We will take back-to-back winners any day of the week as last night’s pick of UNDER 5 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild hit with ease. Patrick Kane scored a first period goal to give Chicago a 1-0 lead and that is how the game would end as Chicago officially has a 3-0 stranglehold on the Wild. It’s unfortunate for the Wild as Games 1 and 3 have been extremely close games and could have went either way with a bounce or two, but the curse that Chicago has over Minnesota in the postseason remains. We are seeing a lot of low-scoring games here in the second round but that shouldn’t surprise anyone as we all knew coming in that playoff hockey is much more competitive and tight-checking than the regular season. After two wins in a row I am eager to get at tonight’s pick which features the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Montreal Canadiens @ Tampa Bay Lightning
My Pick – CANADIENS (+130)
The series between the Habs and Lightning switches gears to Tampa, Florida tonight as this Game 3 represents a must-win situation for the Canadiens in order to avoid falling in to the dreaded 3-0 hole that is so rare to climb out of. Tampa Bay snuck by Montreal in Game 1 but fully dominated the Habs in the series’ second game and put six goals in behind one of the NHL’s MVP candidates in Carey Price. While Montreal’s season isn’t technically on the line tonight, it’s safe top say that they need to come out on top in this one to have any realistic shot at advancing past the Conference semifinals. In other words, tonight is Carey Price’s night to shine for the Habs just like he has done all season long. The change of venue doesn’t make things all that much more difficult for Montreal as they are 0-3 in their last three home playoff games while they are 2-1 in their last three on the road. On the flip side, Tampa Bay is just 2-4 over their last six postseason games on home ice including two home losses in their first round series against the Red Wings, so clearly playing at home in the playoffs hasn’t meant as much to the Lightning as it did in the regular season. If Montreal can step up their penalty killing then they really have a strong chance at victory tonight. Carey Price’s even strength save percentage in the playoffs is .947 and he has allowed almost half (9 of 20) of his goals against while the Habs are shorthanded. Remember, Price led the league in save percentage this season at .933 and you don’t do that if you display any sort of inconsistency. In other words, Montreal’s 6-2 Game 2 loss is merely a blip on the radar. If you are going to go on a deep playoff run in this league your goaltender needs to steal you at least a game or two along the way. Well, we have the world’s best goaltender here tonight looking to avenge a bad loss and as I mentioned, tonight belongs to Carey Price as he will bounce back with a fantastic effort and deliver a win for both the Canadiens and this pick. Take the Habs at a nice underdog price to avoid a 3-0 series deficit and get a road win in Tampa Bay.