Retooled Boston bunch marches into Canada
Some wondered whether David Backes would endure a downtick in production after leaving the only team he had ever known over the summer. Clearly, though, Beantown suits him just fine.
The ex-St. Louis power forward guided the Bruins to a 6-3 victory in last week’s season opener, scoring a goal and adding two assists. He should play an equally important role in this evening’s bout against Winnipeg. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Jets odds of -125 to prevail. Boston, on the other hand, enters as a +105 underdog.
Backes spent the first 10 years of his NHL career as a member of the Blues, racking up 460 points and 969 penalty minutes in 727 contests. He also captained the squad through good times and bad, earning the adoration of peers and coaches alike. Yet the Bruins swooped in to sign the Minneapolis native on July 1. Coach Claude Julien has slotted him alongside Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for now.
Tonight, Backes & Co. will try to take advantage of Winnipeg’s quandary in net. Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson each allowed four goals right out of the gate. The club’s primary starter throughout 2015-16, Ondrej Pavelec, currently tends the pipes for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.
Boston obviously prefers its situation at backstopper. Tuukka Rask, a perennial All-Star, is expected to suit up following a one-game absence due to soreness. That knowledge alone makes us more than inclined to side with Julien’s crew.
MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: BRUINS +1.5