2014 NHL Playoff Record (16-19-1, -4.85 units)
It's Saturday morning at about 6:45 AM and I have yet to down my first cup of coffee to help combat the sports hangover that's throbbing at my temples and pilfering my bankroll. Normally I roll out of bed, take my Rx pills (lest anybody get the idea that this middle-aged writer is poppin' mollies first thing) and my fish oil, chug down a glass of water that's perpetually on my desk and begin writing my assigned article. I enjoy the routine and most mornings I am quite content. But this morning is different.
Yesterday I had one of those "gotta hunch, bet a bunch" games staring me right in the eyes. I was sold on the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins would put the Rangers out to pasture and roll into the next round. I had no fear of the -170 NHL odds because juice only matters if you lose and this bet wasn't losing. Fast forward to this morning, after replaying the Penguins 5-1 loss in my mind all night long and then having to contend with the six goals scored in the Blackhawks/Wild tilt after assuring myself that Under 5 (-105) in the second half of my NHL picks was the key to my financial freedom.
Alas, it was an 0-2 night and if I were a race horse instead of a handicapper I would be preparing for my next career at the Elmer's Glue factory. Let's dust ourselves off, vow not to chase and see if we can get back some of that dough we lost last night. Now where the hell is my coffee?
I think the Bruins broke the backs of their rivals when new kid Matt Fraser was in the right place at the right time and swept a loose puck near the crease past the pad of Carey Price to secure the 1-0 Game 4 victory. It wasn't pretty but it didn't have to be because it was overtime and the red light went on. I guess one could say that the last minute call-up from the Providence Bruins got lucky but then again, this entire series has been a succession of serendipitous events that have determined the fates of these teams. Weird bounces, funky deflections and crazy caroms have had more to do with this series than clean, crisp passes leading to a laser beam roofed to the top shelf.
So what do we do here? Well, the B's are back at the Garden which will be rockin' this evening and the Canadiens know that if they go back to Montreal up 3-2 then they have an excellent chance of pulling an upset. But here's my takeaway from Thursday night's game. Tuukka Rask finally played like, well, Tuukka Rask. He stopped 33 shots and Price was almost as good with 34 of 35 shots saved. These elite netminders are taking over and I believe there have already been enough fluky goals to last the entire series so I don't see that as much of a factor going forward.
I look for another close checking game with the Bruins imposing their superior size and strength. I believe Rask may even have another shutout in him as the Canadiens will be on their heels from the moment the puck drops. I'm going to give you a triple header in this game because I see a 3-0 Bruins victory in store for tonight.
NHL Picks: Bruins -185 Bet365.com.
NHL Picks: Bruins - 1 ½ (+165) at WilliamHill.com.
NHL Picks: Under 5 (-120) at Bet365.com.
Who wins, who loses, who cares?! Goaltending will rule the day here as Jonathan Quick and whomever the Ducks decide to man the pipes (looks like it will be Jonas Hiller) will stymie the respective opposition offenses. LA's defense is too good for the Ducks to go off and the Ducks have too many injured players to field a full complement of their offensive fury.
LA wins close checking games as their offense is pedestrian at very best. This will be a low scoring affair so let's not get cute and throw a dart to determine the winner. Forget the side and play the total for your NHL picks.
NHL Picks: Under 5 (-120) at Bet365.com