The biggest game on the NHL calendar this week takes place in Canada as the Winnipeg Jets will host the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. There is a real possibility that these two teams could square off in the Stanley Cup Finals in a few months as both teams are near the top of their conference. Winnipeg won the first matchup between these two teams this season.
Winnipeg has been slumping a bit of late, losing three of their last four games. The Jets still come into this game with 84 points and sit in first place in the Central Division. Boston has lost their previous two games but won six straight games before that. The Bruins sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 93 points. Winnipeg is -130 against the Boston Bruins in this game.
Jets Are Going to Have to Score
If the Winnipeg Jets are going to make a deep playoff run, they are going to have to get it done on offense. The Jets are averaging 3.41 goals per game this season, and their power-play is one of the best in the league. Winnipeg is converting on 25.3 percent of their chances with a man advantage, and they will need to strike on special teams to solve the Boston defense.
Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele have been the offensive stars for the Jets this season. Wheeler leads the team with 65 assists and 84 points this season, while Scheifele leads the team with 32 goals scored. Winnipeg has the ability to score with any of their four lines, but Boston isn’t an easy team to score on. The Jets will need their home crowd to give their offense a boost in this game.
Bruins Defense Refuses to Give In
Boston got off to a slow start this season, but their defense and goaltending has kept them in the playoff race all season long. The Bruins are allowing just 2.53 goals per game this season, and their penalty kill is among the league’s best. Goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are a huge part of this success, but the Bruins have some great defenders. Boston has a remarkable seven shutouts already this season, and their defense should carry them into the postseason.
Left winger Brad Marchand has been the big offensive star for the Bruins this season, leading the team with 55 assists and 85 points. David Pastrnak is leading Boston with 31 goals this season and looks like a future star in the NHL. If the Bruins have to score goals, they can, but they prefer to limit teams with their terrific defense.
Jets Earn Important Victory
The Jets and Bruins play extremely different styles of hockey this season, but they both have been very successful. Boston will look to slow down the high-flying Jets, and they must eliminate dumb penalties if they want to be successful. Winnipeg will look to get an early goal to get the crowd into the game in hopes of scoring more goals. Look for the Jets to find a way to score enough goals to slip past the Bruins on Thursday night. Bet Winnipeg -130 over Boston in this game.