Free Stanley Cup Finals Picks and Odds – Game 2 Boston Bruins @ Vancouver Canucks Favorite, Moneyline, Total and Predictions 6/4/11: It took all but 18 seconds of regulation, but the Vancouver Canucks were finally able to draw first blood in the Stanley Cup finals, taking the opener by a score of 1-0. Raffi Torres slipped a shot by Boston goalie Tim Thomas in the dying seconds to secure the win, but the tone of the finals has been set. This series is going to be about two excellent goalies and two disciplined defenses.
The strengths of both teams were on full display in Game 1. The deep offensive attack of the Canucks unleashed a barrage of shots, but Thomas looked every bit the goalie that set an NHL record for save percentage in a single season. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo wasn’t tested as often by the Boston offense, but he stopped every shot that came his way. The end result was a 1-0 shutout win for the Canucks in a very physical opening game.
The Bruins enter Game 2 in Vancouver as the underdogs and are currently getting 1 ½ goals. Bettors should expect similar spreads throughout the series with Luongo and Thomas limiting offense for both sides and keeping things close. Unfortunately, the spreads don’t give bettors much margin for error, and an empty net goal late in a game could end being the difference between getting paid and coming up empty.
That being said, there are plenty of reasons to pick the Bruins to cover the spread in Game 2. Thomas not only gives Boston a chance to stay close on every game, but he gives them a chance to win every game as well. He recorded a pair of shutouts in the Eastern Conference finals, and he nearly added a third in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins make sure to play to their strength, giving massive defenseman Zdeno Chara nearly 30 minutes of ice time a night. With Chara and Thomas altering and blocking shots, the Canucks are going to have a tough time amassing a big lead.
The problem for the Bruins is going to be scoring. Boston has been absolutely inept on the power play this postseason, and the problems continued in Game 1. Not to mention the fact that the Vancouver offense has more weapons and is probably going to control the tempo throughout the series. Thomas has already shown he is up to the task, but the Bruins are going to have real issues scoring if they can’t even muster enough offense to put pressure on Luongo.
At the end of the day, Game 2 could play out a lot like Game 1. Vancouver will probably come out on top of another close game. The Canucks offense is going to fire away on Thomas, and one or two pucks are bound to find the back of the net eventually. On the flip side, the Bruins showed no signs of being able to produce a consistent attack of their own in Game 1. That being said, Boston doesn’t have to win the game for bettors to get paid. Even with a mediocre offense, the Bruins have the defense muscle to hang within a goal.
Bettors will also want to get in on the over/under in this one. With the line currently at 5 goals, this bet is an easy one. Considering Game 1 was only 18 seconds from going to overtime in scoreless tie, expecting a drastic difference in Game 2 is probably a mistake. Take the under and look for another 1-0 or 2-1 type of game.
Prediction: Boston Bruins (+1 ½) Cover the Spread, Teams Combine to Score Fewer than 5 Goals
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|GAME 2 Boston Bruins at Vancouver Canucks
Time: 8:05 PM EST
2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Series: (Best of 7 Series: Canucks lead 1-0)
Vegas Odds –
Favorite: Vancouver Canucks -185(moneyline) Total: Over/Under 5
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