Sunday Playoff Action
May 12, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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The NHL playoffs have been terrific as the first round nears a close. Two games take place tonight, including an elimination battle in Anaheim between the Red Wings and Ducks. So far, the Penguins, Senators, Blackhawks, Sharks, and Kings have advanced to the conference semifinals. The champion from two years ago is on the verge of moving to the next round, but it takes a road victory tonight at Toronto.
Bruins at Maple Leafs - 7:35 PM EST - NBCSN
Boston gets a second shot of advancing tonight after stumbling in Game 5 at home, 2-1. The Maple Leafs grabbed a 2-0 lead before a late Bruins' goal to cut the deficit in half, but James Reimer was fantastic in the Toronto net by making 43 saves. Toronto cashed as +180 road underdogs, as the task gets difficult tonight due to the Leafs' recent woes at home.
The Bruins have beaten the Leafs twice this series at the Air Canada Center, including a 4-3 overtime triumph in Game 4 as a -130 favorite. Toronto has now lost four straight home games dating back to the regular season, while owning a 2-5 mark as a home underdog this season. One of those victories came against Boston in late March, but the Leafs have failed to win back-to-back games in each of their last four opportunities.
Toronto netted four power play goals in the first three games of this series, but Randy Carlyle's team has failed to score with the man-advantage in the last two contests. The Bruins are just 2-for-11 on the power play the last four games, while scoring nine goals in the two visits to the Air Canada Center.
There is still a lot to figure out, but the winner of this series draws whichever team comes out of the Rangers/Capitals series in the next round.
Red Wings at Ducks - 10:05 PM EST - NBCSN
Neither team has won consecutive games in this series, as the first Game 7 of the postseason takes place at the Honda Center tonight. Detroit squandered a late 3-1 lead in Friday's Game 6, as the Ducks forced overtime with goals by Emerson Etem and Bobby Ryan in the final four minutes of regulation. The Wings bounced back in the extra session with a goal from Henrik Zetterberg just 64 seconds into overtime to even the series at 3-3.
All three victories by Detroit in this series have come in overtime, while two of Anaheim's wins came by at least two goals. Mike Babcock's club has taken three of five meetings at the Honda Center, but two of those wins occurred in the regular season. The Ducks have scored at least three goals in five games of this series, as the 'over' has hit only twice so far.
Anaheim has stumbled recently at the Honda Center, winning just two of its last six home contests. Bruce Boudreau's squad owns a dreadful 2-7 record the previous nine times as a home favorite of at least -140, as one of those defeats came in Game 2. The Ducks look to advance to the second round for the first time since 2009, while playing its first Game 7 since the conference semifinals in 2009, in which Anaheim was knocked out by Detroit.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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