USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's NHL playoff action: What bettors need to know

New York Rangers at Boston Bruins (-127, 5)

Bruins lead best-of-seven series 1-0.


New York Rangers coach John Tortorella did his best to divert attention away from the team's punchless power play by calling out Carl Hagelin, a player who doesn't even receive ice time in that situation. The reason for Tortorella's comments may be that he's tired of seeing his team fail to convert with the man advantage, as it has done in each of the last four games and 29 times in 31 opportunities in the postseason. The sixth-seeded Rangers will look to get it in gear and even their Eastern Conference second-round series on Sunday when they visit the fourth-seeded Boston Bruins.

"I think he's too quick," Tortorella said of Hagelin following Saturday's practice. "I'd like to put him out on the power play, but he stinks on the power play. ... I love the guy. He is such an effective player, but he, as I said many times, stinks on the power play." New York went 0-for-3 with the man advantage in Game 1 before Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the playoffs 15:40 into overtime to give Boston a 3-2 triumph.

TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS

ABOUT THE RANGERS: Thursday's result spoiled a 45-save performance by reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist, who suffered his third overtime loss of the postseason and fell to 3-11 in his career. Rick Nash picked up an assist for the second consecutive contest, but is still searching for his first goal of the playoffs. The top-line forward registered a team-high six shots in Game 1.

ABOUT THE BRUINS: Coach Claude Julien did his best to get creative with his defensemen in Game 1 as veterans Dennis Seidenberg (lower-body), Andrew Ference (lower-body) and Wade Redden (undisclosed) were scratched from the contest. The trio was replaced by rookies Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug, who netted a power-play goal in his first postseason contest. Captain Zdeno Chara, who is also a defenseman, extended his point streak to five games by collecting a goal and an assist and logged 38:02 of ice time. Redden practiced on Saturday, but is questionable for Game 2.

TRENDS:

* Rangers are 1-4 in their last five road games.
* Bruins are 5-0 in their last five Conference Semifinals games.
* Under is 8-1-2 in the last 11 meetings in Boston.

OVERTIME

1. Boston C David Krejci had an assist in Game 1 and is tied with Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin with an NHL-leading 14 points.

2. New York C Derick Brassard notched an assist to extend his point streak to six contests.

3. While the Rangers have struggled mightily on the power play, the Bruins aren't much better. They are 4-for-24 with the man advantage in the postseason.


Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators (+115, 5.5)


Penguins lead best-of-seven series 2-0.

The Ottawa Senators hope the return of Jason Spezza can ignite a spark in their Eastern Conference second-round series with the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidelined since undergoing back surgery for a herniated disk in late January, Spezza will be in the lineup for Sunday's Game 3 at Scotiabank Place. Seventh-seeded Ottawa can certainly use the offense, as it dropped the first two contests of the series in the Steel City.

"We're excited about the skill that he brings back to our team and we're looking forward to it," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. Although his minutes likely will be monitored, Spezza may be able to provide a jolt to a Senators' struggling power play (1-for-7). MacLean could also use a better effort in keeping Sidney Crosby in check as the captain recorded his second career postseason hat trick in Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory in Game 2 on Friday.

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

ABOUT THE PENGUINS:
Crosby's high-octane night propelled him into a tie with teammate Pascal Dupuis and Chicago's Patrick Sharp for the postseason lead in goals with six. The captain also sits four postseason points shy of Kevin Stevens (106) for third place in franchise history. Mario Lemieux (172) and Jaromir Jagr (147) are atop the list. While Crosby's heroics dominated the headlines on Friday, Brenden Morrow's first postseason goal in over five years stood up as the winner in Game 3. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin is riding an eight-game point streak in the playoffs and is tied with Boston's David Krejci (14) for the league lead.

ABOUT THE SENATORS: Stud defenseman Erik Karlsson admitted he's having a difficult time returning to form in the playoffs. After collecting a goal and five assists in Ottawa's first-round victory over second-seeded Montreal, Karlsson has failed to secure a point in the first two contests against Pittsburgh. "I'm not playing the way I want to," the reigning Norris Trophy winner said. "I (have to) play a little bit more poised with the puck and a little bit faster in our own zone. I can't doubt myself." The 22-year-old Karlsson, who suffered a left Achilles' tendon injury in a game versus the Penguins on Feb. 13, was beaten at the blue line on Crosby's first goal on Friday.

TRENDS:


* Penguins are 6-0 in their last six Sunday games.
* Senators are 1-9 in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
* Over is 4-1 in Penguins’ last five games following a win.
* Penguins are 5-0 in the last five meetings.

OVERTIME

1. Although Ottawa G Craig Anderson allowed a pair of soft goals to earn an early exit in Game 2, MacLean announced on Saturday that he is sticking with his netminder to start Game 3.

2. Pittsburgh G Tomas Vokoun has posted a 1.70 goals-against average and .945 save percentage en route to winning all four starts since replacing Marc-Andre Fleury.

3. Ottawa has never won a postseason series after dropping the first two games.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

            share   SHARE   rss   RSS FEED   email   EMAIL   print   PRINT

There haven't been any comments posted on this article. Be the first to respond!

You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

There have been no comments on this article. Be the first to respond!