NHL Hockey Betting: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks

Five games on the NHL board for Sunday and we’ll start at the very top with a 12:30 Eastern Start time game between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks from the ‘House that Jordan built’ aka the United Center. The Blackhawks look to have shaken off the challenge of the Nashville Predators for their third place spot in the Central Division. Chicago is up 5 points on Nashville following the Blackhawks 5-4 win over Winnipeg on Friday night and the Predators 3-2 shootout loss to San Jose on Saturday. That leaves the Central Division in relative stasis heading into the final week of the season with every team essentially ‘locked’ into their current position. In fact, there’s just one playoff spot still up for grabs in the entire Western Conference and the Minnesota Wild should have that locked down as soon as tonight. The Wild have three games remaining (at Winnipeg, home against San Jose and Calgary) while the only team that can catch them–the Colorado Avalanche–have four (St. Louis, at Nashville, at Dallas and their season finale at home against Anaheim). Minnesota has a five point lead so a Wild win over Winnipeg today combined with a St. Louis win over Colorado will make it official.

The Blackhawks don’t really “need” this game as much as Boston but they do need some momentum heading into the postseason. They’ve lost 7 of their last 11 and while they’ve won 3 of 4 those games were all against non-playoff teams (Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg). The Bruins won the only meeting between the teams this year taking a 4-2 verdict at Boston on March 3. The Bruins have lost 8 of 12 and are in ‘desperation mode’. They’ve dropped out of the playoffs altogether but they’ve got a number of ways to get back in. The currently trail Detroit for third place in the Atlantic by 1 point and the #3 team in the division gets a guaranteed berth. They’re also 1 point back of Philadelphia for one wildcard spot and 2 back of the Islanders for the other.

But the fact that they’ve got multiple scenarios in which they can make the playoffs doesn’t mean anything if they don’t win. Chicago is more concerned with getting healthy before the playoffs as Corey Crawford and Andrew Shaw are both out for today’s game. The Blackhawks are the better team but the Bruins are the more motivated team. That carried them to a 6-5 win at St. Louis on Friday and should get them another victory here.