The Boston Bruins will try to win three consecutive games for the first time since mid-January when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night as +140 underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Bruins have benefited from the recent return of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who had been sidelined by injury for three games. Rask has been outstanding since returning to action, stopping 57 of 58 shots in Boston’s last two road victories, and he now sports a perfect 5-0 record going into Thursday night’s Bruins-Lightning betting matchup at Amalie Arena.
The Bruins were held winless in three outings without Rask, surrendering 14 total goals in road losses to the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers.
With the Finnish star back between the pipes, Boston eked out a 1-0 victory in Detroit last Saturday. The club followed up with a 2-1 win in Florida on Tuesday night, marking the fourth time the total has finished UNDER in Rask’s five starts this season, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
Boston now sports a 5-4-0 record overall, including four victories in six road contests. The club’s recent success away from TD Garden comes in stark contrast to its dismal performance down the stretch last season, which it finished with just two wins in its final eight games on the road.
Tampa Bay will return home to face the Bruins following a lengthy six-game road trip, which it capped with a decisive 6-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
The Lightning struggled to generate offense in their previous three outings, scoring a single goal in each of their losses to the Canadiens, Rangers and New Jersey Devils. That ended a season-opening offensive explosion by the Lightning, who averaged four goals per game over their first six contests.
Tampa Bay is pegged as a -179 betting favorite for Thursday’s matchup, despite going winless in its past two home dates with the Bruins. Boston has dominated the Lightning overall in recent years, winning 12 of 16, including a 1-0 road win in its last meeting in early March, and it has seen the total finish UNDER in three straight meetings.
The Bruins will return home Saturday to take on the Rangers. Boston is winless in three against New York, including a 5-2 loss at Madison Square Garden last week. The Buffalo Sabres then visit TD Garden next Monday night before the Bruins head north of the border for a clash with the rival Canadiens next Tuesday.
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