Boston Bruins 1.90, Montreal Canadiens 3.60
Straight into the second round we go after last night's Game 7 drama, this matchup was confirmed on Saturday and it's been highly anticipated because these two Original Six clubs cannot abide each other.
It's nine days since the Canadiens last took to the ice and completed their sweep of Tampa Bay, it's always a good debate as to whether the rest is a positive or negative but with the magnitude of this series I can't see them failing to get up to speed again. Boston remain overall favourites to win the Stanley Cup and also odds on to progress from this round at 1.35 to Montreal's 3.05, bearing in mind the Habs took three of four regular season contests and ruffled some feathers in the process I think the upset is solid value.
Claude Julien likes his team to press and sustain attacks for as long as possible, what might help Montreal break out of that is their talented defence who have the speed or vision to start the breakout.
Countering is in the interests of their forwards too as with the likes of Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher and Brian Gionta on the wings they have an advantage in the speed stakes. A lot of the strategy used to keep Detroit at arms length will remain in place for the Bruins and with the addition of some youngsters their blueline has evolved into a more dynamic if perhaps less stable group than when they were Champions back in 2011.
There's two outstanding goaltenders on show too with Tuukka Rask and Carey Price arguably playing the best in their respective careers to date, they'll be tough to beat and are major factors in making under 4.5 total goals at 1.98 a smart play.
Throughout the buildup the Canadiens have noticeably tried to distance themselves from the emotion that is being whipped up by the media, in contrast Boston winger Milan Lucic who thrives on winning individual battles had no issue talking about his "hate" for their rivals. No doubt this opening contest will be an engrossing watch and as they are undeserving major outsiders the value is with Montreal to open up strongly.
Best Bet: Montreal Canadiens to win including overtime at 2.60