The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs have been full of action-packed, edge-of-your-seat excitement so far. Plenty of amazing matchups have led to overtime action, down-to-the-wire finishes and decisive Game 7s.
We'll see more of the same on Wednesday.
The Boston Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens in what promises to be a spectacle of a Game 7. This series has been a roller-coaster ride for both teams, and the series' final game remains completely unpredictable.
The Los Angeles Kings host the Anaheim Ducks in a monumental Game 6. The Kings will be on their home ice and look to draw even in the series, while the Ducks will look to send the Kings packing with one more victory.
As we impatiently await these highly anticipated matchups, let's look at the current odds for each game and decide how each will shake out.
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
Series Record: Tied 3-3
When: Wednesday, May 14
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Odds: Boston -1.5 (via OddsShark.com)
A two-overtime Game 1 really set the tone for this series, as the Canadiens edged the Bruins 4-3 in that contest. After a back-and-forth battle throughout the following five games, the series remains even at three games each.
Game 6 in Montreal featured the biggest blowout in this series, with the Canadiens routing the Bruins 4-0.
Michael Giardi summed up this series, and these teams, perfectly with this tweet:
Bruins were the best team in regular season. Canadiens are a good team with growing confidence. This is what it's suppose to be in elite 8— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) May 13, 2014
Max Pacioretty ended his slump in decisive fashion, scoring one goal and notching one assist. He spoke of his performance during a press conference with the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, shortly after:
I was just waiting for my time to pitch in offensively. Obviously you wanted it to happen more often in the playoffs, but it's two do-or-die games where I've scored a goal so I feel confident that I'm helping the team. You want to feel you're helping the team win and I think I did that tonight.
Boston coach Claude Julien also spoke at the press conference and discussed his team's performance:
The second goal probably hurt us the most because we were spending a lot of time in their end and we had some great chances to tie the game, but that kind of turned the tide around. I didn't like the way they got their goals tonight.
But we had more lines going than we've had this whole series. We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, but if you hit posts and miss open nets. ... You've got to bury those chances. Tonight they came back to haunt us.
Julien was dead on. Despite his team's shutout loss, the Bruins had plenty of scoring opportunities. Playing the final game on the team's home ice without the distraction of a hostile crowd will be a big difference-maker in this one.
Expect a close game, but the Bruins pull out the victory in the end.
Boston 3, Montreal 2
Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings
Series Record: Anaheim leads 3-2
When: Wednesday, May 14
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Los Angeles -1.5 (via OddsShark.com)
Talk about a wild series. After the Kings took the first two games on the road, it seemed like they'd make quick work of the Ducks. Not so fast. With two road wins of their own, followed by the series' first home win in Game 5, Anaheim now leads 3-2.
ESPN Stats & Info tweeted the unusual statistic:
Ducks beat the Kings to take a 3-2 series lead ... it's the first game in the series won by the home team— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 13, 2014
The Ducks received production from all over their roster in a close Game 5 win over Los Angeles. Many different players on different lines found production on the offensive end of the ice. Despite allowing three goals, John Gibson was solid in goal, racking up 39 saves.
Teemu Selanne had a great night for Anaheim and spoke of the team's all-around effort during a postgame press conference with the Associated Press, via ESPN.com.
Said Selanne, "They answered the bell again. Devo has all the tools. Gibby is rock-solid. They're pretty special players, and they both took care of it for us tonight. You need special contributions from everybody to do what we're trying to do."
On the other side, the Kings found plenty of offensive production, racking up 42 shots of goal; however, only three found the back of the net.
Marian Gaborik was all over the place, compiling seven shots and scoring two of the team's three goals on the night.
Gaborik also spoke at the press conference and talked about the team's offensive strategy:
We were talking about how we have to get to Gibson, and if we do, things are happening. If we get shots through and try to go to the net, rebounds are there, and we got some chances. We have to keep doing that and we have to clean a lot of stuff up. We're coming home. We're confident we can win and come back here.
He was right.
The Kings had plenty of chances in Game 5, and coming home to play Game 6 should produce more of the same. Expect the Kings to follow the Ducks' lead and earn their first home win of the series to force a Game 7.
Los Angeles 3, Anaheim 1