Rangers vs. Bruins NHL Picks: Rask’s Return Will Help Boston Prevail at Home

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Goaltender Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images/AFP

The Boston Bruins look to get back on track when they host the depleted New York Rangers on Thursday night. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and NHL picks.

New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins

Thursday, May 06, 2021 – 07:00 PM EDT at TD Garden

The Bruins are coming off a 4-3 road loss against the Devils last Tuesday while the Rangers lost 4-2 against the Capitals at home on Wednesday. New York has now dropped four straight games and they already gave up this year. This doesn't help their chances to beat the NHL against the Bruins on the road. The head-to-head trends also favor the Bruins, as these two teams have met six times this season and the Rangers lost four of those contests.

New York did prevail 4-0 in Boston in the last game on March 13th, with Keith Kinkaid stopping 18 shots for his first shutout since 2018. The problem is that they will be without three of their best players on Thursday (more on that below). The Bruins are favored by 1.5 goals and the total is set at 5.5. USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the Bruins at -0.82 using his Rating numbers, and at -0.58 using his eigenvector analysis. Is there betting value with the Rangers +1.5 at BetOnline? Sagarin projects these two teams to combine for 5.61 goals.

Reeling Rangers Will Face Rask

The Rangers are in fifth place in the East Division with 58 points and they're officially eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs contention. Their offense is trending in the right direction though, scoring three goals or more in six of their last 11 games. The Bruins, on the other hand, are in third place in the East Division, just four points behind the Penguins and this is a must-win home game against the Rangers, who should be tired after their game against the Capitals last night.

Boston had a 3-2 lead in the third period after goals from Patrice Bergeron, Taylor Hall and Sean Kuraly but Yegor Sharangovich tied it up for New Jersey and forced overtime before Pavel Zacha scored the game-winner against Jaroslav Halak, ending the B's four-game winning streak. Jaroslav Halak made 17 saves in the loss for a Bruins team that held a 36-21 edge in shots on goal. It was Halak's first start since April 3rd. Tuukka Rask registered 20 saves on Monday's 3-0 win against the Devils and he's expected to start on Thursday. Rask was a bit inconsistent during the first two months of the season but he has a .948 save percentage in his last 10 appearances.

Prediction

I like the Bruins for my NHL picks. The Rangers will be playing in the second game of a back-to-back and Artemi Panarin, their top offensive player, will miss this game. New York has nothing to play for at this point, which is why they also ruled out Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren for the rest of the season and I see them struggling to score against Rask. Also keep in mind that the Bruins have given up two goals or less in seven of their last nine games. The favorite is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings and the Bruins are 6-0 in their last six home games and 4-0 in their last four Thursday games.

NHL Pick: Bruins -1.5 (+112) at Heritage Sports