Wednesday's NHL action: What bettors need to know

May 7, 2013 |
Wednesday's NHL action: What bettors need to know
The Bruins are 5-1 in the last six meetings in Toronto.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The Bruins are 5-1 in the last six meetings in Toronto.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (+126, 5)

Boston leads series 2-1.

The Boston Bruins ruined the celebration in Toronto on Monday for the city’s first home playoff game since 2004, taking a 2-1 lead on the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs in their Eastern Conference first-round series. The Bruins can push Toronto to the brink of elimination with a road victory in Game 4 on Wednesday. Boston won 5-2 in Game 3 despite being outshot 47-38 by an eager but sloppy Maple Leafs team filled with home-ice adrenaline. The Bruins scored twice off 24 Toronto turnovers and re-established the dominant position they assumed after their 4-1 victory in Game 1.

Boston netminder Tuukka Rask played his best game of the series on Monday, stopping 45 shots after allowing five goals on 52 shots over the first two contests. Toronto center Tyler Bozak and coach Randy Carlyle were vocal about unfair faceoffs after Bozak was kicked out of numerous important draws in Game 3. Bruins coach Claude Julien dismissed Carlyle’s remarks as lobbying the officials. “It’s going to be interesting to see whether the referees and the linesmen just do their job next game and not worry about who’s crying wolf,” Julien told reporters on Tuesday. Even if the Maple Leafs gain an edge in faceoffs, they will need much more to regain the edge they had following their 4-1 win in Game 2, or Wednesday could be the last playoff game in Toronto for a while.


ABOUT THE BRUINS: Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist on Monday to bring his total to three goals and four points in the first three games. Horton’s scoring line with David Krejci, who leads all players in the series with seven points, and Milan Lucic, who has six assists, is driving Boston’s offense after the trio combined for only 14 points throughout April. Horton is at the end of a six-year, $24-million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer, but he is not thinking about that. “The only thing worth thinking about right now is the playoffs and trying to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Horton told ESPN on Tuesday. Jaromir Jagr picked up his first point of the series in Game 3 when he assisted on Rich Peverley’s goal in the second period. Jagr has 190 points in 183 career playoff contests.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS: Phil Kessel scored a power-play goal in the third period on Monday for his second tally in as many games. Historically, Kessel has struggled against his former team - his goal in Game 2 was his first at even-strength in 24 career contests against the Bruins - but he is getting ice-time away from Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and has 10 total shots to show for it, third on the team behind Joffrey Lupul (11) and James van Riemsdyk (14). Lupul and van Riemsdyk have also scored twice for Toronto, while the only other Maple Leafs player to record a playoff goal thus far is defenseman Jake Gardiner, who scored the first of his career on a power play in his second postseason contest. Although he cannot be blamed for either of the team’s two defeats this round, goaltender James Reimer has allowed four goals in three of his last four starts following a 34-save shutout against Florida in the penultimate game of the regular season.


* Over is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings in Toronto.
* Bruins are 5-1 in the last six meetings in Toronto.
* Over is 23-9-3 in the last 35 meetings.
* Bruins are 35-17 in the last 52 meetings.


1. Boston C Tyler Seguin leads the series with 17 shots but has yet to record a point.

2. Kessel has 12 goals and 20 points in his last 14 games, dating back to April 6.

3. Toronto D Mike Kostka (broken finger) is out indefinitely.

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

Washington leads series 2-1.

After mustering just one goal during a pair of games in the nation's capital, the New York Rangers enjoyed a relative scoring spree in their last outing. The sixth-seeded Rangers will look to continue their offensive surge and even their Eastern Conference first-round series with the Southeast Division champion Washington Capitals on Wednesday, when the teams reconvene for Game 4 at Madison Square Garden. Derek Stepan scored to snap a tie with 6:25 remaining in the third period and Derick Brassard collected a goal and two assists in New York's 4-3 win on Monday.

Stepan said the Rangers are focused on going hard to the net to challenge Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. "Games 1 and 2, we thought sometimes we were good at it, and at times we did not do it nearly enough," Stepan said. "That is something as a team that we are trying to keep focus on, continuing to get pucks and bodies to the net." Defenseman Mike Green has scored in the last two contests for third-seeded Washington.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2, CSN (Washington), MSG (New York)

ABOUT THE CAPITALS: While New York elected to practice vigorously on Tuesday, Washington embraced a rare day off. "Rest is a weapon. That’s what all the veteran players always say," right wing Eric Fehr said with a smile. "We’re going to take it today, we’re going to watch the video and we’re going to learn from it and we’re going to be better the next game." The video will show six different trips to the penalty box for Washington, as well as a punchless power play which mustered just one shot in three opportunities with the man advantage.

ABOUT THE RANGERS: After defenseman Marc Staal returned in Game 3, New York may see another key cog crack the lineup for Game 4. Rugged Ryane Clowe, who practiced on Tuesday, has not played since April 25 due to an undisclosed injury that is suspected to be a concussion. "If there's an opportunity to play, I'll play. I'm not holding out here and trying to save it. There's nothing to save," Clowe said. "But I don't want to just play a period or a few shifts. If I play, I am in, all in." Clowe recorded three goals and eight points in 12 games after being acquired from San Jose.


* Rangers are 7-0 in their last 7 home games.
* Under is 4-1 in Capitals last 5 overall.
* Home team is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
* Capitals are 9-3 in their last 12 games playing on 1 days rest.


1. Clowe may take the place of C Darroll Powe, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 3. Powe, who didn't practice on Tuesday, sat out the final two periods of Monday's tilt.

2. Washington failed to score on the power play in Game 3 after tallying with the man advantage in each of the first two contests of the series.

3. New York has won its last seven games at Madison Square Garden.

Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues (-125, 4.5)

Series tied 2-2.

The fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings attempt to break serve Wednesday, when they visit the fourth-seeded St. Louis Blues for a pivotal Game 5 in their Western Conference first-round series. St. Louis entered with home-ice advantage and maintained it by posting a pair of 2-1 victories at Scottrade Center, including one in overtime. The reigning Stanley Cup champion Kings continued the trend with two one-goal triumphs at Staples Center.

Los Angeles, which totaled three goals over the first three games, finally broke out of its offensive funk in Game 4 with a 4-3 win. After falling behind by two goals less than five minutes into the contest, the Kings forged a tie before T.J. Oshie scored his second of the game early in the second period to give the Blues a 3-2 advantage. But Anze Kopitar ended his 19-game drought at 7:14 of the third and Justin Williams tallied 76 seconds later to turn it into a best-of-three series.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE KINGS: Wednesday would be a perfect time for Los Angeles to end its winless streak on the road. The Kings have not been victorious away from home since posting a 3-2 triumph over Dallas on March 31, going 0-4-2 over their last six regular-season road games before dropping the first two contests in St. Louis. Conversely, Los Angeles has won nine consecutive home games and had not allowed a first-period goal during that streak before yielding two on Monday. Left wing Kyle Clifford promised the Kings will be ready from the start in Game 5. "They're going to come out hard. We're going to come out even harder," he said.

Right wing Adam Cracknell was the odd man out Monday as coach Ken Hitchcock scratched the member of the popular "CPR Line" in favor of rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who made his postseason debut. The 21-year-old Tarasenko saw only 5:51 of ice time and did not record a shot on goal. Hitchcock very simply summed up the third period of Game 4. "They took the game to another level and we didn't have an answer," he said. While the Kings have struggled mightily on the road, the Blues have been superb at home, winning their last eight contests at Scottrade Center. St. Louis has not lost in its own building since April 14 against the Chicago Blackhawks.


* Kings are 0-8 in their last 8 road games.
* Under is 19-4-3 in Blues last 26 overall.
* Blues are 14-5 in their last 19 vs. Western Conference.
* Home team is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.


1. The Blues and Kings combined for seven goals in Game 4 after totaling that same amount over the first three contests.

2. Los Angeles had 11 different players record at least one point Monday.

3. St. Louis G Brian Elliott had allowed just one goal in six straight starts prior to Game 4.

Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks (-140, 5)

Series tied 2-2.

The Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks know they very well could be resting and preparing for a second-round series. Instead, they are gearing up for a pivotal Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round matchup against the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday at the Honda Center. Second-seeded Anaheim opened the series with a 3-1 home victory and cruised to a 4-0 triumph at Detroit in Game 3.

The Red Wings posted both of their two victories in overtime, pulling out a 5-4 win in Game 2 after squandering a three-goal lead in the third period and emerging with a 3-2 triumph on Monday after trailing by a tally midway through the third. Gustav Nyquist was the hero on Thursday, scoring a power-play goal just 81 seconds into overtime to even the series at one game apiece, and Damien Brunner tallied at 15:10 of the sudden-death period on Monday to again deadlock the matchup.

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

ABOUT THE RED WINGS: Most believed Detroit stood no chance in the series considering the large number of players getting their first taste of the playoffs. But whether the Red Wings win or lose the matchup, those players are gaining valuable experience that should help the team down the road. Brunner is one of those postseason first-timers, while Nyquist saw action in four playoff games last year. "We're still a lot of young guys on this team," the 23-year-old Nyquist said. "A lot of us haven't played too much in the playoffs before. As every game goes by, it helps, for sure."

ABOUT THE DUCKS: Coach Bruce Boudreau was disappointed with his team as a whole on Monday. "I don't think, quite frankly, we had 20 players playing," he said. "We had some passengers." However, captain Ryan Getzlaf insisted Anaheim was upbeat following the Game 4 loss. "We're far from frustrated right now," he said. "One goal the other way and everyone is happy. It's the way it goes. It's playoff hockey and it's fun."


* Red Wings are 6-2 in their last 8 overall.
* Ducks are 1-4 in their last 5 home games.
* Under is 6-1-1 in Red Wings last 8 road games.
* Under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Anaheim.


1. Detroit LW Justin Abdelkader will serve the final contest of his two-game suspension for an illegal hit on Anaheim D Toni Lydman in Game 3. Lydman did not play in Monday's Game 4.

2. The Red Wings have won three of their four games at the Honda Center in 2013.

3. Ducks RWs Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan have combined to score one goal in the series thus far.

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