Red Wings Look To Avoid Elimination
Opening face-off at TD Garden is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET.
After winning the series opener, Detroit has dropped three straight, including Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Joe Louis Arena, to plummet into as precarious a playoff position as possible.
The Red Wings go into Saturday’s Game 5 knowing they need three straight wins if they’re to set up a second round matchup against the Montreal Canadiens. Boston hasn’t lost three consecutive games since last year’s Stanley Cup finals.
With the Habs resting up after a four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins meanwhile will be looking to conclude this series as quickly as possible and get stuck in to the Atlantic Division finals series.
The Bruins will be confident of their chances of emerging with a victory in Game 5, ruining Detroit’s first playoff jaunt as a member of the Eastern Conference in the process.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask – the favorite to win this season’s Vezina Trophy – has allowed just four goals all series, stopping 115-of-119 shots for a 95 percent save percentage. He’ll figure to play a big part in Saturday’s game, providing head coach Claude Julien doesn’t decide to sit him on late notice.
The Wings started Jonas Gustavsson in net Thursday, giving regular start Jimmy Howard – suffering with flu – time to rest up. Making his postseason debut, Gustavsson stopped 37-of-40 shots on the evening to keep the Motown side in it, but Jarome Iginla’s redirected overtime strike proved the difference-maker. Head coach Mike Babcock may be tempted to go with the Swede again on Saturday.
Returning home, Boston (-221) opened as the moneyline favorite over Detroit (+200). The line has stayed fairly constant in favor of the Bruins, although there are some sportsbooks that are giving the side a heavier advantage.
The Bruins are by no means a lock to win on Saturday afternoon though. In addition to taking the series opener at TD Garden, the Red Wings also won took one of two meetings at the arena during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Bruins were just 3-2 a year ago when on the verge of eliminating an opponent. The bad news for Detroit fans is that the B’s advanced in each series they won three games in.
The total opened at 5.
Bettors should be wary of the over, which has yet to cash in this series. The under has paid out twice (once in Boston) while the other two games saw a push.
Should the Red Wings stave off elimination on Saturday, they’ll host the Bruins in Game 6 on Monday.
Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks
Game 5: San Jose leads series 3-1
10:00 p.m. ET – Like the Red Wings, the Los Angeles Kings will also look to avoid an early postseason exit as they visit the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of their Western Conference first round matchup. The Kings won the first of potentially four elimination games on Thursday, sinking the Sharks 6-3 at Staples Center. The Kings went 1-1-1 at HP Pavilion during the regular season, so a miracle could still occur.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
Game 5: Series tied 2-2
7:00 p.m. ET – After tying the series with an overtime win on Wednesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets will again look to upset the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Penguins as the series returns to the Steel City. The two sides split the opening pair at Consol Energy Center. Who takes the advantage after this one?
Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche
Game 5: Series tied 2-2
9:30 p.m. ET – The Minnesota Wild held serve over the two games played at Xcel Energy Center to tie-up this first round series. The Colorado Avalanche will now look to defend its own home ice and take the advantage going forward.
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