Two of the best teams in the NHL this season go head-to-head on Monday night in what could easily be a preview of the Stanley Cup finals, as the Boston Bruins host the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden.
The Bruins top the Atlantic Division with a 28-8-9 record to hold a five-point lead over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference.
Central Division leaders Winnipeg are two points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the Western Conference lead, but have played two games less.
The Jets are currently ranked third in the NHL with 64 points and they boast a better win percentage than both Boston and Vancouver as they have played fewer games.
All three aforementioned teams are listed at +850 to win the Stanley Cup this season, although the Edmonton Oilers lead the outright betting at +800.
|TD Garden, Boston, MA
|7 PM ET, Monday, January 22nd
|How to Watch
BOS Bruins to win -130
The Bruins endured a drop-off in form going into Christmas, but perhaps needed the break as they appear to have come back refreshed and invigorated as they have picked up at least a point in 12 of their 13 games since. Their only defeat in that span was at the hands of Pittsburgh on January 5.
The Bruins racked up the goals in a 9-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens last time out to make it four wins on the bounce and extend their point streak to eight games. They have won each of their last four games at TD Garden, winning each game by at least three goals.
The Jets went into the Christmas break on the back of a 5-1 win over Boston at the Canada Life Centre and have continued their fine form since by earning at least a point in 11 of their 12 games, winning 10.
Their post-Christmas run started with a 2-1 overtime defeat in Chicago but Winnipeg has only lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in the subsequent 11 games, with Saturday's 2-1 overtime win in Ottawa their second victory on the bounce.
On the face of it, Winnipeg might be worth chancing given their impressive road form (14-4-2) and that recent win over the Bruins, as well as their top-ranked defense.
However, they will be without their leading point scorer in Mark Scheifele on Monday night and that looks a big miss against the Bruins' fifth-ranked defense, particularly as the hosts boast a 15-3-3 home record.
What also helps the Bruins' chances in a game between two of the best defenses is their huge advantage on special teams, with Boston ranked top five on both the power play and penalty kill while the Jets are in the bottom 10 in each.
Boston had also won six straight against the Jets prior to December's loss.
David Pastrnak Over 1.5 Points +110
There is little surprise that David Pastrnak has been in fantastic form, ranking third in the NHL in goals (30) and points (66), while he is tied for ninth in assists (36).
The Czech right winger has been lights out of late to help regain that winning momentum for the Bruins as he has scored five goals and added four assists in a nine-point haul over his last four games - all wins since he was kept off the scoresheet when Boston went down 2-1 in overtime in Las Vegas.
After a career-best year as Boston broke all sorts of records last season, Pastrnak has established himself as the go-to guy in Boston's offense, and he looks decent value to maintain his current hot streak against the Jets.
Pastrnak - who ranks fifth in the NHL with 27 points on the powerplay - has notched three of his nine points in the last four games with the man advantage. Given Winnipeg's problems on special teams, he is certainly worth considering to score more than 0.5 points on the powerplay at +110.
Under 5.5 goals -105
Boston (2.64) and Winnipeg (2.25) rank fourth and first respectively in goals against per game played. which is no real surprise given the form shown between the pipes.
Those stats are improved by goaltenders Jeremy Swayman (2.37) and Connor Hellebuyck (2.15), so it is difficult to see this one being a high-scoring clash assuming both play to the peaks of their respective powers.
The Jets won last month's clash 5-1, but that was only the second time in six games between these two that more than five goals had been scored.
With Scheifele out and the Jets scoring more than two goals just once in their last four games - while being shutout by Philadelphia in that time - under 5.5 goals seems the way to go.
LW Milan Lucic, personal, out
C Mark Scheifele, lower body, out
C David Gustafsson, lower body, out
Boston have won their last four games, while they have picked up at least a point in each of their last eight. The Bruins have been impressive at home and boast a 15-3-3 record at TD Garden.
David Pastrnak ranks third in the NHL with 66 points and 30 goals, while he is tied ninth with 36 assists.
Winnpeg have won their last two games, while they have picked up at least a point in 16 of their last 17, winning 14 including a 5-1 success over Boston at home.
Mark Scheifele leads the Jets in points (41) - seven clear of Nikolaj Ehlers - and assists (27), but is out with a lower body injury.
Prior to their recent loss in Winnipeg, the Bruins had won the previous six games against the Jets.
|Boston Bruins overall wins
|Winnpeg Jets overall wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.