2014 NHL Playoff Record (20-21-1, -2.40 units)
Our homework didn’t let us down as we picked the right side of the Rangers/Penguins tilt last night and allowed us to cash with the Rangers -110 in NHL odds as a solid choice to win the crucial Game 6 at home. That was the good news. Unfortunately I got seduced by a generous line that the offshore bookmakers were dealing in the second game of an NHL twin bill when they offered the Minnesota Wild as +170 underdogs (the NHL odds in this one actually closed in most shops at +180) but all that juice didn’t mean a thing as the Blackhawks improved their record at the United Center to 6-0 in the postseason with a hard fought 2-1 victory.
Alas, we kissed our sister again and did the splits. No units made or lost and the taste of my sister’s lips is becoming unsettling familiar. We stand at 20-21 on the postseason and down over two units. We still have plenty of time to scratch and claw our way over .500 so why not start now?!
When the Bruins got the winning overtime goal in Game 4 from a last minute addition to the roster named Matt Fraser, I stated that Boston had essentially broken the backs of their fierce rivals from the North. Game 5 in Boston appeared to be a foregone conclusion after securing a 1-0 OT victory at the Bell Centre which is why I predicted a dominant victory from the Bruins at home and they delivered with a money line winner and covered the -1 ½ goals on the puck line with a 4-2 victory. I cashed this NHL pick on both lines and celebrated right along with the Boys from Beantown.
Tonight, the Bruins travel to Montreal and are hoping to close out the series. They understand that the key to their success is imposing their physicality and maintaining their relentless forechecking. Now before you get any idea that I believe Boston can simply steamroll the Canadiens into submission I want to disabuse you of that notion. Though the Habs are a swift skating, talented club they are not the kind to back down from a fight. But that doesn’t mean they’ll win that battle nor does it mean they can fight fire with fire and beat the B’s at their own game. It simply means they’re a game, tough group but tonight they will find out that the Bruins’ superior defense will ultimately decide the series between two teams that stack up very evenly on the ice.
NHL Picks: Boston -130 at Bet365.com.
It is ironic that a pair of spare parts have saved the talent laden Ducks from a date with despair. Right winger Devante Smith-Pelly scored what proved to be the only goal the Ducks would need in their 2-0 Game 4 victory while seldomly used netminder John Gibson was hastily summoned and summarily shutdown the Kings in that same game. These two teammates at Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, are the reason why the Ducks are knotted at two games apiece with Gibson getting the starting nod over the mercurial tandem of Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen.
We’ve seen this movie before though not often. A rookie goaltender comes out of the blue to steal the show and become the unlikely sensation of the postseason. While one victory doesn’t necessarily mean Gibson will repeat his sensational performance, the 20-year-old Pittsburgh native has been stellar at both the minor league and NHL levels when he’s been given the opportunity. Gibson made his debut for the Ducks last month and shutout the Canucks 3-0. He is currently 4-0 for Anaheim and has stopped 111 of 115 shots. Gibson also backstopped the U.S. national team to a bronze medal last year at the World Championships where people began to sit up and take notice.
Anaheim now has all their ducks in a row (if you’ll pardon the pun and I don’t blame you if you don’t) as the superstars are no doubt aware they are being overshadowed by a couple of kids. LA had their run but now it appears Anaheim has stability between the pipes and a fresh start at home after taking the last two games in Los Angeles, this combination of talent and momentum is too good to pass up.
NHL Picks: Ducks -130