Swinger's 2014 NHL Playoff Record (10-13, -3.15 units)
The Blackhawks did what we thought they would do last night and that was dominate in a 5-2 victory over the upstart Minnesota Wild. Hey, at -200 in NHL odds that's exactly what they should have done, however the same could not be said of the Pittsburgh Penguins who dropped their opener in overtime to the Rangers.
All in all, it was a 1-1 kind of evening but we lost 0.55 units due to the juice we laid on the Pens. Let's try to put together an exacta tonight and get some of our dough back. Keep the faith boys, there' still a long way to go.
Canadiens vs. Bruins
This is a must win for the Bruins and they know it. There is not a whole lot separating them from their northern neighbors and if they go to Montreal down 2-0 it's rather likely they will split two games up there and come back to Boston down 3-1. That's not where they want to be so in order to avoid all this drama they have to be looking at this Game 2 as do or die.
In their last game they fell victim to mediocre goaltending. There haven't been many occasions over the last several years that Boston has had that problem but Tuukka Rask, the routinely sublime netminder for the B's, let in a pair of relative softies and it cost his team the win. If you listened to Rask's postgame comments, he was candid in his self-evaluation. "I sucked", said Boston's netminder.
On the other hand Carey Price was besieged all night long yet he held the fort in a double overtime thriller and secured the 4-3 win for the Canadiens. But today (don't forget the game is at 12:35 ET), I see the same dominant Bruins play with a different result. Rask will be on and the Bruins will play a more physical brand of hockey. They can't skate with the Canadiens but they can intimidate them. The Bruins are one of the biggest, most physical clubs in the league and if the Canadiens feel froggy the Bruins will encourage them to jump.
Play the Bruins -200 at WilliamHill.com in your NHL picks.
Kings vs. Ducks
The teams are only 30 miles from each other and the home crowd in both arenas may be mitigated somewhat due to the close proximity of the others fans streaming in to support their road warriors. But home or not, the LA Kings have been white hot and are facing off against their California neighbors due to sweeping the last four games of the series against San Jose after being down 3-0 and making vacation plans.
The Ducks took the first two games in the opening round against the Dallas Stars and then dropped a pair in the Lone Star State. They then secured victories in the last two games of the series to win in six games which has allowed them a little bit of rest since the start of this series. They will need it because they are facing a superb defense and a goaltender in Jonathan Quick who can steal a series all by himself.
Meanwhile, the Ducks are still grappling with which netminder will get the nod in tonight's game. Frederik Anderson got the start but was pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots in the clincher against Dallas. Jonas Hiller saved the day in relief and stopped all 12 shots he faced in overtime to contribute to the victory over the Stars.
Though the Ducks have the advantage offensively their goaltending is a definite question mark. LA has all the momentum while the Ducks have been lying in wait and wondering which team they will face. I'll take the team with the steam.
Play LA +115 at Bet365.com.