With the trade deadline acquisitions of Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis, the Penguins have improved significantly.  Play Pittsburgh on the money line tonight on the road at  Boston.

On Thursday in the NHL, I’m going to take a shot with Pittsburgh, a team playing well that just improved significantly with a trade earlier in the week. The Penguins are small road underdogs of +105 to Boston, a team that is on a four-game winning streak achieved against sub-par competition.

Pittsburgh has been anchored by two players recently, second-year phenom Evgeni Malkin and top-notch goaltender Ty Conklin. Those two players have often been almost all the team has needed to come away with wins of late, to the moderate unease of management. But the Penguins have now added two quality players to their roster, acquired in a trade with Atlanta, star right winger Marian Hossa and gritty forward Pascal Dupuis. The Pens were able to acquire those two without giving up a whole lot in return, mostly because they will both be unrestricted free agents next year. But for now, Pittsburgh looks to have gotten significantly better, and they are likely to be a tough opponent against anyone from here on out this season.

Boston is a quality team, to be sure, and they do have good goaltending. Tim Thomas is off a shutout and Boston has won four straight. But the Bruins have been playing competition mired in slumps and bad circumstances recently, and playing Pittsburgh on Thursday is sure to be a different challenge.

This will likely be a very close and competitive game, but I like Pittsburgh’s momentum and mindset to pull out a win. Getting them at underdog odds looks to me to have some value, so I’ll be on Pittsburgh +105 Thursday evening.