A couple of really entertaining games yesterday in the NHL playoffs. The Lightning and Canadiens went to double OT, where Tampa ended up stealing home ice from Montreal and forcing the Canadiens into a very important game 2. It looked like the game was going to be over a little sooner than it actually was after the Lightning stuffed the puck, and Carey price for that matter, into the Habs net. The goal was disallowed as a result of the transgression. Not to get down though, the Lightning responded with a big goal from the slot as Nikita Kucherov put a brilliant shot past Price. Big sigh or relief from the Lightning, it would have been a tough one to lose after looking like they had a win. Not to mention, the gaffe from Bishop in net. Late in the 3rd period he tried to snag a puck with his glove, a routine play, but he turned it into a difficult one that ended up in the back of the Lightning net. Recall back to the Red Wings series when he made a similar stupid play batting the puck out of the air into the net. For a guy that can play so good at times, it is remarkable how many mental mistakes he can make. Nevertheless, Bishop was excellent in net and he should be given credit for the victory.
Meanwhile in Chicago craziness ensued. The Blackhawks got up 3-0 and went into the 1st period intermission like that. You would assume that it was game over, nope, it was just beginning in fact. The Wild stormed all the way back to make it a 3-3 game, putting pressure on the Hawks not to make the comeback complete. However, like the Lightning, they were resilient and turned the game into a win. Game 2 begins today between the Capitals and Rangers, with the Caps stealing game 1 right from the Rangers. Big game for the Caps, as going back to Washington down 2-0 could spell trouble. It was only one game though, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Rangers are a very good team and can bounce back from a little adversity. Note the early start time of 12:30 in this game, so get your bets in early.
Washington Capitals @ N.Y. Rangers
After a loss in game 1 the Rangers really need this one in the worst way possible. If they want to still be considered as favorites to win the Cup this has to be a win. It appeared like they were going to come from behind and win that one, but Joel Ward had different ideas as he scored against Henrik with around a second remaining. The Capitals didn’t win by mistake, they are a good team, you have to be a good team to still be playing this time of year, so it wasn’t a fluke win there.
I find it difficult to say that the Rangers are going to lose two in a row, however. Note that they were fresh off a three game winning streak over the Penguins in the previous round. I am sure they were feeling a little too comfortable going into game 1. I think they got their wake up call in that encounter. Look for a strong effort from the Rangers in game 2. The chance of a split here in New York and then in Washington is a pretty good possibility. More of a play based on suspicion than anything else. I’m going with the Rangers to win today and tie this series up heading to Washington.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN -163 5DIMES – BEST ODDS