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NHL Playoffs Review and Saturday Preview

Here is a look at the entertaining NHL playoff games from Friday night.

The Red Wings were perfect in the regular season against the Bruins. Unfortunately for Boston fans, that trend continued on Friday night when the top-seeded Bruins fell to Detroit, 1-0. This game was gritty and hard-fought throughout, as both goalies were able to keep the scoreboard clean until the closing minutes in the final period. There was with just three minutes left when Pavel Datsyuk would flick in a wrist shot past Tuukka Rask and give the Wings the 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and in the series. The goal was Datsyuk’s 37th career postseason score, and his latest couldn’t have come at a better time to put the Wings, currently at 25/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup, over the favorite Bruins, who have a league best 3/1 chance at winning it all. The Bruins were shorthanded on Friday, playing with Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller, who both had the flu. They’ll hope to have these guys back as they get ready for game two on Sunday, where the Bruins will have to get a win if they want to avoid going down to a very precarious 0-2 hole before they head to Hockeytown.

Game one of the series between Montreal and Tampa Bay resulted in a 5-4 win in overtime for the Habs. On Friday, the Canadians looked much more dominate as they routed the Lightning for a 4-1 result. The win puts the Canadians up 2-0 in the series, as things shift back to Montreal. The Canadians currently sit at 20/1 to win the Cup, while the Lightning are now down at 25/1. However, it’s going to take a huge comeback if Tampa hopes to bring things back home to try and advance out of the first round. Tampa fans shouldn’t feel completely hopeless, or at least just yet. The Lightning won the season series, 3-1, including two wins in Montreal. However, they’ll have to quickly turn things around if they want to change their current course. Carey Price had 26 saves on the night and Rene Bourque lit up the lamp on two separate occasions for Montreal. The Lightning will need to get more help in coming games from Steven Stamkos, as he was -1 on Friday night. The Bolts have found themselves in quite the hole and it’ll take a lot to get out of it.

The Anaheim Ducks had a bit of a scare on Wednesday when the Dallas Stars came storming back to make a 3-0 lead turn into a much closer 4-3 finish. And while the 3-2 win for Anaheim was equally as close on Friday, the Ducks now have a much more comfortable 2-0 series lead as things shift to Dallas. The Ducks are currently sitting at 7/1 to win the Stanley Cup this year, while the Stars are a league-worst 50/1. Dallas got on the board first when Alex Chiasson scored on the power play just seven minutes in. It wasn’t until just under three minutes left that Ryan Getziaf would tie things up heading into the second period. In the next 20-minutes of play Corey Perry would get the only goal of the period, putting the Ducks up 2-1. Andrew Cogilano would then score shorthanded in the third period, allowing for a 3-1 cushion. Dallas’ Ryan Garbutt came right back a few minutes later to bring things to 3-2, but neither team was able to score again in the final 10-minutes of play. Both teams will now have the entire weekend off to rest and get ready for game three, which will take place on Monday in Dallas. However, the Stars will need to find a way to try and turn things around if they hope to get out of their current 2-0 hole.

Here are the handicapper odds for Saturday’s games from SportsPicks.com:
Chicago Blackhawks +1 ½
St. Louis Blues -1 ½
Blues lead series 1-0

Columbus Blue Jackets +1 ½
Pittsburgh Penguins -1 ½
Penguins lead series 1-0

Minnesota Wild +1 ½
Colorado Avalanche -1 ½
Avalanche lead series 1-0