The lone game on the NHL schedule gave us a winner yesterday, as the New York Rangers made it a 1-1 series against the Washington Capitals. A big win for the Rangers, not wanting to go on the road down 2-0 to Ovechkin and company they came through. There were no late game heroics out of the Capitals this time around. They’ll need to find another hero at home in Washington. It looked like Ovechkin was going to be one, making a gorgeous goal against Lundqvist. In the play he split the defense and ended up being on his knees when he let the shot go. The puck found the back of the net, but you don’t get style points in the NHL. That wonderful goal wasn’t enough to get another win. It looked pretty and will make the highlight reels, but at the end of the day the Rangers are the ones that got the win. Garbage goals are good as pretty goals. This was an early game so there were no late games in the NHL, which was a bit of a drag. But today we get a nice day and night of action, as three games take flight in the NHL playoffs.
After what was the worst stretch of the NHL for me, I have bounced back in the NHL in a big way. If it weren’t for one of the most awful beats I have had in the NHL in that Blues/Wild game, where I was on the UNDER, we’d be sitting even prettier at the moment. Nevertheless, big gains have been made in the playoffs and we are thankful for it. When you hit rock bottom the only way is up and we have definitely gone back up, and hopefully, we stay there and don’t go down. There is another pick I like today so let’s look to back up a successful run in the playoffs with another success pick today.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens are in a similar position as the New York Rangers were yesterday. They need to come up with a win to avoid going on the road down 2-0. It may be even more important for Montreal than the Rangers, because the Lightning statistically are the best home team in the NHL. Can you imagine the Habs coming back from down that? I certainly can’t, and I don’t see it happening if they lose today against the Lightning. Game 1 provided edge of your seat action, with the Lightning finding themselves on the winning side of a tightly fought battle. Like most double overtime games, there isn’t much separating the two teams, and in game 1 there wasn’t much.
Similar to the Rangers on Saturday, I expect us to see a hungry Canadiens’ team that comes out fast out of the gate. They know it, and we all know it, they can’t afford to lose this game. For teams that are comparatively similar to one another in talent, looking at motivation is a good way to find a winner. The Lightning are playing with house money tonight and know they are still in good shape heading home regardless of the outcome. Sure they want to win, but we should see a desperate effort out of the Canadiens in Montreal. I don’t think this is going to be a quick series, it should get to 6 or 7 games. If that is going to happen a win by the Canadiens probably needs to happen today. I expect it to, so my NHL playoffs pick for today is leaning that way.
PICK: CANADIENS TO WIN -126 5DIMES – BEST ODDS