We're getting down to the down and dirty, or should we say most meaningful games of the playoffs so far. Which two NHL picks stand out most here this evening?
A Look At Yesterday
The Red Wings were unable to get it done and push their advantage to 3-1 in the series. Instead, they lost and now head back to Tampa Bay a little down on themselves, with the series at two games apiece.
Elsewhere, Washington had little trouble in a Game 5 win over the Islanders, scoring five goals along the way. The Predators stayed alive in their series with the Blackhawks, picking up a 5-2 victory at home. Chicago now heads back home for a chance to wrap up the series in front of their own fans. Lastly, the Canucks survived a grueling test to beat Calgary 2-1 at home and cut the series to 3-2. Vancouver and Nashville were both on their last legs and needed a win, and they came through.
A Look Ahead
Three more games await us on Friday, and we're here to break down the NHL betting odds and hand out our favorite plays. We will first go over Montreal's date with Ottawa in a crucial Game 5.
The Canadiens, while not the biggest favorites on the board (that honor belongs to the Penguins), they're still sitting at a premium price for tonight's matchup. The odds show Montreal quoted at -160, with some outlets going all the way up to -175 in some instances. That means the Senators are roughly +150 underdogs.
It's understandable why the lines are how they are though. The Canadiens have allowed the fewest goals in the entire NHL, and that's served them well so far in the playoffs. They won each of the first three games in this opening round series, including a 2-1 road overtime win in Game 3. That all but assured Montreal of a spot in the next round.
The Canadiens still need to show though, but we don't doubt they will. They got a wakeup call in Game 4, a 1-0 loss, that it wouldn't come easy, so we think they'll be ready to go tonight. We like Montreal to wrap this puppy up this evening.
NHL Pick: Canadiens -160 at Pinnacle
Wild vs. Blues
Our next stop is in St. Louis, where the Blues will play host to the Minnesota Wild. The series is tied at 2-2, so this is a hugely important matchp that could end up shifting the tide in an emphatic manner. Whoever gets the victory tonight holds a huge advantage ahead of Game 6.
When we run over the hockey odds, we find St. Louis is listed at a firm -140 to get the job done at home this evening. The Blues ranked near the top of the league in many of the major statistical categories, and their well-rounded team was on full display in a 6-1 hammering of Minnesota in Game 4. It was a top-notch showing from everyone, with Vladimir Tarasenko registering two goals and Jake Allen having little trouble getting the win. That kind of a victory has to do wonders for confidence in the St. Louis camp.
We're not saying the Wild won't be able to hang, however. Minnesota has been doing all the right things too and has quickly shown it will be a dogfight in this series. The Wild's top-ranked penalty kill will need to keep being an instrumental factor, but we do worry that the Wild will have lost some swagger after getting annihilated at home.
It's a lot of chalk again, but we're going to play it safe and back the home favorites once more. The Blues are in a great situation to carry over their newly-found momentum, and we anticipate them doing so.
NHL Pick: Blues -140 at BetOnline