Bruins Look to Advance

The Senators became the first side to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, humiliating the Habs in Montreal.

The Senators became the first side to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, humiliating the Habs in Montreal.

The Ottawa Senators advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night. The Boston Bruins will look to join them Friday.

The No. 7-seeded Senators handed the banged-up Canadiens a devastating 6-1 loss at Bell Centre, taking a 4-1 series victory and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2007, the year the team went to the Stanley Cup Finals.

As Ottawa did last night, Boston opens play on Friday just one win away from exiting the first round with a series victory.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals return to D.C. tied up at 2-2. With home ice advantage so important in the first four games of the series, can the Caps rebound from a pair of tough losses in Manhattan?

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins (Game 5)

(Boston leads series 3-1)

Winners of both games in Toronto, the Bruins can advance with a win on Friday night.

Winners of both games in Toronto, the Bruins can advance with a win on Friday night.

The Bruins and Maple Leafs return to TD Garden in downtown Boston Friday night (7:00 pm ET), to contest Game 5 in the best-of-seven first round playoff series.

Boston is looking to make its fourth semifinals appearance in five years, while Toronto will hope to find a way to prolong its season, creating a chance for a first semifinals appearance since 2004.

It took overtime to separate the two sides in Toronto on Wednesday night. With the score tied 3-3 at the end of the third period, David Krejci completed a hat trick with a goal 13:06 into overtime to give the Bruins a 4-3 win, and a 3-1 advantage in the series.

Had the goal gone the other way, Toronto would have been returning to Massachusetts tied 2-2 and things would have looked very different.

As it stands, the Maple Leafs – 12th on bookmakers initial lists with 20/1 odds at the beginning of the postseason – now find themselves with their backs against the wall. Vegas have all but written-off the side, now offering odds of 100/1 for the Leafs lifting the Stanley Cup this season.

After Wednesday’s late heroics, Boston (-205) will enter the game favored over Toronto (+186) on the moneyline.

The Bruins have been favored in each of the eight meetings between the sides this season, posting a 6-2-0 record in the process. However, only the March 7 matchup saw Boston favored by more than Friday’s game (-210).

For further analysis of this matchup, click here.

If required, Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday May 12 (Time: TBD) from Air Canada Center in Toronto, ON, Canada.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals (Game 5)

(Series tied 2-2)

The Rangers got themselves back in the series with a pair of wins in New York.

The Rangers got themselves back in the series with a pair of wins in New York.

Just six days ago, the future looked bright for the Washington Capitals.

A strong finish to the season saw the Capitals win the Southeast Division, securing a valuable No. 3 seed in the playoffs. In the opening two games of the first round, the Capitals’ defense stifled the New York Rangers’ previously prolific offense, conceding just one goal at the Verizon Center.

Then it was time to head north to Broadway, and everything changed.

In two games at Madison Square Garden, the Caps gave up a total of eight goals. Although the side managed to score six, it returns to Washington with two losses and a lot of doubts.

The Capitals have made a habit of failing to hold on to 2-game leads in the playoffs. Since 1985, the side has lost eight series after taking a two-game lead (either 2-0 or 3-1). Conversely, the it has won just four series when leading by two.

If that wasn’t enough to generate some doubt, Washington is also 10-20 all-time when a series reaches Game 5.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. In 2011, the Capitals went up 2-0 over the Rangers in the quarterfinals and won that series in 5 games. Then, last season, the semifinals series between these two teams saw the home team win each game. If that trend follows this year, the Caps will advance.

New York will be only too well aware of these trends when the puck drops on Friday night (7:30 pm ET). However, the Rangers have their own worries to deal with.

The Rangers finished fifth in the NHL with 3.08 goals per game at home this season, but managed just 2.17 on the road (23rd). That average has dropped to 0.50 this postseason. The side will hope that eight goals in MSG have turned the tables, and will look for a final score closer to the team’s 4-1 win at Verizon Center on Mar. 10 than last week’s anemic offering.

In keeping with the series trend so far, Washington (-137) will open as the favorite over the Rangers (+124) on the moneyline in Game 5.

For further analysis of this matchup, click here.

Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday May 12 (Time: TBD) from Madison Square Garden in New York.

  • 100%