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Our picks for today's NHL Stanley Cup Playoff action

Here are Today’s NHL Picks:

Bruins @ Blue Jackets

Boston pushed most of the action in the third period of Game 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, in the end, Boston could not score that tying goal. The result was not a surprise though some expected a few more goals to be scored. Consider that Boston hit several posts and Columbus hit a crossbar. Chances were there as shots were 37-34 in favor of the Bruins. However, scoring chances at even strength were 24-22 in favor of Columbus and high-danger chances were 10-6 also in favor of the Blue Jackets.

Fortunately, this series has been a bit more predictable than most. Columbus was able to hold on in a low-scoring game which many accurately called. They pulled out to an early 2-0 lead and then held on. Sergei Bobrovsky was outstanding again as he stopped all but one shot. Yes, he had help from the post (three times in all), but Bobrovsky was great making lateral save after lateral save.

Game 4 features more questions than answers. Is Columbus at -125 still a good starting off point to bet from? Basically, are you betting from strength as opposed to weakness. One thing to watch will be whether David Backes is inserted into the lineup for Boston. That means someone will have to come out. It certainly will not be David Pastrnak, even if he is playing hurt. Rumor suggests his hand is bothering again.

A big key for Columbus is to keep rolling those lines. If guys like Jenner, Nash, and Dubinsky are keeping Boston honest, then the skill players can thrive albeit it in a slower paced environment.

The power play was an issue for both teams on Tuesday night as neither found the back of the net. Tuukka Rask fought the puck for most of the night but still made 30+ saves. Sergei Bobrovsky had several near misses but managed to make 36 saves – some of highlight reel quality.

Is this the game where the offenses break out a little bit? Scoring chances have been there, especially of the high-danger variety. It is all about execution. This will be something to watch from both sides.

1u – Under 5.5 total goals @ -137

1u – BOS Bruins Moneyline @ +105

Sharks @ Avalanche

San Jose found a way to slow down Colorado’s attack until the third period on Tuesday and that was enough in a 4-2 victory that saw the Logan Couture line repeatedly gouge the Avalanche defensive corps over and over. Couture had a hat trick in the win and Timo Meier was all over the ice with a multiple point effort. Colorado must find a way to contain that line if they are to have any success. Pete DeBoer will match that line against any – even against the Nathan MacKinnon line.

San Jose’s high-paced style bothered Colorado a ton early in the game. The best defense is a good offense that keeps the puck away. The Sharks had a decided edge in high-danger chances early (which they held onto by a count of 14-10). Scoring chances were taken over by Colorado in the third period but goals at even strength were all San Jose at 4-1. The team that has won that battle has won every single game so far.

Again, San Jose was able to limit Nathan MacKinnon and the top line to just one goal. The defense for Colorado was not able to activate and engage like in Game 2 where they stifled the Sharks and hemmed them in their own zone frequently.

Game 4 feels like a contest with many traps. The goalie matchup of Martin Jones and Philipp Grubauer is what it is at this point. Watch to see how Colorado tries to slow down the Logan Couture line and then counter against that line with an attack of their own.

Home ice advantage was negated in Game 3 by the Sharks because they were able to control play early then score twice in the first period. From there, Colorado had to play catch-up hockey and ran out of gas late in the third when San Jose scored the game winner and insurance goals.

This series is quite even. All it takes is the first goal.

1u – Over 5.5 total goals @ -142

1u – COL Stars Moneyline @ -120

By Chris Wassel

Article Author


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