NHL Quick Hits – 6/4/13

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In the interest of time, I want to put out a short update on the NHL conference finals so far. One series has gone exactly as I predicted. The other hasn’t, to my delight.

Blackhawks vs. Kings – Blackhawks lead 2-0

So far, this has gone to plan. LA has made some mistakes on the road and been overpowered by the Chicago offense. Jonathan Quick got pulled after allowing 4 goals early in game 2, the first time that’s happened to the former UMass Amherst Minuteman in 34 NHL playoff games. I think LA empties the tank for game 3. They’re a tough team that plays well at home and will be trying to avoid the dreaded 3-0 deficit. They know that’s all they’re going to hear about on Thursday night if they do in fact lose and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Quick was the x-factor in this series and if he can hold Chicago to 2 or less tonight, I think LA takes game 3. I think LA -115 is an average bet tonight. Juicy +125 odds on under 4.5 goals tonight, if you think Quick comes back to form then the game shouldn’t get to 5. It’s a small play if at all, though.

For SFTC, if you think there’s a score in the first period, I would take 34 or Under on the 1st period prop, other than Hossa and Kane for Chicago, most of the goal scorers have low jersey numbers. I will be taking 35 or Over / No Goal. The 2nd period prop is a typical 1.5 o/u line for the period; see how the game is going before taking that one.

Bruins vs. Penguins – Bruins lead 2-0

Do not adjust your television. The Boston Bruins have exploited every weakness possible in the Penguins defense and goaltending en route to 9 goals in 2 games, while maintaining a hard-hitting defense of their own backed by Tuukka Rask in net. The Penguins have played well in Boston over the last few seasons, but this is not the Penguins team that was ringing teams up for 4-5 goals a night. They’re trying to play a physical game which plays right into Boston’s hands. Despite the fact that Toronto exposed Boston and nearly beat them with an up-tempo offense, Pittsburgh is trying to outdo Boston at their own game. They are best equipped to play a high-scoring goal fest, and thus far, choose not to.

Pittsburgh was two posts away from a one-goal game in game 1, and then completely fell apart mentally last night when everyone expected the Bruins’ puck luck to evaporate. I think the Boston crowd is going to make life miserable for Crosby, Cooke and Iginla in particular, and the Pens don’t seem to have any idea how to score on Rask, but despite all of this rhetoric, I don’t see how the Bruins sweep even in my wildest dreams. The Penguins are too talented to go out like this, especially given their history in TD Garden.

I maintain that I dislike betting with/against my own team so this is a stay-away for me, but Boston is favored tomorrow night at -120 if you choose to ride this incredibly bizarre turn of events. I think the Bruins are playing too well to bet against. However, if you believe in the Penguins’ ability to snap out of this funk, no better time to bet it than when they are even money.

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