There are three NHL playoff games coming up throughout the day Sunday. We've analyzed the NHL odds and think we know where to go with our hockey picks today.
The Rangers were able to avoid a devastating 0-2 hole by evening up the series at 1-1 apiece yesterday. Derick Brassard, Dan Boyle and Chris Kreider found the back of the net for New York, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots in the 3-2 victory.
Looking ahead to Sunday, we've got a very busy day ahead. Let's get to the analysis.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens
After a hard-fought win in the opening round of the series, the Lightning carried over their momentum from winning Games 6 and 7 over the Red Wings into a great showing in Game 1 against Montreal.
Though they were classified as NHL betting underdogs, Tampa Bay dug in and outlasted the hosts on their way to the double overtime win. Tyler Johnson had put the Lightning up 1-0 early in the third period, only for the Canadiens to find the equalizer later on in the period. Then, after a grueling stretch of overtime, Nikita Kucherov found the back of the net just over two minutes into the second overtime.
Game 2's NHL odds have the Canadiens favored to get back on track, and we're inclined to back the home team this time around. Desperation is a funny thing and we know we're going to see Montreal come out with a lot of urgency, knowing they can't fall into such a big hole. Back the Canadiens as the chalk.
NHL Pick: Montreal Canadiens -125
Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks wrapped up their opening-round series in six games (over Nashville), setting up a marquee matchup with the Wild. They have the home-ice advantage in the series and were able to protect that in a 4-3 Game 1 win.
It looked like it was going to be smooth sailing after Chicago raced out to a 3-0 lead after one period. However, the Blackhawks let their feet off the gas in the second, allowing three goals which in turn made things very interesting in the third. Instead of running away with the victory, Chicago had to buckle down and play disciplined hockey in order to preserve the win in Game 1.
Though they ended up on the losing side in the first meeting, the Wild have to be encouraged by how difficult they made things for the home team. That being said, it's hard to fade a team as talented and playoff-ready as the Blackhawks, who have been through countless battles together and came out stronger for it. With the likes of Toews, Keith and Kane leading the way, we like Chicago to go up 2-0 in the series.
NHL Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -130
Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks
No team has been more dominant than the Anaheim Ducks in the playoffs. They swept Winnipeg in four games, scoring 16 goals in the process, and they looked equally as good in Game 1 against Calgary two nights ago.
In the 6-1 win over the Flames at home, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf dominated, with Perry tallying two goals and two assists and Getzlaf picking up one goal and three assists. The NHL odds board showed Anaheim as a massive favorite (with lines over -200) and it was clear to see why.
We see more of the same tonight in Game 2, as the Ducks look to go up 2-0 before heading up north to Calgary. And, when we look closer, it's very difficult to see how the Flames will have any chance of keeping pace with this red-hot Anaheim team - in order to get bang for our buck, however, we're going to place our NHL picks on the Ducks' puck-line.
NHL Pick: Anaheim Ducks -1.5 (+160 at 5Dimes)