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Sunday's NHL action: What bettors need to know

Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (-133, 5)

Capitals lead best-of-seven series 3-2.

The host team has held serve in each of the five games of the Eastern Conference first-round series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. After winning for the third time in as many contests at the Verizon Center, the Southeast Division champion Capitals will look to buck the trend and eliminate the sixth-seeded Rangers on Sunday when the teams reconvene for Game 6 at Madison Square Garden. Third-seeded Washington's bid to end the series will not be easy as New York has won eight straight home contests.

Mike Ribeiro scored 9:24 into overtime as the Capitals skated to a 2-1 triumph in Game 5 on Friday. Coach Adam Oates' team has recorded two of its three victories in the extra session as defenseman Mike Green scored exactly eight minutes into overtime in Washington's 1-0 win in Game 2. Green has a team-leading two goals - while 10 others Capitals have also found the net.

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, MSG, TSN

ABOUT THE CAPITALS: Braden Holtby overcame Brian Boyle's goal 53 seconds into Friday's contest to finish with 24 saves. Holtby has allowed just two goals in three games at home, but yielded four in each of the losses in New York. Oates stressed that his team can't get unnerved while playing on the road. "They're going to be more desperate, but that can't affect the decisions," he said. "We've still got to play the way we play."

ABOUT THE RANGERS:
While his team has struggled offensively, Derick Brassard continued his stellar series by picking up an assist on Boyle's goal. Brassard's team-leading six points (one goal, five assists) were collected over the last three contests. On the other hand, fellow former Blue Jacket Rick Nash has failed to score a goal - after leading the Rangers with 21 in the regular season. "I had some chances, didn't get the job done, though," Nash said of his performance in Game 5. "There's no excuses. I've got to find a way to do it."

TRENDS:


* Over is 8-2-1 in Capitals’ last 11 road games.
* Capitals are 1-5 in the last six meetings in New York.
* Over is 5-1-3 in Rangers’ last nine home games.

OVERTIME

1. After returning from a four-game absence with what was believed to be a concussion, New York RW Ryane Clowe was on the receiving end of a boarding penalty from Washington LW Jason Chimera in Game 5. He logged one more shift before exiting the contest.

2. Hart Trophy finalist Alex Ovechkin has been limited to just one goal and one assist in the series.

3. The Capitals killed off four short-handed situations in Game 5 to improve to 19-for-21 (90.5 percent) for the series.


Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (+120, 5)


Bruins lead best-of-seven series 3-2.

James Reimer gave the fifth-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs some hope in their Eastern Conference first-round series with the Boston Bruins. The Maple Leafs host fourth-seeded Boston on Sunday in Game 6 trailing the Bruins 3-2 and will need to win a home playoff game for the first time in nine years if they want to force a Game 7 at Boston on Monday. Reimer made 43 saves in a 2-1 Game 5 victory on Friday that kept Toronto alive, but the Maple Leafs dropped both home games earlier in the series and have not triumphed at Air Canada Centre in the postseason since April 30, 2004.

With Friday’s loss the Bruins dropped to 9-9 in Game 5 elimination opportunities, but they have only lost twice in the 17 previous series where they led 3-1. Boston, which averaged 3.75 goals over the first four games, fired 36 shots in the final two periods of Game 5 but could only get one puck past Reimer. David Krejci continued his series-long point streak when he assisted on the lone Boston goal on Friday, raising his total to 11 (five goals, six assists). Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, who made 31 saves on Friday, stopped 45 shots in each victory at Toronto in two of his strongest postseason performances to date.

TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NESN

ABOUT THE BRUINS: Aside from Boston’s top line of Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, Boston’s scorers have struggled thus far. Krejci and Horton have eight of the team’s 16 goals combined, while the only other player on the team with more than two points in the series is captain Zdeno Chara, who is tied with Horton and Lucic at six. Patrice Bergeron - second on the team with 22 shots - scored in Game 4 for his only point of the postseason. Tyler Seguin, who leads the team with 24 shots, has yet to record a point. Jaromir Jagr has two assists to show for his 20 shots and is tied with Chris Kelly at a team-worst minus-3. Defenseman Wade Redden missed Game 5 with an undisclosed injury but participated in Saturday’s morning skate. Rookie Matt Bartkowski took Redden’s place in the lineup and logged 6:40 of ice time in his postseason debut, finishing minus-1.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS:
Aside from Reimer, Toronto is still alive thanks to valuable contributions from unexpected sources. Defenseman Jake Gardiner, who was limited to just 12 games this season due to injuries and poor performance and was a healthy scratch in Game 1, logged a team-leading 24:05 of ice time in Game 5. Gardiner has four points in the series, tied for the team lead with Joffrey Lupul. Clarke MacArthur - a healthy scratch for two games after a lackluster Game 1 - has a goal in each of the last two games despite playing under nine minutes in both contests. Defenseman Mark Fraser is out indefinitely following surgery to repair a cranial fracture suffered in Game 4, when a slap shot by Lucic struck him in the forehead. John-Michael Liles dressed in place of Fraser on Friday and finished plus-1 in 14:31 time on ice.

TRENDS:

* Over is 5-1 in Bruins’ last six road games.
* Road team is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Maple Leafs are 0-4 in their last four home games.
* Bruins are 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Toronto.

OVERTIME

1. Toronto has not won consecutive games against the Bruins since a three-game streak in 2011, when they won twice on the road and once at home between February and March.

2. In the 2010 playoffs, the Bruins let a 3-0 series lead slip away to the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, losing in seven games to a Flyers team that went on to play in the Stanley Cup final.

3. All-time leading scorer and four-time Stanley Cup champion Wayne Gretzky told ESPN.com he likes the character he sees in this year’s Maple Leafs. “They’re legit,” he said, “they’re playing on high emotion right now.”

Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks (-141, 5)

Best-of-seven series tied 3-3.

The seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings are no strangers to seventh games. They're also very familiar with overtime this postseason. The Red Wings attempt to knock off the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks when the teams meet in Game 7 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Honda Center on Sunday. Detroit will be appearing in the 23rd seventh game in its history and fifth in as many years. The Red Wings are 13-9 in their previous 22 deciding contests of a best-of-seven series - five of which have gone to overtime, where they are 4-1. Detroit is 2-4 in seventh games on the road.

Four of the first six games of this series - and each of the last three - have been decided after regulation, with Detroit posting all three of its victories in overtime. Anaheim has found itself to be in a tougher battle than it may have anticipated, as it has needed to rally in the third period three times to either record a win or force an extra session. The Pacific Division champion Ducks have outscored the Red Wings 11-5 in the third over the course of the series, including a two-goal spurt in 51 seconds late in Game 6 to forge a tie before suffering a 4-3 loss thanks to Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg's second tally of the contest just 64 seconds into overtime. Anaheim is 2-2 in Game 7s, most recently dropping a 4-3 decision to the Red Wings in the second round of the 2009 playoffs.

TV:
10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS, FSN (Detroit), FSN West (Anaheim)

ABOUT THE RED WINGS: Detroit was thrilled to have Justin Abdelkader back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit in Game 3 on Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman, who has yet to return to action. "It's not easy, especially this time of year, to be sitting out and watching when you know you could help out the team," the right wing said. Help out the team is exactly what Abdelkader did. After recording an assist on Dan Cleary's goal with 8 1/2 minutes remaining in the third period that gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead, he set up a screen in front of Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller on Zetterberg's overtime winner.

ABOUT THE DUCKS: After Detroit watched Zetterberg break out with his first two goals of the series in Game 6, Anaheim is hoping Corey Perry can come through on Sunday. Perry has notched just two assists over the first six contests. "My job is to go out and score goals and do those offensive things, but it hasn't been coming," Perry said. "One puck has got to go in - off me, off somebody. Something has got to break." Captain Ryan Getzlaf is excited to be participating in a Game 7 and believes everyone should feel the same way. "If you can't enjoy it, then you're in the wrong sport," he said. "They're a lot of fun. It's an enjoyable time."

TRENDS:

* Under is 3-0-1 in Red Wings’ last four games following a win.
* Under is 9-3-3 in Ducks’ last 15 overall.
* Red Wings are 1-5 in their last six road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600.

OVERTIME

1. Anaheim will face the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings with a victory, while Detroit will take on the Presidents' Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks should it defeat the Ducks.

2. Zetterberg leads all players on both rosters with six career points in Game 7s, while Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk is tops with four goals.

3. The only playoff series that have featured five overtime games were the 1951 Stanley Cup finals between Toronto and Montreal and last year's first-round matchup involving Chicago and Phoenix.

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