2014 NHL Playoff Record (23-22-1, -0.25 units)
We killed it last night, that is if your definition of killing it is going 2-0, and finally climbed over the .500 mark in the postseason. It's about time we swept the board and as the playoffs wear on, it appears we are getting a bead on what teams are made of, and when they're poised to pounce.
The Rangers did exactly what we thought they would do last evening by winning the game 2-1, and taking the series 4-3 based on momentum, and better goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist proved how critical goaltending is in the postseason (as if we didn't already know) and what happens when you don't have a bona fide stonewall manning the crease, ala Marc-Andre Fleury.
When the dust settled we had the Rangers +145 in NHL odds, and it was a sweet underdog winner to complement our second winner on the day: the slightly favored Chicago Blackhawks. The home team had won eight consecutive meetings between the Hawks and the Wild, but I was convinced Chicago would break that streak last night, and sho 'nuff they did with a 2-1 victory, making it a 2-0 night. The 2.45 units we added cut our losses this postseason to nearly nothing. Let's get on the right side of the ledger starting now.
Canadiens vs. Bruins
Being a Boston guy, my beloved Bruins are obviously my sentimental choice in this one, and it is difficult for even a grizzled veteran of the gambling wars like me to separate the fan from the punter. Alas, I will not be betting a side on this game tonight, because the heavy juice the offshore bookmakers are dealing on Boston precludes me to do so. If this were an even-money proposition, I would side with the team with the home ice advantage, in this case the Bruins.
Upon reviewing the NHL odds on this one, I decided that the total may have some value. I don't always bet totals in hockey, but when I do (particularly in the playoffs), I largely side with 'under' because the goaltending is routinely elite, and offenses get tight. I suspect the same for tonight's clash in Boston. Tuukka Rask and Carey Price are amongst the top five goalies in the world, but neither has consistently played like it in this series. Yes, they have been victimized by crazy caroms and fluky deflections, but they have also allowed goals that they are expected to stop. That's in the rear view mirror because tonight they come to play.
Rask had his roughest outing of the playoffs in Game 6 while the defense was lackadaisical. As an aside, is it me, or is the pink elephant in the room the fact that Chara has had a very mediocre if not subpar series?
Anyway, look for tight checking, a lack of penalties, thereby eliminating Montreal's propensity to light the lamp with the man-advantage, and elite goaltenders playing like elite goaltenders. Looks like an 'under' to me boys.
Free NHL Pick: Play 'under' 5 (-120) at Bet365.com.
Over the last five games played in Los Angeles between the Ducks and the Kings, the 'under' has clicked three times, 'over' once, and then, there was a push on March 8th when the Ducks won 3-2. I can't tell you who wins tonight, because the Ducks seem to be gaining momentum, and have a rookie goaltender who has provided some spark... but the Kings are gritty, and have the luxury of Jonathan Quick between the pipes. I wouldn't bet this with your dick - er - I mean money.
The total does look appetizing enough. Just barely enough, so don't bet the rent on this one. My advice is to crack open a cold one and watch the defense take over.
Free NHL Pick: As one of your NHL picks play 'under' 5 (-120) at WilliamHill.com.