Night three of the NHL playoffs was a great night for the favored teams, as three out of four came up with a comfortable multi-goal win in the second games of their series. The only underdog who won was the one who wasn’t an underdog at the start of the playoffs, as Tampa Bay showed that it still does have some fight left in it despite playing almost two full seasons without a real offseason.
As a result, three series are even at a game apiece, with Carolina holding the only 2-0 lead after the first two games. For Thursday’s set of games, both Eastern favorites are trying to even their series, while the two Western favorites want to take a two-game lead and put a chokehold on this contest.
Here are the lines for May 5’s action.
MLB Odds, Schedule, and Probable Pitchers
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Spread: PIT +1.5 (-200) | NYR -1.5 (+165)
Moneyline: PIT +135 | NYR -160
Total: 5.5 (-115)
Penguins vs. Rangers Game Time: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT
Penguins vs. Rangers Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers
Spread: WSH +1.5 (-120) | FLA -1.5 (+100)
Moneyline: WSH +200 | FLA -250
Total: 6.5 (-115)
Capitals vs. Panthers Game Time: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST
Capitals vs. Panthers Location: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Fla.
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche
Spread: NSH +2.5 (-140) | COL -2.5 (+115)
Moneyline: NSH +310| COL -400
Total: 6.5 (-115)
Predators vs. Avalanche Game Time: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. EST
Predators vs. Avalanche Location: Ball Arena, Denver
Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames
Spread: DAL +1.5 (-130) | CGY -1.5 (+110)
Moneyline: DAL +190 | CGY -250
Total: 5.5 (-115)
Stars vs. Flames Game Time: Thursday, 10 p.m. EST
Stars vs. Flames Location: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
The series will shift to the lower seed’s home after these games, so the pressure is on for all of these teams to try to get themselves in a favorable position going to a new arena. Here are my best NHL bets for May 5.
NHL Best Bet May 5: New York Rangers ML (-160) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. EST, available at BetMGM
If not for a replay error, the Rangers would be the team enjoying a 1-0 series lead right now. But think that’s for the best, as I expect New York to follow up that loss by bouncing back and taking command of the series. The Penguins might have stolen the first game, but the Rangers appeared to be a step ahead of them for most of Game 1 before letting their foot off the gas.
I don’t think New York makes that mistake again. I like the Rangers to level this series with a sharp performance at home.
NHL Best Bet May 5: Washington Capitals +1.5 (-120) vs. Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. EST, available at BetMGM
With so many of these teams’ games being close contests, I want the puckline whenever I can get it for a reasonable price. Nine of the past 11 matchups between these two have been decided by exactly one goal, with Game 1’s win by the Capitals a rare exception that only came after Washington added an empty netter.
Taking Capitals +1.5 would have cashed in every game since February 2018 but one, but the public are still pricing the Panthers as if they’re that much better than Washington. They’re not. They are the better team, but the margin is a lot closer than people think, which is why we’re getting Washington at such a nice value. I think the Capitals make the Panthers work before leaving south Florida with a split.
NHL Best Bet May 5: Nashville Predators-Colorado Avalanche Over 6.5 (-115), 9:30 p.m. EST, available at BetMGM
There is zero value on the Avalanche in Game 2, so the best play is to ride with the over. Nashville was one of the best over bets in the NHL, as the over cashed 49 times in 82 regular-season games and easily hit again in Game 1. The Predators have played to the over in seven of their past eight games because they just can’t stop their opponents.
Colorado takes so many shots at the net that a good amount are going to go in, and that’s what happened in Game 1. After a nine-goal showing in Game 1, I think seven is a very reasonable target.