That Boston and the New York Rangers needed overtime to separate them in their series opener was probably a sign of the long and tough battle ahead for both clubs to progress. Because of injuries, Boston are having to run with three rookie defenders. Their performance in Game 1 and indeed all of their play-off performances suggest it won't be a great cause for concern. Torey Krug scored a huge goal in the third period whilst Claude Julien trusted Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton with plenty of ice time.
Five on five, the Rangers have been excellent and thankfully for them that's balanced out their inept powerplay. Their success derives from an aggressive forecheck with the aim of forcing turnovers in the offensive zone. Despite the win Boston have dropped slightly to 2.40 for tonight's contest. I think that's worth taking on.
The Ottawa Senators suddenly found themselves with front row seats to the Sidney Crosby show on Friday as his hat-trick sparked the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-0 series lead. Lose again tonight and the Senators are staring at a very quick elimination. Craig Anderson was immediately pulled from the Ottawa net after Crosby got his third just a minute in to the second period. He clearly doesn't enjoy this match-up but they need him to stand tall. Of the nine times in 2013 that he's posted a save percentage of below 90% four have been against Pittsburgh.
A massive boost for the Senators is the return their star centre and best offensive player Jason Spezza. Because of back surgery he hasn't played since a meeting with the Pens on January 27th. Ottawa have to get the win here and Spezza can galvanise this team, plus a desperate home side is always good value at 2.95.
Best bet: Boston Bruins to win at 2.40