The second round of the NHL playoffs begins Thursday night, as the Montreal Canadians visit the Boston Bruins in a meeting of Original 6 teams. The Bruins are huge favorites to win the series. Bookmaker has Boston -255 and Montreal +212 to take the best-of-7 series.
The series shapes up as a real David vs. Goliath type of battle, not so much in terms of Montreal’s chances of winning, but in the size of the players, with the most noticeable difference residing in the two captains. Boston’s Zdeno Chara stands 6-foot-9, while Montreal’s Brian Gionta is all of 5-foot-7.
Still, the Canadians have had some success against the Bruins the past couple of seasons and won three of the four games played between the two this season. Carey Price sports a 17-8-3 lifetime record against the Bruins, although strangely enough, backup goalkeeper Peter Budaj played in three of the four games between the two teams this season and went 2-1.
As great as Tukkaa Rask is, he has had his share of problems against Montreal in his career, going 3-10-3 with a .908 save percentage and allows 2.63 goals per game compared to his career save percentage of .928 and his GAA of 2.04.
But Rask also had dismal numbers against the Detroit Red Wings heading into the first round of the playoffs, as he was just 1-4-1 with a .861 save percentage and 3.51 GAA and all he did was allow six goals in five games with a .961 save percentage.
Still, there’s reason to believe that the Canadians can make this a series. Montreal had the fourth-best penalty kill during the regular season and may be able to neutralize Boston’s fourth-ranked power play to some extent, but must do a better job of staying out of the penalty box to begin with, as the Canadians were the fifth-most penalized team during the season.
The Canadians do have the edge in the speed department, which is expected considering the size and strength advantage of the Bruins, and will have to try and take the game to Boston instead of allowing the Bruins to dictate the flow of the game. If the Canadians can get a back-and-forth game going it will work to their advantage.
There’s good reason the Bruins are favored in this series, but the price is simply a bit too high considering Montreal’s recent success against Boston. The Canadians are a decent value play at +212, which may also give you the chance to hedge your wager a bit if they can earn a split in the first two games or take the series to Game 7.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.