On Friday night, the Boston Bruins will head into Winnipeg to face the Jets to start the second half of their four-game road trip. While the Jets will continue to enjoy home ice after a huge 7-3 home win on Tuesday against Vegas. Both teams are coming off a number of wins of late, two in a row for the Jets and three in the last four for the Bruins building great anticipation for Friday night’s face off which is sure to be an exciting match.
Boston currently sits fourth in the Atlantic Division at 7-2-1 in their last ten games while Winnipeg is positioned sixth in the West at 6-3-1.
Boston’s Keys to Success
Despite certain offensive pressure from the likes of the Jets Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Mark Scheifele, the Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman, is sure to be a big factor after winning four of his last five and will likely get the start on Friday. Currently, Swayman’s save percentage puts him sixth-best in the NHL, while his goals against average is tied for third overall placing him just behind the likes of Carolinas All-Star keeper Frederik Andersen.
To date, the Bruins have allowed 23 fewer goals against when compared to the Jets though Winnipeg has netted six more overall during that same time. Boston does appear to have a defensive advantage heading into this match but will need to put forward ample offensive pressure to come out with a win. To get that needed offense, they will lean on the top line, which looks different while captain Patrice Bergeron is out with an illness, and on their lethal power play unit should the Jets wind up in the box. Bergeron’s line has now combined for a total of 55 goals on the season while their power play sees the addition of David Pasternak who alone has 33 goals to date, 13 of them coming on the power play, so Bergeron’s absence is significant.
Winnipeg’s Need for a Win
For the Jets to win this game they will have to stay out of the penalty box or will very likely pay the price as their penalty kill percentage is amongst the worst in the league at 21st overall as compared to Boston’s power play which is currently settled in at 5th best in the NHL. At even strength, Winnipeg will need to get plenty of pucks to the net to have a chance at overcoming the Bruins hot goaltender and will look to top producers Connor and Dubois to get those quality shots. In particular, Kyle Connor has been on fire as of late and has had 10 points in his last 5 games with 265 shots on the season, bested only by David Pasternak and Alex Ovechkin.
Both teams have the offensive depth to win, though the Bruins have a defensive advantage over the Jets and will dominate on special teams if given the opportunity. Overall goal scoring averages for both the Bruins and the Jets sit at about 3 goals per game with the Bruins again having a slight advantage over the Jets on goals against at 2.65 currently placing them 5th while the Jets sit at 18th overall in the NHL with 3.05 goals against per game.
The Pick is In
This should be a tough, physical match and may ultimately be determined by special team play and of course quality shot attempts. All things considered, I take the Bruins over the Jets here to come out with a win and the point spread for Boston agrees at -1.5 (+185), while oddsmakers have Winnipeg at +1.5 (-225). After a close and disappointing loss, snapping a 3 game win streak in Minnesota on Wednesday night, the Bruins will be looking for a win in Winnipeg.