NHL Hockey Betting for May 14, 2014

NHL Hockey Betting for May 14, 2014

It seems like the NHL playoffs are serving up great games every night–last night it was the Rangers and Penguins playing Game 7 and tonight we’ve got Montreal and Boston playing a Game 7 against each other for the 28th time in the history of the two franchises. That’s the most of any two teams in any sport. Also a big Game 6 between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks:

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT BOSTON BRUINS:

We’ve backed the Canadiens at several junctures throughout this series and we’ll do it again tonight. Montreal has outplayed the Bruins for long stretches in every game with the exception of Game 5 which the Bruins won 4-2 at home. The Habs’ biggest problem early on was protecting late leads–after winning Game 1 in overtime they blew a 2 goal third period lead and lost Game 2. Boston was a sizable favorite in the series and has been favored in all six games but that has more to do with their regular season results winning the President’s Trophy than an accurate valuation of how the teams match up. The Bruins blew away everyone in their post Olympic run but it’s not like the Canadiens were chopped liver–Montreal finished 46-28-8 for 100 points making them one of only six teams in the league to earn 100 or more points. Montreal won the season series against Boston 3-1 and have won 6 of the last 10 meetings on the Bruins’ home ice. In our view this game is a toss up and we’ll take the plus money with the Habs.

BET MONTREAL CANADIENS +160 OVER BOSTON BRUINS

ANAHEIM DUCKS AT LOS ANGELES KINGS

This has been a very strange series–the Ducks shot out to a 2-0 lead winning both games at Anaheim before the Ducks responded to tie the series by winning Games 3 and 4 at Los Angeles. In Game 3, veteran goaltender Jonas Hiller replaced injured Frederick Andersen in net after the two goalies had split time for most of the playoffs. Hiller played well in a 3-2 Ducks’ win but instead of giving him the start in Game 4 coach Bruce Boudreau recalled goalie John Gibson from the AHL Norfolk Admirals and gave *him* the start. Never mind that it was a ‘must win’ situation or that Gibson is a rookie with only 3 starts under his belt in the regular season. Of course everyone knows what happened–Gibson was exceptional earning a shutout stopping 28 shots. Now Gibson is apparently the Kings’ #1 goalie–he started Game 5 and while he didn’t get a shutout he got a 4-3 win. What he didn’t get was much defensive help, facing 42 Los Angeles shots. Gibson has been tabbed for Game 6 and if the Ducks can win and advance tonight he’ll likely start Game 6 of the next series. If they lose, who knows what Boudreau will do in Game 7?

Lost in the hoopla over the Ducks’ upstart goalie is the fact that the Kings’ franchise goalie hasn’t been especially sharp. Jonathan Quick allowed only 3 goals on 72 shots in the Kings’ two victories but has allowed 9 goals on just 60 shots in their three losses. The Kings’ defense has done their job, not allowing more than 24 shots on goal. Obviously the Kings will go back to quick in Game 6 but he’s been badly outplayed by Gibson in the past two games.

And Quick’s perceived superiority is why the Kings are favored in Game 6. This series has been very tightly contested in recent years with the teams splitting the last 20 meetings although the Kings hold a narrow 5-4 edge at home. People remember the Kings’ Stanley Cup run when they were unbeatable at the Staples Center. That hasn’t been the case since then and it gives us value on a Ducks team that finished 16 points ahead of Anaheim in the regular season. They’re the better team in better form with the hotter goalie and we’ll take them as an underdog.

BET ANAHEIM DUCKS +125 OVER LOS ANGELES KINGS