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Canadiens, Islanders Look To Tie Series

The Canadiens and Islanders are on the hunt for a playoff win. Anything less could be fatal to their playoff aspirations.

No. 2 seeded Montreal suffered an upset in the opening game against Ottawa, while No. 8 seeded New York was steamrolled by Pittsburgh. Both sides will look to score a victory and extend their respective series Friday night when the NHL playoffs continue.

Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury set a franchise record for playoff shutouts in Game 1 against the Islanders.

Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury set a franchise record for playoff shutouts in Game 1 against the Islanders.

New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2)

(Pittsburgh leads series 1-0)

It’s fair to say few expected the Islanders to make the postseason this year. At the beginning of the season, bookmakers were offering 2/13 odds that Jack Capuano’s side would be sitting at home right now. The Long Island side may have beaten those odds but after Wednesday’s Game 1 the team’s first playoff excursion since 2007 might be a short one.

Wednesday night saw Pittsburgh prove why it ran away with the Eastern Conference this year.  Even without captain Sidney Crosby (jaw), the side romped to a 5-0 victory over the hapless Islanders. The Penguins tallied four goals against starter, Evgeni Nabokov in the opening 22 minutes, with Beau Bennett, Pascal Dupuis (2) and Kris Letang adding their names to the scorer’s list, before Tanner Glass added a fifth against backup, Kevin Poulin.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his sixth playoff shutout, passing the franchise record-holder, Tom Barasso.

Crosby skated with his teammates on Thursday morning, suggesting his return may be sooner rather than later. On Wednesday’s performance, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff might consider giving him a little extra rest.

The Islanders will now look to score an upset over the Penguins, and return to Uniondale, NY, with a win on the board. That could be a tough ask though. The Penguins were 4-1-0 against the Islanders this season, although the No. 8 seed could be buoyed by the fact that the one win came in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh is favored on the moneyline at -245 with the Islanders registering at +205.

Game 3 is scheduled for 12 pm ET on Sunday (May 5) from Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson proved too good for Montreal in Game 1.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson proved too good for Montreal in Game 1.

Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens (Game 2)

(Ottawa leads series 1-0)

The Canadiens and Senators face a quick turnaround after Thursday’s Game 1. The two sides will contest Game 2 at Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday night (7:00 pm ET).

In the first ever postseason meeting between the sides, Ottawa (+127) upset the No. 2 seeded Canadiens in Game 1, riding a stunning performance from goalie, Craig Anderson, who stopped 48 of 50 shots. Down 2-1 at the beginning of the third, the Senators tallied three on the score sheet to take the game 4-2, snatching home ice advantage in the process.

Ottawa is making a 12th playoff appearance in 14 years, and is looking to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2007, the year the team made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Montreal is looking to make it out of the opening round for the first time since 2010 and only the sixth time since the team won its last Stanley Cup in 1993.

After Game 1’s disappointment, Montreal will now look to even-up the series and regain home ice. The Canadiens were 2-1-1 against the Senators during the regular season, but 1-1-0 in games in which Anderson was in the net. Both wins this season came at Bell Centre, including a shootout victory on Mar. 13.

Montreal will be without C Lars Eller, who was stretchered off in Game 1 after taking a crushing hit from Ottawa’s Eric Gryba. Gryba may also be absent pending NHL officials taking a look at the hit, which saw the defenseman assessed a five-minute interference penalty and game misconduct call.

Eller’s absence and the quick turnaround mean that opening lines have not been released at publication time. Visit the BettingSports.com NHL odds page for the latest odds.

Game 3 is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET on Sunday (May 5) from Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

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