Friday's NHL Picks: Elite Duo of Money Lines for Tonight's Series Openers

Steven Suarez

Friday, May 1, 2015 2:25 PM GMT

Two more high-intensity playoff games await on Friday, with Chicago opening its series at home against Minnesota and Montreal taking on Tampa Bay at home. Let's examine the NHL odds on offer.

The second round started off with a bang on Thursday, with Washington going into New York and earning a hard-fought 2-1 victory in Game 1, a victory that has given them control of the series early on. Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist and Braden Holtby registered 31 saves to lead the Capitals to the win.

Later on in the night, Anaheim had little trouble dominating Game 1 at home against Calgary. The tandem of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf was dominant as ever, totaling three goals and five assists between them in the 6-1 victory. It was quite an emphatic way to start off the second round for the high-flying Ducks.

Looking ahead to Friday, we should be in store for more terrific playoff action.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens 
The Canadiens reached the second round by topping the Ottawa Senators 4-2 in the first round. Carey Price stood his ground in net and the likes of P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty came through when it mattered most.

They will open the second round at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who survived a grueling series with the Detroit Red Wings to win in seven games. In Game 7, the Lightning got a top-notch goaltending performance from Ben Bishop, who stopped all 31 shots he faced in the 2-0 victory.

The NHL betting odds for the opening matchup tonight show Montreal favored at a -125 price to secure the win. You can back Steven Stamkos and the Lightning at +115 or so, with the total at five goals for now. Most of the action is coming in on the UNDER (-125) when it comes to the O/U.

So who do we like with our hockey picks?

We actually think Tampa Bay is in a great spot to come in and make a statement in Game 1. This is the NHL's most prolific offense we're talking about, and the Lightning showed they could get it done on the road in the playoffs by winning twice in Detroit, including a Game 6 victory which kept their postseason hopes alive. We're taking Tampa Bay at the plus price.

NHL Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning +115 at GTBets.

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Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Both Chicago and Minnesota won their respective series in six games, with the Blackhawks getting the best of the Nashville Predators and the Wild taking care of the St. Louis Blues.

Chicago was put to the test by Nashville, but was able to take advantage of a Game 1 road win to set themselves up for success. The Blackhawks wrapped up the series by beating the Predators 4-3 in Game 6, with defenseman Duncan Keith having a huge night with one goal and two assists. Keith finished with seven points in the series, with Jonathan Toews (three goals and five assists) and Patrick Kane (two goals and five assists) also showing up big in the first round.

As for the Wild, they outlasted the St. Louis Blues in six games, thanks to Zach Parise (seven points), Jason Pominville (two goals and three assists), Mikael Granlund (one goal and four assists) and Mikael Granlund (three goals and one assist) among others.  

Tonight the two teams will square off in Game 1 in the Windy City, and the NHL odds board has the hosts favored by a firm margin. They're quoted at right around -130 to grab the victory, with Minnesota listed at +130 and the total at five runs. 

We think Chicago is going to come out and protect home ice with gusto in Game 1 and will therefore back them with our NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -130 

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