- The Boston Bruins, owning the NHL’s second-best winning percentage of .750, are 1.5-goal favorites on the road vs the New York Rangers on February 26th, 2021
- NHL Network will broadcast the game starting at 7 PM EST
- Here are the odds, lines, picks, and analysis for the game
Former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is playing in Washington. Torey Krug is now playing defense for St. Louis. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are a year older. David Pastrnak missed the first seven games of this season with an injury.
The Bruins were expected to take a half-step backwards.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, the Bruins (11-3-2) are leading the East Division by two points over the Washington Capitals (9-5-4). Boston opened the season with +1400 odds to win the Stanley Cup, and now the Bruins are at +833 to win the Cup.
The Bruins have won 2-0 against the New York Rangers this season. Boston defeated the Rangers by 3-2 OT and 1-0 verdicts on Feb. 10 and 12.
Boston Bruins vs New York Rangers Odds
|Boston Bruins||-159||-1.5 (+155)||O 5.5 (-107)|
|New York Rangers||+138||+1.5 (-190)||U 5.5 (-113)|
Odds taken Feb. 25th at DraftKings
Bruins Dominate on Special Teams
To defeat the Bruins, you have to beat them 5-on-5 because you aren’t going to conquer them on special teams.
The veteran Bruins team ranks sixth on the power play (30%) and second in penalty killing (87.%). Nick Ritchie even has five power-play goals for the Bruins. The Bruins only give up an average of 25.1 shots per game. That’s also tops in the NHL. If that isn’t intimidating enough, the Bruins win 57.6% of their faceoffs. That also ranks No. 1 among NHL teams.
This is a team that boasts an advanced understanding of what it needs to do to win hockey games on a regular basis. This team is still a prime Stanley Cup contender.
Barry Trotz on Bruins: “you’re not going to stop the power play and the big line. you try to limit that. you have to play a hard game. they go north and put pucks in play. we beat them a couple ways but the number one way is to match their north south game.” #Isles
— Peter Schwartz (@SchwartzSports) February 24, 2021
Rangers’ Undermined by Unforeseen Events
First No. 1 center Mika Zibanejad started the season with a horrendous slump. He’s still not out of it. Then the Rangers decided to waive key offensive-minded defenseman Anthony DeAngelo after he fought with a teammate after a game.
Retribution was feared after Panarin’s Instagram post on 1/21 in support of opposition leader Alexi Navalny with caption “Freedom for Navalny.” Panarin, who has family in Russia, has been outspoken against Putin.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) February 22, 2021
Now, leading scorer Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence to deal with an accusation that he beat up a young woman 10 years ago in Riga, Latvia while playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Panarin, a Russian, maintains his innocence. The Rangers believe he is being targeted because he has used social media posts to support Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny.
It’s unknown how long Panarin will be gone. The Rangers rank 25th in scoring (2.47 goals per game) and Panarin’s absence makes it more difficult for New York to score.
Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has an undisclosed injury, but he is said to be close to returning. He possibly could play Friday against the Rangers. Forward Ondrej Kase remains out with no timetable for his return. Kevin Miller isn’t making the trip to New York.
Jeremy Lauzon will be sidelined three or four more weeks.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have more significant issues. Defenseman K’Andre Miller and forward Kaapo Kakko are on the COVID-19 list, and it’s unknown when they might come off the list. With DeAngelo gone and Jacob Trouba out with a broken thumb, rookie Miller had become a key member of the Rangers defense. Filip Chytil, who was blossoming into a major contributor, is also still sidelined with an upper-body injury.
Filip Chytil is practicing for the first time in over 4 weeks… but no sign of Artemi Panarin (leave of absence) or the guys on the COVID list, Kaapo Kakko and K’Andre Miller. #NYR
— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) February 25, 2021
Bruins Still Tough to Beat
The Bruins are averaging three goals per game and are the NHL’s third-best defensive team. They are experienced, gritty, and skilled. They are very comfortable playing tight games. Plus, they beat the Rangers twice recently. The Rangers have too many issues right now.
Pick: Bruins -1.5 (+155)