From the very beginning, the Boston Bruins carried the best Stanley Cup playoff odds because they steamrolled the second half of the season and proved that they are one of the toughest teams to play against. When they aligned with Montreal in the second round, we all expected it to be a war of attrition. Not many of us expected this game to go to a seventh game.
Stanley Cup Playoff Odds have the Bruins at -170 in Boston Vs. Montreal at +145
I even personally pegged this as a six game series, and even that felt like a stretch. Boston’s physicality, Tuukka Rask‘s playoff brilliance between the pipes and their overall style of play made them a no-brainer to me. Obviously, Montreal had different plans.
Very few of us predicted Game 6 unfolding the way it did. Montreal had perhaps its best effort of the season on Monday as they shut out Boston 4-0 and decorated Tuukka Rask with some unfamiliar scoreboard bruises. The concept of momentum in playoff hockey is perceived in different ways generally speaking, but it’s impossible to argue that Montreal doesn’t hold court even as the road dogs this Wednesday.
If you’re going to bet Montreal vs. Boston, it’s extremely difficult to turn away from the +145 number the bookies have tabbed the Habs with. Both teams have played absolutely brilliantly lately and Carey Price is bar none the best goalie in the post season and there is a strong argument that 2014 is simply his year. A long awaited Stanley Cup championship would be a welcome addition to the gold medal he helped earn in Sochi as part of Team Canada.
However, there’s a reason that Boston is so heavily favored in the Stanley Cup playoff odds on this pivotal Game 7. The simple truth is that Boston has recently refused to give up Game 7’s. Last year’s comeback against Toronto was historic, and in the year before that they crushed Montreal, Vancouver and Tampa Bay’s spirit in the seventh game as well while winning the championship. In other words, Boston thrives in this kind of moment. And as you can tell by their brief history in the playoffs, they love beating teams from Canada…especially Montreal.
“Anything can happen in Game 7,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. “That’s the beauty of it.”
That’s why you can’t throw too much in to Montreal’s performance in Game 6. Boston takes losses against their biggest rival as personally as you can, and they know that that game was an aberration. There is always the chance the Price stands on his head, or that Montreal plays as completely as they did on Monday yet again. There’s also the high probability that Boston eats their lunch.
You have to keep in mind that the Bruins are the highest rated team in the entirety of the playoffs. There is definitely something magical about this particular rivalry, which is something that those who have bet Montreal vs. Boston games before are more than familiar with. There is never such a thing as a normal game between the Bruins and Habs. I don’t expect Game 7 to be any type of exception.
Montreal is a great team that is coming together at the perfect moment, and there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Habs and Bruins are probably the best two teams in the playoffs right now. Nobody should be excited to play either of them. Montreal has only had long Stanley Cup playoff odds because they had to go through Boston to get to the finals, and even though that seemed like an unlikely achievement for this team two weeks ago, it’s now a very real possibility.
Still, I just can’t bring myself to bet against Boston in a Game 7. They’re too resilient as a city and a franchise and are a proven commodity in this type of circumstance with this particular set of players. That’s why you have to leverage with the home favorite, despite the heavy betting odds on what promises to be another Montreal vs. Boston classic.
“Can’t dwell on anything going into a Game 7,” Bruin Milan Lucic said. “For guys that have been around here for a couple years, this is the ninth one since 2008, so it’s all we’re looking forward to right now. We’re putting everything else behind us. We know one game, winner moves on.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 7 Pick: Boston -170