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Boston Bruins - Montreal Canadien
Ice Hockey: USA - NHL
Thursday 28 April 2011 - Kickoff 01:05

It all comes down to this folks. The Boston Bruins have had problems finding the back of the net, and this being a game seven situation, they must find a way to break through the wall of the Montreal Canadien defense.

After winning Game 6 on Tuesday night, the Bruins and Canadiens find themselves right back at it, traveling to Boston on Wednesday for a series-deciding Game 7. This will be the eighth time in this storied rivalry that these two teams will meet in a Game 7.

Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens look to become just the third team to win both Games 6 and 7 on consecutive days in Stanley Cup history. Michael Cammalleri continued his postseason excellence on Tuesday, scoring a goal and registering an assist and now is tied for the playoff lead for most points with nine (3 G, 6 A).

Dating back to last season when they advanced to the Conference Finals, the Canadiens are 6-1 when facing elimination. Carey Price was excellent Tuesday night, stopping 31 shots in leading Montreal to a 2-1 win. For the series, Price has been outstanding, posting a 1.85 GAA and registering a .942 save percentage.

Boston needs get on the board
Tim Thomas has been victimized so far this series by the Boston Bruins inability to put the puck in the net. After finishing fifth in the NHL this season in goals scored, Boston has managed just 13 goals in the six games. In their three losses, the Bruins scored just two goals.
While Milan Lucic has been invisible (no goals after leading Boston during the regular season with 30) and embarrassed himself getting a game-misconduct penalty in Game 6, the real reason for the Bruins’ lack of scoring is their anemic power play. Only Nashville scored fewer PPG amongst playoff teams this season than Boston’s 43. However, Boston’s power-play has hit a new low this postseason, as the Bruins are 0-for-19 with the man advantage.

Game 7
No two teams in sports history have faced each other more in Game 7 than the Bruins and Canadiens. Montreal has won five of the prior seven meetings. If Boston is going to win this series, it needs someone other than Patrice Bergeron to step up and score.

No Boston player has scored more than two goals this series. Meanwhile, Montreal knows it can depend on Cammalleri, who has shown the ability to thrive in these games (seven goals in Montreal’s seven elimination games dating back to last season).

The Bruins are still the better team, and Thomas is the better goaltender, so I like them to advance. In correlation with Craig's pick, I’m taking Boston, which is 8-6-0 when hosting Montreal over the past three seasons.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Tampa Bay Lightning
Ice Hockey: USA - NHL
Thursday 28 April 2011 - Kickoff 02:05

Expect the Pittsburgh Penguins to bounce back hard after their massive loss at the hands of the Lightning and clinch the series 4-2 at Tampa Bay tonight. NHL odds makers have the Pens +120 on the road with the total set at five.

It's been the first time that these two teams have faced off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it has already been a series that few fans will ever be able to forget, with plenty of goals and plenty of games going against the common expectance. I feel that besides everything else going on in the pre-match build up, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have the advantage of experience after playing in (and winning) tough series like this one. The team from Pittsburgh are in their fifth straight playoff appearance, while Tampa Bay are making a postseason appearance for the first time since 2007.

A big loss is still just a loss
Ahead of (another) must win game the Lightning are looking to practice getting shots in, "We have to get shots there," Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steve Downie said Sunday after practice at the St. Pete Times Forum. It's what they did on Saturday and we all know what happened then: a win in Game 5 at Consol Energy Center, by a six goal margin (8-2).

The Bay still trails 3-2 in the series, going into Game 6 tonight and the Pens aren't running scared ahead of tonight's match, Pittsburgh centre Max Talbot certainly wasn't sweating," You can go back to Game 5 of the [2009] Stanley Cup final, which we lost, 5-0. A loss is (just) a loss." he said. The implication is clear, as after that loss (to Detroit) they bounced back with two straight wins to take the Stanley Cup.

It's not as if shooting at goal is a secret plan for fighting the Penguins, but it did seem like the Lightning may have "forgotten" how important it is, after scoring juts nine times in their previous four games. "I think we were very aware of it and just weren't doing it well enough," said Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer.

If you think that the Lightning will make a real series of it and take the Penguins on home ice forcing a thrilling show down in Game 7, check out the best and latest hockey odds at SBRodds, and bet hard on the game going over 5.5 goals. When the Lightning win they tend to do it in style, besting the Penguins by four goals (5-1 in Game 2) and the aforementioned six goals in Saturday's 8-2 Game 5. However I do think experience will out on Monday and home advantage will be no advantage at all. Not since Game 1 has the home team gone out winners (the Penguins on Wednesday 13th April).


No home comforts this year
"I think me and the rest of the NHL coaches in the playoffs right now are all scratching their heads trying to figure out what's going on with the home teams," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said following his team's away victory on Saturday.

Penguins can take the series with an away win
The next logical step (after assuming that the Penguins will win) is to decide on their winning margin, when Pittsburgh win they tend to make a hard slog of it (discounting their 3-0 shutout win in Game one) as their other two wins were both close 3-2s.
I reckon this game will be a hard fought and close run thing but the Penguins will be the team progressing and they'll do it by 2 goals, although it's still worth having a bet on the match going over. The Penguins also have two big factors in their favour; 1) since 2007, they have only lost one game immediately following a non-series-deciding playoff loss by three or more goals. Which means if the trend continues they will be more than a match for Tampa Bay and 2) I predicted that the Penguins would win the series in six. I'm backing the Penguins and my own prediction from before Game 1 for tonight's match.