Only elimination games from here on out before we get down to two teams remaining in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It's the New York Rangers who are first under threat, trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Final. Tampa Bay have the chance to close out the series on home ice before Game 7, as they managed in the last round versus the Montreal Canadiens. Steven Stamkos has sparked up with a goal in each of the last four games and goalie Ben Bishop bounced back immediately from a rough Game 4.
Aside from New York's 5-1 win last Friday, the Bolts have had the better of this matchup but they need one final effort to seal a finals place. Goal scoring has not come easy for the Rangers throughout this postseason. Of the teams still alive they average by far the fewest goals per game at 2.24. Seven of their 10 wins have come by a 2-1 scoreline and you will find odds of 21.00 on that exact result tonight.
It also indicates the pressure has always been on netminder Henrik Lundqvist to get it done. Unless he can once more tonight, value is with the Lightning to complete the victory at 2.35.
Out west between the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks there is just as much at stake. Chicago will try to force a deciding clash tomorrow night at United Center, it would be a fitting end even though Anaheim probably do not want to get that far. The Ducks almost threw away last night's Game 5 after conceding twice in the final three minutes, but Matt Beleskey's overtime winner spared what could have been a damaging shift in momentum.
The net has been found 18 times in the last two games now with goals often coming in bunches. Chicago are generally losing the battle at even strength, especially during the lengthy overtime periods they have been heavily outshot.
You get the feeling Anaheim are wearing the Blackhawks down, but it seems likely they will go the distance so odds of 2.90 for a 4-3 series win for the Ducks looks a solid pick.