BOSTON, MA – Last week I prefaced the Sunday selections with unsteady confidence and still managed to avert disaster by going 2-2… or the same score of Friday’s Bruins-Rangers game before Captain Zdeno Chara scored the clincher. Improving on the 29-18 mark (61%) are today’s Free NFL Picks hiding in a Bruins versus Rangers recap.
FAVORITES As you know the Boston Bruins (2011 Stanley Cup winners and 2013 Runners Up) are my favorite sports team from which the nome de plume is a combination of an age old nickname and the NHL’s original Black and Gold. A current favorite coincidentally wears the same #54 as Dallas Cowboys HoFer Randy White but it’s having a teammate’s back that endears Bruins fans to Adam MacQuaid. Friday, when a 6’4″ Rick Nash plays tough guy against a diminutive Lundqvist-killer Torey Krug, the tall and nasty Adam MacQuaid made Nash aware of the accountability to such actions. Another hockey favorite is the old tyme, Gordie Howe Hat Trick of a goal, assist, and fight and when a Bruins player accomplishes the feat against the Blueshirts it is as sweet as the beating Chara’s knuckles took at the expense of Brian Boyles noggin. A “fight” is what it was called but Boyle didn’t throw a punch so we’ll label it a beating. CAROLINA -7 1/2
UNDERDOGS Like mostly all NHL teams visiting TD Garden, the Rangers were underdogs and had to know it as the Bruins were going to be ornery fresh off a 6-1 loss to the Red Wings. The Rangers fared well early on but folded when emotions ran high and the result was a Las Vegas-expected Boston victory. The favorites won the scrums, the fights, the face-offs, the goaltending duel, and most importantly, the game–just as they did last Spring in the Conference Semi-Finals. The underdogs get another crack at the B’s in March at MSG. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you all. KANSAS CITY +5 1/2
OVER Many Rangers fans are oversensitive to the fair criticism that King of No Cups receives and makes most supporters oversensitive to these comments. Again, my issue is the nickname “King” based on the goalie’s overwhelming international hockey exploits and not what has occurred in the NHL. It’s unfair to say he’s overrated but when the Rangers play the Bruins they’re usually overmatched and overpowered to which it can’t be overstated. The Bruins were helped by another “over” yesterday–the Rangers PP was 0-fer-5 with only two shots on the man advantage. NYG/WASH OVER 45 1/2
UNDER For most of this early NHL season the Bruins have underperformed but still find themselves atop the Eastern Conference standings. Sh!t, I can’t wait until the new additions understand the Bruins system and maximize their skills under these conditions. After another physical affair on the back end of consecutive games, the Rangers might be temporarily underwater after yesterday’s reunion with John Tortorella and his new charges. Under NHL realignment, the Blueshirts appear to benefit by qualifying as the second or third best in the Metropolitan Division and can possibly have fewer points then the wild card teams or the ninth and tenth place finishers. TENN/IND UNDER 45 1/2
Tune in tomorrow for MTM giant, DJ Eberle.