Another exciting game in the NHL playoffs yesterday that featured more turns than a soap. A 3-0 lead for the Ducks, the Blackhawks without a shot 15 minutes into the game, and all the momentum with the Ducks at home, game over? Wrong. Ducks with a 4-2 lead with under 5 minutes remaining in regulation, game over? Nope. The Blackhawks got two improbable goals to tie the thing up and head to yet another overtime session in this series. The Hawks had the Ducks on the ropes at that point heading into overtime, but they didn’t get to find one shot on Anderson to test his nerves. Instead, Bickell made a bone headed play turning the puck over seconds into the frame, which ended up leading to a goal for the Ducks, and a win in overtime 45 seconds in. The Ducks had that game, then the Blackhawks had it after the tied it up. Which is often the case though in these playoff games, one unnecessary play by a player ended the game. That is what happened last night in the case of the Blackhawks. I don’t know how they come back after that game to win two games in a row and take the series. That is a serious low blow after completing the improbably comeback only to lose 45 seconds into overtime. The game resulted in a win for us and that’s all that really matters, so cheers to us.
The Rangers are in another do or die situation in these playoffs. They were in three of them in the last round against the Capitals, and will need to perform exceptionally well for the next two games, if there are two games, to be able to be on the winning end again. Like I’ve said before though, this isn’t the choke artists known as the Washington Capitals they have in front of them. Also, Steven Stamkos is beginning to warm up finally, which was almost a foregone conclusion that he was going to get into some kind of groove. Henrik Lundqvist has had his struggles against the Lightning, but it wasn’t the issue in game 5. The offense for the Rangers just seemed to leave it all out there in the previous game, scoring 5 but then not getting 1 in their last meeting. They’ll need to find the back of the net tonight against Ben Bishop, or it’ll be another end to the year with Henrik’s head laying low in the locker room following the game. I’m sure the Rangers have a lot of fight left in them, and have been in this situation before, so we’ll see how it all plays out.
N.Y. Rangers @ Tampa Bay Lightning
I’m going to come out and say it right away that this is one of the more difficult games to handicap in the playoffs for me. On one hand the Lightning are the best team in the league at home and already had their slip up in this series, but then you have a resilient Rangers team with one of arguably the best goaltenders in the NHL in net. However, what Lundqvist is going to show up? The one we seen in the last two games, or the one that was struggling against this team.
The Rangers have been able to pull off some comebacks in many series before, most recently against the Capitals, but I have to think their luck is going to run dry soon. I do think it runs dry tonight in Tampa. I want to take the Rangers here because of the better price we are getting with them, I really do. But I thought the same thing with the Blackhawks yesterday and that wouldn’t have worked out well. I see the Lightning and Rangers shaking hands at center ice tonight, as the Lightning get to Lundqvist one last time before moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
PICK: LIGHTNING TO WIN -130 5DIMES – BEST ODDS