Ricky's 1* Free Play on the Dallas Stars.
Key Angle: It's important to remember that Ricky never makes a bet on any game based on just one angle. In order to make the grade, all his premium picks must meet several important criteria. He doesn't share all his secrets within his analysis, instead he chooses to reveal only the angle that he feels is the most significant.
- Stars’ net minder Ben Bishop. Note that only one other regular goaltender (the Islanders’ Robin Lehner) has a higher save percentage in the first round than Bishop’s .945. Bishop stopped 47 of 48 shots in his team’s 2-1 OT win over the favored Predators in his most recent and I think he offers great value to carry his team to another win in Game 1 vs. St. Louis.
The verdict: With the Flames, Predators and Jets all eliminated, it’s a free for all in the Western Conference. The Blues are riding a hot rookie goaltender (Jordan Binnington), but I’ll take his veteran counterpart in Game 1. Also note that the Stars have to be feeling pretty confident here after taking three of four from the Blues in the regular season. Great value, consider Dallas on Thursday night!
The set-up: Yes Columbus somehow managed to dispatch the Lightning in four games in Round 1 and it comes in rested compared to Boston, which needed seven games to advance past the Leafs. But I think the extra time off will in fact be detrimental to the Blue Jackets’ momentum. Columbus was one of the best down the stretch of the regular season and that momentum got carried over vs. the Lightning, but I think it finally comes out flat here. The Bruins come in off an exhausting series, but they’ve done well against Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, as he’s just 3-8 with a 3.90 GAA lifetime vs. Boston. The Bruins were 31-14 at home and were led by Tuukka Rask, who is 15-8 with a 2.32 GAA in Boston and who is 9-6 with a 2.67 GAA lifetime vs. Columbus.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Columbus is still only 18-38 in its last 56 as a road underdog in the +110 to +150 range, while Boston is 29-11 in its last 40 as a favorite in the -150 to -200 range. Consider the home side in Game 1.
1* FREE PLAY BRUINS
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