21 April 2008

NHL Playoff Betting: Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens

by Scott Burgess

The first Game 7 of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs goes tonight when the Montreal Canadiens host the Boston Bruins. The Canadiens owned the Bruins throughout the regular season, but the Bruins have surged forward to force a Game 7. Oddsmakers at Betway.com have the Canadiens as 1.85 home favorites over the Bruins who are listed as 3.35 roaddogs.

The Bruins have outscored the Canadiens 10-5 in their last two meetings while goalie Tim Thomas stopped 67 combined shots on goal. He’s 3-2-1 after giving up 14 goals for a 2.27 GAA. They’ve averaged 2.80 GAG in their last five and their power play has two goals in two games, but was held scoreless the last game. Their defense has been great allowing only two goals on their penalty kill throughout the whole series or 23 kills. Phil Kessel sat out three games for underachieving, he was reinstated for the Bruins last two games and he’s responded with three goals in two games. Patrice Bergeron, out since suffering a severe head injury on Oct. 27, may be back in the lineup tonight if he’s is cleared by doctors. But Bergeron, who has been skating and practicing, said there is no indication that will happen. He's hoping there is a next round for him to play in. Marc Savard leads with 6pts and Phil Kessel leads his team with three goals.

The Canadiens have all the pressure squarely on them tonight. They were the heavy favorites over the Bruins after finishing off the regular season with a 7-0-1 record against them, they took the first two games making it 13-0-1 record since the 06-07 season. Now they can find themselves out of the playoffs as the top seed in the East. Their offense has averaged 2.00 GA/G in their last five and their power play has been held scoreless in two straight games while their penalty kill has allowed three goals throughout the series. Goalie Cary Price started the playoffs as the next Patrick Roy, but his last two games have looked anything but. He allowed five goals through the first four games for a 1.25 GAA, now in his last two games he’s given up 10 goals on 60 shots for a 5.00 GAA. Brian Smolinski has the most Game 7 experience, although he’s 2-5, and Alex Kovalev has won five Game 7 matches. Sergei Kostitsyn, Alex Kovalev, Tom Kostopoulus and Christopher Higgins each have two goals apiece.

Recent Trends to Consider
  • Canadiens are 6-1 in their last 7 games as a home favorite.
  • Canadiens are 6-1 in their last 7 home games.
  • Canadiens are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
  • Canadiens are 8-2 in their last 10 games playing on 1 days rest.
  • Bruins are 5-0 in their last 5 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game.
  • Bruins are 4-1 in their last 5 Monday games.
  • Bruins are 0-5 in their last 5 games as a road underdog.
  • Bruins are 0-5 in their last 5 games as an underdog.
GAME: Boston Bruins (44-31-6-7) at Montreal Canadiens (50-27-5-6)
DATE/TIME: Monday, April 21 - 7:00 PM EST
PICK: Montreal 1.35

The Bottom Line: I like a great underdog story but the safe bet here tonight is the Canadiens. The Bruins haven’t won a Game 7 since 1999 and they are 0-3 in Game 7 on the road. Montreal is 10-8 in Game 7 action.

Maal's comment: Bruins in 7!

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