There’s solid value on both Columbus and Boston in the May 4th NHL playoffs free pick considering how evenly matched both of these teams have been. The series is split 2-2 with the first two games at the TD Garden being decided in OT. The Blue Jackets did take Game 2 in front of the Boston crowd, but relinquished back home ice on Thursday 1-4 in the most convincing game between the two squads thus far.
Can Blue Jackets Find Their Offense Saturday Night?
A staple of this series thus far has been goaltending as all four games have gone ‘under’ the total. The Blue Jackets are averaging 2 GPG vs. Tuukka Rask thus far and scored just 3 total in the last two games which were both at home. The Blue Jackets are +117 underdogs in the May 4th NHL playoffs free pick as they also dropped 2 of 3 vs. Boston in the regular season. Columbus has been here before however – they swept #1 overall seed Tampa Bay in the 1st round, scoring 19 goals vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy and company.
The Blue Jackets are convinced that the scoring will come, and Artemi Panarin does have 3 goals in the last 3 games of this series. Leading scorer Cam Atkinson also hasn’t scored a goal yet – but Columbus is still at 2-2. One major reason Columbus could pull off the Game 5 win is because Sergei Bobrovsky has been nearly as good as Rask in net. Rask has posted a .942 save percentage, with Bobrovsky right behind at .934. Bobrovsky did allow 4 goals in Game 4, but he also faced a barrage of 46 shots.
Boston in a Great Spot in Game 5
The Bruins know they’ll have 2 of the next 3 games at home in what has turned into a best-of-three series to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston is also coming off the most convincing win that any team has had in the series, grabbing a 4-1 win in Columbus on Thursday as +109 underdogs. The Bruins may consider themselves lucky to be tied up in the series as they’ve gotten virtually no production from 110 point scorer Brad Marchand, who has just a single assist so far. Some good news for Boston is that David Backes should be ‘good to go’ for the May 4th NHL playoffs free pick even after taking a devastating elbow to the jaw on Thursday.
Of course Rask has been the star of the series and there’s no reason to think that doesn’t continue on Saturday night. The O/U for Game 5 is just 5.5 as Rask has allowed 2 goals or less in regulation of all four games thus far (gave up a 3rd in OT in Game 2). Rask even faced 40 SOG in Game 4, but stopped 39 of them for a .975 save percentage.
May 4th NHL Playoffs Free Pick Betting
Saturday’s line has Boston a -141 favorite which is very similar to what was posted for Games 1 and 2 back at TD Garden. The Bruins crowd in Game 1 was electric but admittedly was a bit lackluster in Game 2. The atmosphere should be beneficial once again to the Bruins in this one and -141 isn’t a horrible price to play the way Rask has been performing in net.
NHL Free Pick: Boston Bruins -141