The New York Rangers live to fight another day after Chris Kreider's overtime winner gave them their first success against the Boston Bruins. Three more are required to overturn the 3-1 lead held by the Bruins, which isn't inconceivable since Toronto managed to force a Game 7 from this position versus Boston in the last round. Winning on the road tonight is the toughest part, and is where I think they will come unstuck.
Brad Richards, a man named play-off MVP for Tampa Bay's 2004 Cup-winning team, looks set to be left out of the Rangers' line-up for the second straight game. He is their third highest-paid player and has just one point in ten games, embodying the struggles of their offence during this post-season. Boston were much the stronger outfit on Thursday but errors cost them; they should tighten up and finish this off tonight. Back the Bruins with a -1.5 handicap at 2.75.
Another club facing elimination are the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been well and truly blindsided by the Detroit Red Wings. Wednesday's Game 4 saw Chicago's attack shut down yet again as the Red Wings skated away to a 2-0 victory and a commanding series lead. It was another masterclass in restricting quality chances from Detroit's skaters, and goalie Jimmy Howard has always been superb when called upon to bail them out.
I'd be very surprised if the Blackhawks didn't come out firing tonight. It would be unthinkable for them to be brushed aside so easily after the season they've had. But based on the evidence of the last three games they aren't good value at 1.88. The smart option is to back Detroit to seal the series with a regulation win at 3.65.
Best bet: Detroit Red Wings to win at 3.65