These are two big games with a lot on the line in terms of their implications on the standings. There is a prime matchup featuring two Atlantic Division teams and a pair of Western Conference teams that are jockeying for positioning. Both games will feature some trade deadline acquisitions that will make their debuts with their new teams so expect the players on those teams to be charged up and ready to perform.
Moneyline: Boston Bruin (-110) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (-110)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had both of their deadline acquisitions make their season debuts for the club with the newest acquisition Nick Paul scoring in the team’s previous game. Brandon Hagel is yet to register a point with the Lightning since he was acquired, and as a whole, the team is struggling to score with only three goals combined over their last two games.
Tampa Bay suffered its second consecutive loss and is now 2-5-0 in their last seven games, which is very uncharacteristic of them. Andrei Vasilevskiy’s improved play is allowing the team to stay in games, but the lack of scoring is problematic, especially after getting deeper at the trade deadline. The Bruins will be ready to roll and could get some reinforcements back in the lineup for this matchup. Patrice Bergeron, who missed the team’s last three games, could make his return with newly acquired Hampus Lindholm also making his debut for the Bruins.
Goaltender Jeremy Swayman is on fire for the Bruins and the consistent goaltending has given the Bruins some life in the second half. Swayman is 9-1-0 in his last 10 starts allowing three goals twice and four goals once in that span. Getting some key players back into the lineup and continuing to get stellar goaltending from Swayman bodes well for the Bruins. Not to mention the Bruins are on home ice where they are 18-10-2 on the season.
Moneyline: Minnesota Wild (-225) vs Vancouver Canucks (+185)
Like the Bruins, the Wild will also get a look at their new deadline acquisition when Marc-Andre Fleury starts in goal for them against the Vancouver Canucks. He already joined the team after he was traded and dressed as the backup goaltender but will get his first taste of action with his new team.
He put up a respectable 2.96 goals-against average and .908 save percentage with a 19-21-5 record while with Chicago. The losing record can be partially blamed because of the team in front of him not providing enough support. Playing for a strong defensive-minded team in the Wild should only help Fleury as he adjusts to his new team and we already know he possesses top-tier goaltending upside.
The Canucks will be in a back-to-back situation with Thatcher Demko expected to start this game after Jaroslav Halak got the win against the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild are dominant at home with a 20-7-1 record and are 3-1-0, four games into their current nine-game homestand while sporting a three-game win streak.
Odds via BetMGM and Yahoo