Free NHL Picks: Canadiens at Penguins and Bruins at Flyers Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/12/2010
Enjoy tonight’s NHL action. because barring something unforeseen it will be the final time there are multiple games this season on the same day. Unfortunately they overlap on Versus.
Canadiens at Penguins, Game 7, 7 p.m.
The line: Penguins -238/Habs +217 (5.5)
How they enter: If form holds the Penguins will advance tonight because no team has won consecutive games in this series. Montreal forced a Game 7 with a 4-3 home win on Monday.
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Scouting report: This could be the final game ever at Mellon Arena, as the Pens are moving to a new building next season. However, Pittsburgh has won its past four Game 7s, albeit all on the road. Pittsburgh definitely needs to shadow Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri. He has scored 11 goals in these playoffs (the most of anyone), including three two-goal games. He's the first Montreal player with three multiple-goal games in one playoff year since 1991. The big injury news tonight revolves around Montreal defenseman Hal Gill. He suffered a laceration behind his left leg in Game 5 and was scratched from Game 6 despite skating in the pre-game warm-up. Gill will be a game-time decision tonight. He is a 6-foot-7, 241-pound monster who shadows Sidney Crosby everywhere the Pens’ star goes – Gill had played against Crosby for 70 percent of the center's shifts before getting hurt. It’s no coincidence that Crosby had his best game of the series in Game 6 with a goal and assist. Montreal already has won four times in these playoffs when facing elimination and of course won Game 7 in Washington in the last series. The Habs have won their past three Game 7s, but this will be the first time since 1971 that they have had two of them in the same playoffs.
Key trends: The Canadiens are 1-5 in their past six in Pittsburgh.
The ‘under’ is 4-1 in each team’s past five.
The pick: I think the Pens are obviously the better team but that the Habs might be the team of destiny. Plus I favor Jaroslav Halak over Marc-Andre Fleury. Go with Montreal and the ‘under’.
Bruins at Flyers, Game 6, 8 p.m.
The line: Flyers -135/Bruins +125 (5)
How they enter: This series seemed over with Boston taking a 3-0 lead, but the shorthanded Flyers have managed nine total goals in winning the past two games.
Scouting report: Philadelphia won’t have starting goalie Brian Boucher for the rest of the playoffs after he injured both knees in Game 5. Backup Michael Leighton came in and made 14 saves as the duo shut out the Bruins in Game 5. Leighton was 16-5-2 with a .918 save percentage this season after being acquired off waivers from the Hurricanes. He was actually the starter before getting hurt himself – Game 5 was his first game since March 16 in Nashville, and he in fact hadn’t even been active until Game 5. Flyers winger Claude Giroux (16 goals, 31 assists this season), who was knocked from Game 5 after a hit from behind by Boston’s Steve Begin, is expected to play tonight. Philly has taken off since Simon Gagne returned from an injury – he has scored three goals since returning from a fractured toe on his right foot in Game 4. The Flyers have a 1-13 record when trailing a series 3-2. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in these playoffs, but there’s no thought of replacing him.
Key trends: The Bruins are 4-0 in their last four after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.
The Flyers are 6-1 in their past seven as a favorite.
Bruins are 6-2 in the past eight in Philly.
The pick: If you’ve paid attention to these NHL Playoffs at all, it’s pretty clear that home-ice advantage doesn’t mean much. I don’t trust a rusty Leighton. Take Boston and the ‘over’
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