NHL Betting News and Notes Saturday 4/14

NHL Betting News and Notes Saturday 4/14

Saturday's Best NHL Bets
By Covers.com

Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins (-180, 5)

The Boston Bruins look to take a 2-0 series lead and sweep the opening games of the series at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.

Chris Kelly scored the lone goal at 1:18 of overtime and Tim Thomas posted his sixth career playoff shutout to lift Boston to a 1-0 victory on Thursday. Washington played a strong defensive game, but failed to mount any offense in the first two periods, only putting seven shots on goal.

Goaltending was a huge area of concern for the Capitals coming into the postseason because of injuries to Michal Neurvirth (lower body) and Tomas Vokoun (groin). Braden Holtby rose to the occasion, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced in Game 1.

The netminder has allowed only eight goals in his past six outings for the Capitals, including four starts where he has conceded one goal or less.

Part of the Bruins' defensive plan was to limit forward Alex Ovechkin's chances in the series. Ovechkin was held to just one shot while mostly matched up against Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara in Game 1.

Goals could be hard to come by again in Game 2.

Pick: Under

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (-165, 5)

After missing the playoffs last season with a broken ankle, New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan made his presence felt during Thursday's 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Callahan scored his team's first goal and unleashed a game-high seven hits as the top-seeded Rangers claimed the early edge in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The eighth-seeded Senators will look to respond on Saturday if they hope to return to Canada's capital with a split in the series.

While Callahan was solid, Lundqvist bordered on sensational. The likely Vezina Trophy candidate turned aside 30 shots before yielding two late third-period goals. With his 16th postseason triumph, Lundqvist pulled even with John Davidson for fourth place in the Rangers' all-time playoff wins list.

Brian Boyle has found his scoring touch, collecting his fourth goal in his last five games. Boyle had 11 tallies in the regular season.

Ottawa will be tighter in Game 2 but will still have a tough time solving Lundqvist.

Pick: Under

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Hockey Night In Canada: NHL Playoffs Betting Preview
By Bill McBride
Covers.com

Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins (-180, 5)

Series: Bruins lead 1-0


There is plenty of offense on both benches, but defense ruled the day in Game 1 as Boston used some late magic to escape, 1-0, in overtime. Can Alex Ovechkin and Co. find a way to break through that Boston barrier?

A good omen... for both teams

There are bigger favorites in the East this season - the Penguins and Rangers among them - but if history is your cup of tea, then this series is for you. The last two times these franchises collided in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the series winner landed in the Stanley Cup Finals.

In 1990, when Boston defeated Washington, the Bruins lost to the Edmonton Oilers in the final round. And in 1998, when Washington defeated Boston, the Capitals lost to the Detroit Red Wings with a Cup on the line. We’re not saying that's going to happen again, but it says somewhere that the third time is a charm, right?

Banking on Braden

There are no moral victories in the postseason, but the Capitals have to be pleased with the effort of third-string goaltender Braden Holtby, who made his playoff debut because of injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth. Holtby stopped 29 shots in the road loss, many of them acrobatic. And in the ultimate sports cliche, clearly he "gave his team a chance to win."

Holtby, 21, went 4-2-1 in the regular season and has played in just 21 NHL games. But Vokoun’s groin injury and Neuvirth's left leg injury has given him a golden opportunity and, despite the Game 1 loss, he appears to be making the most of it.

It’s Tyler Time

Consider Boston forward Tyler Seguin off and running in his sophomore postseason. Though he didn't score as the Bruins won their third consecutive playoff game dating back to last year's Stanley Cup Finals, he did take 22 shifts and finished with 17:30 in playing time. He fired five shots - the team leader - at Holtby in Game 1 and played with the aggression to carry this team.

Seguin, in and out of the lineup in his rookie season, took off this year, finishing with 29 goals and 67 points.

History

The Bruins, going back to the regular season, have now won three in a row and five of the last six encounters with the Capitals. Three of the last four meetings between these two teams have gone under, as well as 21 of the last 28.

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (-170, 5)

Series: Rangers lead 1-0


A lot of the talk before the postseason began centered on the season series and how Ottawa, with a 3-1 record against New York, seemed to have it all figured out. Well, the playoffs are a different season for a reason, and the Rangers showed in Game 1 with a 4-2 win.

Back to business on Broadway

If the Rangers are going to get back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994, they have to rely on the big boys - the stars who can score goals. And if Game 1 was any indication, they are ready to do so.

Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards all scored Thursday, as New York rolled up a 4-0 lead before letting the Senators breathe a little bit late in the game. It was the perfect start on Broadway for a team that stumbled a bit down the stretch, and lost out on the Presidents' Trophy to Vancouver.

Artem Anisimov chipped in with two assists and the Rangers finished with 31 shots on Ottawa's shell-shocked goaltender Craig Anderson.

Mistimed slump

Daniel Alfredsson sat in the locker room last Saturday and talked about how the second season might mean a clean, fresh start for the Senators. The veteran forward was still soaking in a 4-2 loss to New Jersey at the time - Ottawa’s third in a row to end the year - and he was searching for answers as Ottawa was about to slip down to the No. 8 spot in the East.

Later on that night, after results of the remaining East games trickled in, the Senators indeed fell to last place and drew the best team in the conference in the first round. And on Thursday, Ottawa showed no signs of getting out of this funk at Madison Square Garden.

The Sens have now lost four in a row and have not scored more than two goals in any one of those games. On Thursday, forward Jason Spezza and Alfredsson combined for 10 shots but couldn’t carry a team that was listless for long stretches and seems to have run out of gas.

It’s been a great year in Ottawa (a surprising start lifted spirits in the town, and the All-Star Game continued the mojo) but until pucks start finding the back of the net, this run might just be over.

Boosted by Boyle

The playoffs couldn't have started any better for New York forward Brian Boyle, a player who does it all -- score, scrap, scream, you name it.

On Thursday, he lived up to his status, taking 25 shifts for 17:49 of ice time. He was a plus-1, he had two penalty minutes and three shots. And best of all, he scored a goal.

It was just a continuance of a decent year for Boyle's standards as he ended the regular season with 11 goals and 26 points. On a team with stars, he is an unsung player who carries out coach John Tortorella's plans to a T.

History

Reason for Senators’ hope? Ottawa is still 5-1 in its last six against the Rangers in New York. And the Rangers are 4-0-1 over/under in their last five which started with a 5-3 win over Philadelphia on April 3.

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WASHINGTON (42-32-0-9, 93 pts.) at BOSTON (50-29-0-4, 104 pts.)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
WASHINGTON is 7-6 (+0.5 Units) against the spread versus BOSTON over the last 3 seasons
WASHINGTON is 7-6-0 straight up against BOSTON over the last 3 seasons
9 of 13 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+4.3 Units)

OTTAWA (41-32-0-10, 92 pts.) at NY RANGERS (52-24-0-7, 111 pts.)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
OTTAWA is 6-7 (+1.0 Units) against the spread versus NY RANGERS over the last 3 seasons
NY RANGERS is 7-6-0 straight up against OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
5 of 9 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+1.0 Units)

SAN JOSE (44-29-0-10, 98 pts.) at ST LOUIS (49-22-0-12, 110 pts.)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
SAN JOSE is 7-6-0 straight up against ST LOUIS over the last 3 seasons
8 of 12 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+3.0 Units)

CHICAGO (45-26-0-12, 102 pts.) at PHOENIX (43-27-0-13, 99 pts.)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
PHOENIX is 9-4 (+7.6 Units) against the spread versus CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
PHOENIX is 9-4-0 straight up against CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
8 of 12 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+3.1 Units)

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WASHINGTON vs. BOSTON
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Washington's last 7 games when playing on the road against Boston
The total has gone UNDER in 14 of Washington's last 19 games when playing Boston
Boston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Boston is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games at home

OTTAWA vs. NY RANGERS
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Ottawa's last 12 games when playing on the road against NY Rangers
Ottawa is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games when playing NY Rangers
NY Rangers are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of the NY Rangers last 12 games when playing at home against Ottawa

SAN JOSE vs. ST. LOUIS
San Jose is 7-17 SU in its last 24 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of San Jose's last 11 games when playing on the road against St. Louis
St. Louis is 16-7 SU in its last 23 games at home
St. Louis is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games at home

CHICAGO vs. PHOENIX
Chicago is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Phoenix
Chicago is 8-17 SU in its last 25 games on the road
Phoenix is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Phoenix's last 5 games at home

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Washington at Boston
Washington: 2-11 SU Away w/ revenge
Boston: 3-8 SU off OT win

Ottawa at NY Rangers
Ottawa: 4-16 SU in Game 2 of a playoff series
NY Rangers: 19-8 SU after scoring 4+ goals

San Jose at St. Louis
San Jose: 11-18 SU Away second half of season
St. Louis: 19-3 SU at home off home game

Chicago at Phoenix
Chicago: 0-8 SU playing 5 or less games in 14 days
Phoenix: 28-14 SU on 2 game unbeaten streak

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NHL Preview

Caps @ Bruins -- Bruins won Game 1 1-0 in OT, just their second win in five tries vs Washington this season; game-winner came on shot by Kelly from left wing after Thomas had stopped scoring bid by Caps. Capitals are now 17-41 in franchise history in Beantown; Boston outshot its guests 26-7 in first two periods, but from that point on, Washington outshot them 10-4. Caps won four of their last six games overall, Bruins won 10 of last 13. Washington was 0-2 on power play, Boston 0-4 in Game 1.

Senators @ Rangers -- Rangers have home ice advantage in playoff series for first time since ’96; need win here to keep that edge- Game 1 win was second in last six games vs Ottawa. Senators are 21-15 in this building, but lost last four games overall, scoring only six goals. New York is top seed in east, will have home ice in first three rounds, if they advance. Coach Tortorella won Cup with ’04 Lightning, but hasn’t won playoff series (0-4) since. Ottawa hasn’t won playoff series (0-2) since losing ’07 final to Ducks.

Sharks @ Blues -- St Louis swept Sharks 4-0 in regular season, outscoring them 12-3, but saw home ice edge disappear when Sharks scored 23:34 into OT in Game 1. San Jose won seven of last eight first round series; they’ve lost in Western finals last two years, are 32-43 vs St Louis. Blues still haven’t won a playoff game in seven years, getting swept 4-0 by Canucks in ’09 series that’s their only playoff appearance in last six seasons, until now. Blues lost nine of last 13 games, overall; Sharks won their last five games overall

Blackhawks @ Coyotes -- Phoenix Coyotes have never won playoff series (0-7) since moving to desert; their last such win was in ’93 as Winnipeg Jets- overall, they’re 2-18 in playoff series (0-10 vs Detroit/Edmonton), but they've won last six games while overall, allowing only four goals. Coyotes won their last four games with Chicago, allowing six goals. Blackhawks lost five of last seven trips to Arizona; they outshot Coyotes 45-34 in Game 1, tying game with 0:14 left before Phoenix won in OT. Chicago was 0-4, Coyotes 0-2 on power play.

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