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Senators on Verge of Final Four
Rangers Hope Home-Ice Edge Holds
By Bob Duff
You can get the Ottawa Senators down but you can never count them out. Will their ability to rebound continue as they seek to reach the Eastern Conference final, or will the New York Rangers live to fight another day? We look at all the angles, using odds provided by BetOnline.ag:
The lone series in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs where home ice has ruled the day, the Rangers need that pattern to continue as they return to Madison Square Garden trailing 3-2 in the set and seeking to stave off elimination.
Resiliency has been Ottawa's trademark throughout these playoffs. The Senators hadn't lost back-to-back playoff games before Games 3 and 4 of this series at New York. Ottawa has trailed by at least one goal in five of its seven wins this postseason, including three contests in which the Sens erased a multi-goal deficit to win. Ottawa rallied from a multi-goal deficit to win four times in 132 all-time playoff games prior to 2017. The Senators have also won 30 times this season in games in which they were the betting underdog.
The Senators suit up the player who has far and away been the best player on the ice in this series. When Game 4 was clearly out of reach, Ottawa coach Guy Boucher wisely held captain Erik Karlsson out of the third period. Playing on a fractured foot, Karlsson put the boots to the Rangers in Game 5 with three assists in Ottawa's 5-4 victory, including helpers on the tying and winning goals, for his first career three-point playoff game. Karlsson, who leads the Senators with 1-10-11 totals, established franchise records for assists and points in a playoff year by a defenseman.
Ottawa forward Kyle Turris produced another clutch marker in Game 5, as he scored for the second straight game. Turris has three game-winning goals in Stanley Cup play, all of which have come in overtime. He's one of seven players in NHL history to score three playoff OT winners in his first 40 career postseason games.
From the Rangers point of view, Game 5 might be best remembered for the first-period shouting match between forward Derek Stepan and goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Even though he sits fifth in both goals-against average (2.18) and save percentage (.930), the King has proven erratic in the playoffs. He's allowed four or more goals in three of New York's losses and has been beaten 13 times the Rangers' three setbacks in this series.
The total on this one is set at five, and the Rangers are going to want it to go under or be a push in order to win. They are 6-2 when the total goals in the game are five or less, and 0-3 when the total goes over five. The Senators are 3-4 when the total goals scored are five or under but are a solid 4-0 when the total exceeds five.
So if you think if you think the home-ice advantage will hold forth, play the Rangers and the under. If you believe the Senators are going to end this series in Game 6, play the over. But know this: the total has gone under in five of Ottawa's last eight games at Madison Square Garden.
You might also want to take a hard look at the Rangers in the puckline at -1.5 and +180. New York has won on the puckline three times, the most of any playoff team.
Pick: The Rangers (-165) and the under (5)
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