Some great offensive talents will be spectators for an interconference NHL matchup that was already imbued with some strong under trends.
The Boston Bruins and star left wing Brad Marchand are slim -115 favorites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, while the St. Louis Blues come back as -105 underdogs for Wednesday’s matchup. There is a 5.5-goal total for the contest.
Boston is likely to be minus center Patrice Bergeron (foot), left wing David Backes (leg laceration) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (upper body), while left wing Rick Nash (upper body) might be a game-time decision. St. Louis is expected to be without leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body).
The depleted lineups could lead to a defensive affair. Coincidentally, the OddsShark NHL Database shows the total has gone under in six of the Bruins’ last nine road games against the Western Conference. The total has gone under in eight of the Blues’ last 10 home games against Eastern Conference teams.
Injury woes notwithstanding, Boston is 45-17-9 on the season, including a solid 20-10-4 road record. That said, the Bruins have lost all three of their road games against Central Division teams this season (two as the favorite) and improving that small sample might rest on having young right wings David Pastrnak and Ryan Donato (just signed from Harvard University) cover the absence of proven scoring if Nash is a no-go on Wednesday.
The Bruins are on the first leg of a five-game road swing as they try to chase down the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is aiming for a bounce-back game after allowing five goals in a game for the first time in more than two months during Boston’s defeat against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
While their organization appeared to cut bait on this season when it traded Paul Stastny within the division (to Winnipeg) at the trade deadline, the Blues are 39-28-5 and are hanging around the Western Conference wild-card playoff race. St. Louis has won two games in a row and the re-jigged Brayden Schenn-Jaden Schwartz-Alex Steen first line has helped cover for not having Tarasenko.
The Blues are 6-3 in their last nine home games against the Atlantic Division, but that includes three recent wins against teams that are far out of playoff contention.
St. Louis, which is a home underdog for only the second time all season, is providing better support to goalie Jake Allen. Allen has allowed only 15 goals across his last six starts with a decent save percentage, as Alex Pietrangelo and the Blues defense corps has thrived at limiting the volume of shots their goaltender faces. That’s another reason why this shapes up as a low-scoring game.
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