Game 5 Bruins versus Canadiens
The Canadiens host the Bruins on Thursday at the Belle Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with the opening face-off slated for 7:35 PM ET. This will be Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series in which Montreal leads 2-1. According to NHL betting odds Boston is a -130 money line road favorite and the posted total is 5.0. Montreal has defeated Boston is 8 of their last 10 meetings. These clubs have seen just 1 of their last 6 head-to-head encounters stay under the total.
No Time to
Panic for the Bruins
It’s as close to a must game for the Bruins tonight than they would’ve hoped for at this juncture. They can ill afford to lose tonight and fall into a 3-1 hole in the series. That occurrence certainly wouldn’t be an insurmountable deficit for a team the caliber of Boston, but the odds would certainly be stacked against them. The Bruins will also look to avoid a deficit of 2-goals or more tonight, which they’ve encountered in each of the first 3-games of this series. They were able to storm back in Game 2 of the series by scoring 4 answered goals in the final 10 minutes of the 3rd period to escape for a 5-3 win. However, having to continually fight back from 2-goal deficits in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is more times than not a recipe for disaster. On a positive note, Boston has outshot the Canadiens in this series by a combined 114-87.
on Rask to Play Big
The Bruins will be counting on Tuukka Rask to step up his game. Rask has been less than stellar so far in this series posting a below average .884 save percentage. Rask was terrific in the Bruins opening round win against Detroit, especially in the last 4-games of that series when he allowed just 3-goals, and posted a brilliant .972 save percentage. Boston has gone just 2-6 in their last 8 road games. The Bruins have gone over the total in 11 of 13 road games this season when facing a division opponent.
The Canadiens have to be elated by the play of their star goaltender Carey Price, who’s arguably put together a career year to this point. Price has gone 6-1 so far this postseason with a rock solid .912 save percentage. Price enters tonight having gone 17-4 in his last 21 starts while posting an outstanding .932 save percentage in those outings. Price was also the #1 goaltender on Team Canada’s 2014 gold medal winning team in Sochi.
the Upset of a Bitter Rival
The Canadiens know with a win tonight they can take a firm hold of the series, and put the #1 seed overall in the NHL Playoffs on the brink of elimination. The flip side of that equation is a loss would find the series tied at 2-2 heading back to Boston, and Montreal will have also surrendered home ice advantage in doing so. This is a Canadiens team which is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and going back to the end of the regular season has gone 17-5 in their previous 22-games. Montreal has scored 26-goals in 7 playoff games, and has scored 3 or more in all 7. Montreal has gone a dismal 6-18 at home the last 3 seasons following a game in which they scored 4-goals or more.
There’s a ton of character and veteran leadership in that Bruins dressing room. The core group of this team has been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in the past 3 postseasons, and won’t be rattled when facing adversity at this time of the year. I look for Boston to play their best game of the 2014 playoffs thus far in tonight’s game.
Free Hockey Pick: Boston -130 over Montreal