NHL Betting: In-Form New York To Do The Business In Vancouver

Tampa Bay Lightning 2.20, the Tie 3.70, Montreal Canadiens 2.90

Only a big swing would now deny these two a first round playoff series - but the matter of who hosts Game 1 is still to be decided.

No complaints here about that potential matchup in terms of the excitement factor despite the three clashes this season all ending 1-1 after regulation, goalies Ben Bishop and Carey Price have posted identical save percentages of .962 through those low scoring encounters.

Neither has been slowing down in their pursuit of that 2nd place in the Atlantic and Montreal's current five game winning run of which most have been against division rivals has given them a two point advantage. A loss in Detroit at the weekend brought a point streak of 11 to an end for Tampa although it's worth noting that only one victory during that spell came against a team bound for the playoffs.

In fact the Lightning averaged over three goals against a game through March and I'm not sure they are up to the challenge of the defensive battle that seems likely given how much is at stake. Back Montreal with the security of including overtime at 2.18.


Vancouver Canucks 2.75, the Tie 3.70, New York Rangers 2.30

Swapping coaches in the summer hasn't been without growing pains for either of these teams but recently Alain Vigneault and the Rangers have much more to shout about.

Six wins from the last eight has put one New York skate into the playoffs as Vigneault's strategical implementations come to greater fruition on offence. Meanwhile despite scrapping hard Vancouver look like coming up short for the first time since 2008, even though all but one of their remaining assignments are at home a 5-1 defeat from Anaheim last time out left the Rogers Arena crowd extremely flat.

When looking at who is stepping up for Vancouver it's third line guys like Zach Kassian and Brad Richardson, the Sedin twins have a combined two goals in 2014 which even accounting for a few injuries is just dreadful. I'm wary of a desperate side and the Canucks certainly are one, most tangible evidence dictates it's well worth taking New York to get it done.

Best Bet: New York Rangers to win at 2.35.