Quite the interesting day yesterday in the Stanley Cup playoffs as both the Blues and Penguins grabbed 3-0 strangleholds in their first-round series, while the Canadiens and Oilers earned road wins to take 2-1 leads in theirs.
It’s been an incredible late-season meltdown by the Wild. Minnesota looked like it may be the best team in hockey when it had a 43-17-6 record after 66 games, but now Bruce Boudreau looks like he’s on his way to yet another stunning first-round exit.
There are 4 games tonight in the Cup playoffs, with the Senators, Bruins, Capitals and Leafs all hoping to take 2-1 series leads with victories tonight. In the West, the Blackhawks and Flames both need wins to avoid going down 0-3, and those are the two games we’ve focused on below with breakdowns and opinions on the best ways to bet them.
Who are you betting on tonight, and why? Let us know in the comments section below. And good luck tonight!
Be sure to check out our live odds page for updated odds on today’s games.
The obvious pick in this game is the Blackhawks, the top seed in the West whose season is all but over if they lose this game.
But there are some serious red flags when it comes to betting on Chicago. Dating back to the regular season, they’ve lost 6 straight and 8 of 10. Not all of those games mattered, of course, but it’s still something to be concerned about if you’re looking to bet on the Hawks. Chicago has also failed to score more than 2 goals in 5 of its last 6 games, and allowed 3+ goals in 5 of its last 6. Coming off two shutout losses at home, it’s hard to know if they’re frustrated and have lost confidence, or that simply means they bring it harder tonight and start getting some results.
The Predators have been in this position before – last year, in fact, when they won their first two games of the playoffs in Anaheim. Nashville then returned home to lose the next two games, though they still eventually eliminated the Ducks in 7 games. A big concern here for the Predators has to be their first period play at home. It’s been bad all year (outscored 33-25) and now the Hawks, who have been a strong first period road team, will bring urgency from the opening puck drop.
The value in this game is on the Preds, considering that the Blackhawks were underdogs in their first two trips to Nashville this year (including +125 on March 4) but are now short favourites tonight. But we can’t discount the Hawks’ championship pedigree here and will be very surprised if they don’t bounce back tonight. We’re personally going with a half-unit on the Blackhawks first period moneyline (-110 at 5Dimes) and a half-unit on the Chicago full-game moneyline (-106 at 5Dimes.)
Money’s been coming on on the Flames today, moving Calgary from an opener of -120 at Pinnacle to -131 as we write this. The argument for betting the Flames is as clear as it is for the Blackhawks – a loss puts you down 3-0 in the series and your playoffs is basically over.
Unlike the Blackhawks, however, Calgary has some positives to build on. The Flames led Game 1 midway through the second period before a horrible line change gave the Ducks a 3-on-0 break to tie the game, and Anaheim went on to win. In Game 2, the Flames outshot Anaheim 37-29. In a building where they’ve now lost an unfathomable 29 straight games, the Flames were right there in both games against the second-seeded Ducks.
Beating Anaheim won’t be easy. The Ducks are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games dating back to the regular season, and 15-1-3 in their last 19 overall. They’re also scoring plenty of goals, netting 3 goals or more in 11 of their last 12 games.
But Anaheim did go 17-15-9 on the road this season, while the Flames have won 10 of their last 13 at home. And in the Ducks’ last 3 road games, they allowed 3, 3 and 4.
If Calgary’s going to beat Anaheim tonight, we think it’ll have to be with offence, considering how hot the Anaheim attack is and the fact the Flames have allowed 3+ in 5 of their last 6. We considered taking the Flames moneyline at -130 at Bodog, but think the Calgary Team Total Over 2.5 at -118 odds (got that at Pinnacle) is probably the better choice.
Sign up below to get our daily NHL tips sent to your email the minute we post. That way, you will always get the best odds on each game…