2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Playoff Bracket: Schedule and Predictions for Monday's Action

Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price during the third period of Game 5 in the second-round of the Stanley Cup hockey playoff series in Boston, Saturday, May 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

The saying goes that the hardest game to win in a playoff series is the closeout game, but don’t overlook the critical Game 5s when a series is tied up at two games apiece.

Hockey fans will be treated to both types of contests Monday night, as the NHL playoffs roll on with a clash between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens and a tilt between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.

Here is a look at Monday’s entire schedule with corresponding broadcast information.

2014 NHL Playoffs: Monday Schedule
MatchupSeriesTime (ET)TV
Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens3-2 (Boston)7:30 p.m.NBC Sports Network
Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks2-210 p.m.NBC Sports Network
ESPN.com

An updated bracket for all the postseason action can be found right here.

 

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens, Game 6

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

We have seen this situation before.

In 2011, Montreal trailed Boston 3-2 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs but had an important Game 6 on its home ice. All it did was take advantage of the raucous crowd and hand the Bruins a loss, although that was eventually canceled out by an overtime Boston victory in Game 7.

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Bruins forward Jarome Iginla knows it will be an intense atmosphere once again this time around, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: “We expect that we are going to have to play our best game yet. We know that they are going to try to use their crowd, and we are most likely going to need our best game of the series.”

The defending Eastern Conference champions may hold a narrow 3-2 edge in this series, but they have been tested, with two of the five contests heading to overtime.

The Canadiens have been dominant in the postseason when scoring first, and with the extra energy from the crowd, it will do just that again. Look for Montreal to seize that early lead and then slowly stifle any subsequent Boston offensive attacks.

Just like 2011, this one is going the full seven. 

Prediction: Montreal 3, Boston 1

 

Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks, Game 5 

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

There is an incredibly interesting subplot in this battle, as the Anaheim Ducks will start rookie goalie John Gibson in the net again after he made 28 saves in his playoff debut and led his squad to a 2-0 victory in Game 4. Whether he can repeat his performance or not will go a long way toward determining which team advances and which doesn’t.

Having a hot goalie is one thing, but we are talking about a one-game sample size. The Kings offense will get back on track in Game 5 after being held scoreless in the previous contest.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 10:  John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks makes the save against the Los Angeles Kings in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Gra
Noah Graham/Getty Images

What’s more, Anaheim is dealing with some injury concerns in Matt Beleskey and Mathieu Perreault

The home ice will certainly help the Ducks, but Los Angeles will find a way to persevere against the rookie goalkeeper.

 

Prediction: Los Angeles 4, Anaheim 3

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