Puck Playoffs by Kevin Stott for Monday, April 21, 2008

Apr 21, 2008 8:08 PM

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens (-196, 5) (Versus TV): So it all comes down to this. After totally dominating the Bruins and sweeping the season series (8-0, outscoring them 38-16), Montreal has suddenly been playing like the No. 8 seed here, and lost Games 5 and 6 – where it had leads in both – when it had a chance to close out the series.

In goal, the B’s have actually gotten a stronger performance from their guy, Tim Thomas (2.27 GAA) than Les Habs have in Carey Price (2.43). The momentum in this series seemed to really change when in Game 5, tied 1-1, when Price gloved the puck in the crease, then skiddishly put it down in his own zone resulting in a soft Boston goal.

The fans in Montreal will certainly be rabid this evening, but their volume will certainly be tempered with a huge dose of humility after the way the Canadiens have let this series go down to this final game. And I see all that pressure on Montreal coming back to really hurt them a little bit. A 20-year-old rookie goalie not wanting to let his team and his whole country down is a lot to overcome and it seems the Bruins have gained more confidence every game.

With so much at stake at the Bell Centre in this one, I see more goals than normal and a 2-2 tie at some point is a distinct possibility. And Canadiens’ netminder Price is not the same as he was in Games 1-4 … His age is starting to show. OVER 5.


Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers (-143, 5 ½): Washington kept this series alive with a 3-2 win in DC on Saturday, forcing this pivotal game. The Flyers’ Mike Knuble is out with a torn left hamstring and will miss the rest of the series, meaning the Broad Street Bullies are without one of their better offensive threats in this one. Expect the raucous Philly crowd to help the homeboys in this one and advance to the second round by hook or by crook. Also, this series has had 32 goals in the first five games (6.4 GPG) with three of the five going OVER the posted total. Let’s stick with the mini-trend and the home team. FLYERS -143, OVER 5½.