction
Should the Detroit Red Wings even bother showing up for this series? Nobody in the hockey world is giving them a chance against the Boston Bruins. Let's take a closer look and see if Detroit have a chance.
No other team is favored more in round 1 than the Boston Bruins. In order to back them, you'll have to pay the hefty price of -238. Essentially what that price is saying is that the Bruins are expected to wrap this series up in about five games.
I don't think anyone will argue that the B's should be clear favorites in this matchup, but the question is by how much?
Keep an eye on
The first thing to keep an eye on will be Gustav Nyquist, because if you blink you might miss him. That happened to Zdeno Chara when these teams met earlier this month in Detroit, as Nyquist picked up the puck at his own blue line and blazed by the 6'9' defender on route to a goal.
Can the Red Wings collectively come up with more such heroics?
It's not impossible, but it's doubtful.
I like a good underdog story as much as the next person, but this Bruins teams is as good as advertised.
To begin with, they have the best goaltender on the planet. Tuukka Rask's .930 save percentage is the tops in the league for goalies with 40+ starts this year.
In front of him is the best puck possession team in the Eastern Conference (54.1%). They are third in the NHL on the power play, and eighth in the league on the penalty kill. No other team in the conference has a better home or road winning percentage, and if that isn't enough, they scorched almost everyone in their path after the Olympics (17-3-4).
Up front they are loaded with quality depth with names like Bergeron, Iginla, Eriksson, Soderberg, Marchand, Krejci, Lucic, and Smith. On the blueline they have one of the best shutdown defenders in Chara, and one of the best up and coming youngsters in Hamilton. They do miss Seidenberg, but Boychuk has stepped up and had a real nice season. Krug hit 40 points this year and he doesn't even get regular minutes.
If there is a weakness on Boston, I'd like to know what it is.
On the flip side we have a Detroit team that has thrived on defiance. There was a point where they were sitting in 10th place and it looked like it was going to be the end of an era, but the young guns took their game to another level and they made the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive year.
By now you probably know all the names, but Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Glendening, Jurco, and DeKeyser have really been phenomenal this year. Now they get Pavel Datsyuk back, and a healthy Darren Helm doesn't hurt either.
If Jimmy Howard can be at his best, Detroit just might surprise a few people. They are a pretty good puck possession team (51.2%), and they have proven that they can win on the road this year (21-15-5).
Will it be enough to win a few games?
In reality, every playoff team has a chance for the upset. Last year the Toronto Maple Leafs were on the verge of knocking out the Bruins late in game 7 of the first round, and this Detroit team is undoubtedly better than the Leafs were.
That said, it would a stretch to say Detroit will win this series. I think they can win a couple games, but it's going to take some lucky bounces or miraculous performances to do more than that. I'm with the consensus on this one, and I think the Bruins get it done in six or less.
Prediction: Boston Bruins -1.5.
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