NHL Betting: Blackhawks to down Minnesota

Pittsburgh exited the play-offs at this stage in 2012 after a classic series with Philadelphia, and this year's bout with the New York Islanders is on the way to emulating that. The speed throughout the Isles line-up is causing so many problems for Pittsburgh: Kyle Okposo in particular is standing out with a goal in the last three games. After the way he played on Tuesday it seems highly likely that Dan Bylsma will bench Marc-Andre Fleury in favour of Tomas Vokoun as the Penguins goalie. Vokoun will be a steadying influence but it's the whole team's approach that needs to change. Of course Pittsburgh could step it up and retake the series lead, but at the moment they look rattled and that makes the Islanders great value way out at 4.05.

Montreal face elimination at the hands of the Ottawa Senators tonight but they will have a raucous Bell Centre crowd behind them to start a comeback. The Canadiens only have themselves to blame after throwing away a two-goal lead in the final ten minutes of Game 4, and the Senators didn't need much time to find a winner in overtime. An untimely injury to Montreal goaltender Carey Price meant he missed that OT period and it's not clear whether he'll play tonight. Key locker room characters Brandon Prust and Ryan White will also missing for the Canadiens. I think that could sway this one in Ottawa's favour, so back the Senators to win including overtime at 2.04.

It looks an even tougher task for the Minnesota Wild to stay alive; aside from one tough win they've had very little success against Chicago. That was further emphasised two days ago during a 3-0 shutout victory for the Blackhawks, meaning the Wild will have to win twice at United Center to progress. I think that's too tall an order for them. Minnesota are also the only team without a powerplay goal so far - that's a lot of missed opportunities. This series will be concluded tonight, so go with Chicago at 1.62.

Best bet: Chicago Blackhawks to win at 1.62