New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens Pick-Odds-Prediction - 5/17/14
New York Rangers (45-31-6) at Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm (Bell Centre)
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -130 / New York Rangers +110 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The New York Rangers open the conference semifinals at the Bell Centre where the Montreal Canadiens await.
The Rangers road to the semifinals included a pair of seven game series with a round one battle with Philadelphia and a second round ouster of Pittsburgh. The big story for New York was their supposed tired legs after a few back to back contests that gave the Penguins more rest and the advantage over 'tired' legs. That turned out to be a non issue when New York won the series opener and probably ended up being more hype then fact.
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The Penguins jumped to a 3-1 series lead as the Rangers offense couldn't score to save their life which included a power play that was completely ineffective. However, little by little the Rangers began to chip away at the Penguins with strong defensive wins in game five and six and then completely dominated the Pens offense in a decisive game seven with their D and Henrik Lundqvist. Key to the Rangers succes was they were able to get on the scoreboard early in the wins and the Penguins stars such as Sydney Crosby were non factors.
In perhaps the most exciting series of this season's postseason, Montreal emerged with a series win over President's Cup winner Boston in seven games. The Habs were not given much of a thought here despite their historical success in this match up which eventually proved to have substance. The Canadiens dominated Tampa Bay in round one to the point that many said the team didn't even belong in the playoffs but after the Habs play versus the Bruins maybe Montreal was better then given credit for.
Boston seemed to be on their heels for the majority of the series even in the wins as the Canadiens simply weren't intimidated and would not go away whether something bad happened or not. The key from what I saw was getting some early scores and the play of Carey Price who generally overshadowed Tuuka Rask in the nets. Another area that I noticed was Montreal seemed to make the Bruins pay for every single mistake and were not intimidated and in fact looked intimidating themselves at times.
Game one of the semis and the series looks like a battle of defenses and goaltenders. If the Rangers team that stormed to three straight wins over Pittsburgh shows up they have a great chance of winning. Having said that Montreal is solid in the nets and has a more kconsistent offese to lean on which gives them an edge in my view. I'm waiting for the line and will give a pick several hours before game time...