Penguins Vs. Capitals is The Time of Nick
By Bob Duff
Maybe the Washington Capitals are deploying their checking line against the wrong guy. While Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is the target of their shutdown group, Pittsburgh forward Nick Bonino is the player who keeps putting the dagger in Washington's heart. Will it continue to be all about Bonino in Game 2? We've got all the data right here, and you can place your wagers on the odds offered by TopBet.eu:
As soon as Nick Bonino's third-period breakaway goal beat Washington goalie Braden Holtby, the difference in Pittsburgh's 3-2 Game 1 triumph, you could almost hear Hockey Night In Canada Punjabi play-by-play announcer Harnarayan Singh's famous "Bonino, Bonino, Bonino" call of his game winner against San Jose in last spring's Stanley Cup final.
Bonino also scored the winner in overtime in Game 6 against the Capitals last spring, the goal that eliminated Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington from the playoffs and put the Penguins in the Eastern Conference final.
As much as the attention of this series is focused on the respective captains and resident superstars - Crosby and Alex Ovechkin - it's often the foot soldiers that determine the outcome. Guys like Bonino. Six of his 14 career Stanley Cup goals have been game winners, including two series-clinching OT tallies.
The Capitals need to find their Bonino or this series could go south for them. As for being behind in a series, that's business as usual for the Caps. In the Ovechkin era, they've played 14 prior series, only winning two without ever trailing and are 4-8 in the series in which they've fallen behind.
Goals were relatively sparse in Game 1 but if the Penguins have their way that won't be the case for long. Pittsburgh have gone over in five of their last seven games. The Capitals, on the other hand, have gone under in eight of their last 11 games.
We like the over (5.5) in this one at -105.
Pick: The Capitals (-145) and the over (5.5)
New York Rangers (-115) at Ottawa Senators (-105)
The best defenseman in the playoffs - likely in all of the NHL - took over Game 1 and won it for the Senators. The Rangers must come up with an answer for Erik Karlsson. The Senators captain netted the game winner, his seventh point in as many playoff games.
The winning goal reminded everyone of the roles some players play in playoff success and some in playoff failure. It was Rangers forwaard Rick Nash, a perennial playoff underachiever, who couldn't get the puck out of the zone, and Ottawa agitator Alex Burrows who bumped Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist just enough to be annoying but not enough to be penalized.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was critical of forward Kevin Hayes following the game, so expect some lineup juggling from New York, who went with the same 18 skaters in Game 1 against Ottawa that had won the last three games of the Rangers' opening-round series with Montreal.
If you are looking for a different type of wager to play on this and other playoff games, why not try the home team/away team goals bet? To play this wager is relatively simple. TopBet sets the over/under on goals scored by one set of teams or the other at 10.5. Choose the under and you'll get -115 on the away clubs and -105 on home teams. Go with the over and it's +110 away and -130 home.
Pick: The Rangers (-115) and the under (5)
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