Last night was a successful one for us here at The Sports Geek as we nailed our featured selection on the Bruins and went 3-1 overall on the evening. It was an exciting Game 4 in Toronto between the Leafs and Bruins and even though Toronto controlled much of the game and the overtime period, the Bruins put the dagger into the hearts of Leafs Nation and sent their loyal fans home in a foul mood.
Tonight we will focus on a pivotal Game 5 showdown between the depleted Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators. It has been an incredibly feisty series thus far between these two teams, and the Sens know they’ve got a glorious opportunity to move on to Round 2 tonight.
Ottawa Senators (+110) @ Montreal Canadiens (-130)
The Sens enter Thursday evening in the Bell Centre with a 3-1 series lead and a wonderful opportunity for some early rest and relaxation before moving onto Round 2. While they haven’t always been the best team throughout this series, they have definitely mean the more opportunistic. These teams have grown a serious dislike for one another but Ottawa has done well to maintain its composure and come up big when it matters most.
Craig Anderson has played remarkably well all year for Ottawa and expect that to continue throughout the post-season. Ottawa, battling injuries all season long has finally gotten mostly healthy, and this time it’s their opponent battling the serious injuries. Montreal is as depleted as they’ve been all year, and as a result I just cannot see them competing tonight. The Habs have loads of character but the Sens smell blood, and expect them to capitalize on this opportunity.
Not only will Montreal be without their team capitain Brian Gionta, they’re also missing Brandon Prust, Ryan White, Lars Eller, and star goaltender Carey Price. The Habs are a resilient bunch, but overcoming those injuries will be nearly impossible. Peter Budaj has been alright this year in relief of Price, but their offensive and defensive losses will ultimately prove too much to overcome. A key strength of Ottawa is their depth through all four lines. And with all of Montreal’s injuries, don’t expect the Canadiens to be able to compete. P.K. Subban confidently claimed his Habs were better than Ottawa yesterday, and while that may be the case at full strength, I don’t give this depleted Montreal squad much of a shot.
The Sens have a solid blend of youthful exuberance and veteran leadership and expect that experienced group to stress the importance of finishing the series off tonight. Ottawa will not want to pump life into Montreal and even though it’s always a raucous crowd in the Bell Centre, expect the Sens to be the better team and secure victory tonight. Even if the Sens are not at their best, as is often the case Craig Anderson is amazing in goal and will continue to do so. At a nice underdog price, look for the Sens to come through and send Montreal home with an early start to their off-season.
PICK = Ottawa (+110)
Our bonus picks did well last night, going 2-1 and we’ll look to keep up the good work Thursday night. While the Pens and Blackhawks should both win, the prices do not really warrant a wager. However, we do have one total play for the night. Read on below for our thoughts on the Hawks and Wild Game 5.
Bonus Pick #1: Under 5 (-120) In Minnesota/Chicago – This series is pretty much over and expect the Blackhawks to finish it off in routine fashion tonight. The Blackhawks can score, but they care about winning more, and right now what they’re doing is playing very tight defensively. Corey Crawford has been exceptional in goal and Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been amazing on the blue-line. Minnesota has struggled to score all series and expect them to go down with a whimper tonight. Zach Parise has been a no-show all series long as the Hawks have had their way with the high-priced star. Chicago has the Cup in mind and will play a solid game to gain additional rest. They’ll limit the Wild’s chances en route to a convincing Round 1 victory. Something along the lines of a 3-1 or 3-0 score-line seems fitting for this contest.