NHL weekend best bets: Is there more Game 7 drama in our future?
And then there were two.
Surprisingly, given the excitement over the intrastate and intra-province rivalries, we're down to just two series still being played after five games. Round 1 saw five Game 7s, but we may not get any trips to seventh heaven in Round 2 with the remaining series favorites getting a chance to close out - albeit on the road.
In true Stanley Cup Playoff fashion, the wild final five minutes of Game 5 of this series were immediately topped by Calgary's seven-goal fracas on Thursday night. However, if you're looking for potential turning points mid-series, the Blues' twice-tying goals and eventual overtime winner in Colorado made things all too real for the front-running Avalanche.
Lost in the various headlines stemming from this series is some lackluster play from Avs goaltender Darcy Kuemper. For all of Ville Husso's struggles since taking over for the injured Jordan Binnington, it's St. Louis that has converted its even-strength high-danger chances at an above-average rate of 16%.
The Blues' lethal power play is also clicking nicely at 36%, so the offense that we expected from St. Louis to compete with Colorado's firepower is coming through. Now the Blues return home where, if they planned on taking this series, they would have expected to win at least once.
There's no question that Colorado has been the better team collectively throughout the series. Still, the emotional chasm created by Binnington's injury might have had something to do with the pair of losses by the home team in Games 3 and 4. The comeback in Game 5 may have given the Blues a second chance, and a refreshed outlook for a championship-caliber group is a dangerous thing.
Bet: Blues moneyline (+140)
In a rare twist, a Stanley Cup Playoff game played out how we thought it might in Raleigh on Thursday night. The Hurricanes' quality of play at even strength shone through with a 2.45-1.35 expected goals advantage. On top of that, they mixed in their first power-play goal of the series en route to a 3-1 win.
The Canes have racked up 59 high-danger scoring chances during five-on-five play in the series. Carolina also had a 28-15 advantage over New York in that category over the previous two losses at Madison Square Garden. The Hurricanes have shown that they can drive the play on the road, even if they haven't won a game away from home this postseason.
Danger always lies around the corner due to Igor Shesterkin's ability to steal a game, especially at home. And the house will be rocking if the Rangers get the first goal. Carolina got on the board first in Game 5, and it'll be up to Antti Raanta to play to the level of his 4.73 goals saved above expectation this series and 7.99 overall. If that continues to be the case, the Canes will make it a "sixth time's the charm" situation and close out the scrappy Blueshirts before we ever see a seventh game.
Bet: Hurricanes moneyline (-105)
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.
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