New York Rangers - Pittsburgh Penguins
Madison Square Garden has its perks but right now the Rangers might well be cursing their home arena's popularity, because of prior bookings they will forced into playing their second game in 24 hours which also makes it five games within the last seven days.
Considering how the Penguins were the faster, sharper team yesterday during their 3-0 victory that tied the series 1-1 they'll surely have to dig deep into their reserves tonight. Sunday's game was also yet again a tale of New York's wasteful powerplay, three opportunities within the first 10 minutes couldn't be more generous towards establishing a lead but the good work Alain Vigneault did during the regular season seems to have evaporated.
It's understandable due to that heavy schedule that the team lacks jump at times, what isn't helping is a current over reliance on Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot's line to generate some energy.
For Pittsburgh the x-factor was that Kris Letang had his best game since returning from a stroke. Up front Jussi Jokinen has a point in all but one of their playoff games and that's almost a classic tale of the Penguins reinvigorating an underperforming player they brought in.
They were well on top last night and without much practice time for New York to work on things I like the Penguins to win again here to get their noses in front in this series at 2.55.
Anaheim Ducks - Los Angeles Kings
An early blow dealt by LA in the shape of a dramatic Game 1 road win puts them in great shape to take control of the series as they go hunting a sixth consecutive victory.
After doing a steady job since arriving at the trade deadline, Marian Gaborik proved his worth for the Kings by tying the game at the death before going on to get the overtime winner. Those were the Slovak's fourth and fifth of the postseason so he's really contributing now.
The Ducks played hard and unfortunately for them brought out the best in opposing goalie Jonathan Quick, the way the former Conn Smythe trophy is playing with four goals conceded in four I'd take a look at the home side under 1.5 goals at 3.35.
What was a very even contest may have been separated by a few faceoff wins in your own defensive zone and who can take advantage of turnovers made in dangerous positions. I'm expecting a similar pattern tonight and really it's just LA's discipline in the clutch makes them the better option.
Should they emerge with a 2-0 series lead it could get away from Anaheim quickly.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Kings to win at 2.75.