Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8) at Boston Bruins (54-19-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday May 1, 2014, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Boston Bruins -197 / Montreal Canadiens +181 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Bruins and Canadiens kick off the NHL’s second round on Thursday in what is going to be a very heated series between two bitter and long standing rivals.
The Montreal Canadiens were the first team to advance to the NHL’s second round of the playoffs thanks to a 4-0 series sweep over the Tampa Bay Lightning in what seems like light years ago and now the Habs get back to the ice to take on their bitter rivals from Boston. The Canadiens were pushed to overtime in series opener but beyond the game one scare the Habs were never really threatened by Tampa who to be honest didn’t look like a team worthy of claiming a playoff spot and it really showed against a more balanced Montreal team who rode the strong play of Carey Price. Speaking of the Montreal net minder, Price was considered a massive snub after he wasn’t named one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy and while he may not come out and say it you can bet he will be using this series as added motivation as he looks down the length of the ice to see the guy who many expect to claim the award in Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins weren’t far behind their Original Six rivals in terms of advancing to the second round as they made quick work of the Detroit Red Wings, disposing of them in five games, and they too have had some rest before tonight’s series opener. The Bruins had a bit of a hiccup offensively as they were blanked 1-0 in their playoff debut but responded very nicely the rest of the way winning four straight contests to wrap up the series, setting up a dream matchup with Montreal. The Bruins won the President’s Trophy by claiming the league’s best record during the regular season but after the heartbreak suffered last year against the Blackhawks you can bet none of the Bruins players are satisfied with their accolades and would trade everything in for another shot at winning the Cup. This is going to be a gritty season with a lot of hatred and animosity pouring out and I expect home ice to play a huge factor in this game. With both teams having such a long break between action and the goaltenders being the focal point of the series I have to think the under in the series opener is an absolute no brainer and where I’m leaning here for a play.