NHL Conference Finals betting capsules

NHL Conference Finals betting capsules

NHL Conference Finals betting capsules
Wed, May 9, 2007
By Associated Press

Capsules of NHL conference final series:

EASTERN CONFERENCE No. 1 BUFFALO SABRES (53-22-7) vs. No. 4 OTTAWA SENATORS (48-25-9)

2006-07 series record: Ottawa 5-2-1. How they got here: Buffalo defeated No. 8 New York Islanders 4-1 and No. 6 New York Rangers 4-2. Ottawa defeated No. 5 Pittsburgh 4-1 and No. 2 New Jersey 4-1. Playoff History: Buffalo 3-0. Last meeting: Buffalo 4-1 in 2006 conference semifinals.

BUFFALO: The only series matchup in this year's playoffs between divisional opponents, and this could be the NHL's most heated rivalry. A February brawl led to 100 penalty minutes, including a fight between former Sabres G Martin Biron and Ottawa counterpart Ray Emery. ... Ryan Miller allowed only nine goals in the first five games against the Rangers before yielding four in the finale. He has a stellar 2.07 goals-against average in Buffalo's 11 postseason games. ... Thomas Vanek, second to Chris Drury with five playoff goals, had six against Ottawa in the regular season. Daniel Briere, the team's postseason scoring leader with 11 points, had a goal and five assists in the eight games versus Ottawa. ... Sabres have been to Stanley Cup finals twice, most recently in 1999, but never have claimed the title. They are Presidents' Trophy winners for first time and are in conference finals for fourth time in nine seasons under coach Lindy Ruff.

OTTAWA: Senators' two previous playoff losses to Sabres ruined seasons that looked promising for Ottawa. Senators were swept in 1999 after winning first Northeast Division title, then were eliminated last year as top seed in Eastern Conference. ... Lost three games in last year's series in overtime, and have dropped five straight playoff games in OT to Sabres. ... Scored 288 regular-season goals, second only to Buffalo (308) in NHL. But the Senators boast the league's highest-scoring line of LW Dany Heatley (50 goals, 55 assists), C Jason Spezza (34, 53), and RW Daniel Alfredsson (29, 58). Alfredsson has six goals in 10 playoff games, with Heatley and Spezza adding five each. ... Heatley recorded eight goals and 10 assists against Buffalo in regular season. Only Colorado's Joe Sakic, who had 20 points this season in games with Calgary, recorded more points against a team this season. ... G Ray Emery, who outperformed MVP and Vezina Trophy finalist Martin Brodeur in previous round, is 9-2 in 13 regular-season games against Buffalo - 5-1 this season. He has a 2.04 GAA so far in the playoffs.

OUTLOOK: Senators solve Sabres to get to first Stanley Cup finals. Senators in 5.



WESTERN CONFERENCE No. 1 DETROIT RED WINGS (50-19-13) vs. No. 2 ANAHEIM DUCKS (48-20-14)

2006-07 series record: Series tied 2-2. How they got here: Detroit defeated No. 8 Calgary 4-2 and No. 5 San Jose 4-2. Anaheim defeated No. 7 Minnesota 4-1 and No. 3 Vancouver 4-1. Playoff History: Detroit 2-1. Last meeting: Anaheim 4-0 in 2003 conference quarterfinals.

DETROIT: Every playoff series between the teams has ended in a sweep. In two of the previous three, the winner advanced to the Stanley Cup finals (Detroit 1997, Anaheim 2003). ... Detroit coach Mike Babcock led Ducks over Wings in first round of 2003 playoffs during his rookie season as an NHL coach. ... Red Wings are in conference finals for first time since winning Stanley Cup in 2002, despite being top seed in West for third time in that span. Detroit has advanced this far six times in 12 seasons, tying Colorado for the most appearances during that time. ... G Dominik Hasek has a 1.97 goals-against average in 109 career playoff games - second best to New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (1.93). He has a 1.51 GAA this year in 12 games, yielding 19 goals on 273 shots. ... Pavel Datsyuk, who had three goals in 42 career playoff games before this year, is shedding the title of underachiever by netting five goals in 12 games during this run. He had one goal in three games against Anaheim this season.

ANAHEIM: Ducks are in conference finals for third time in four seasons. ... D Chris Pronger is facing Detroit for second straight year in playoffs and sixth time overall with three clubs (St. Louis, Edmonton, Anaheim). By the time the series is over, more than a quarter of his postseason games will have been against the Red Wings (29 of 119 entering). ... Ducks have scored nine power-play goals in the postseason. Seven gave Anaheim the lead, and one tied the game. ... Anaheim killed its final 22 short-handed situations in the regular season and 53 of 56 in the playoffs. ... Through Ducks' 8-2 postseason record, they have trailed an NHL-low 68 minutes, 39 seconds of 654:26. ... Anaheim's two leading career playoff scorers are its top two defensemen, Norris Trophy finalists Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Pronger has 18 goals and 83 career points in 119 regular-season games. Niedermayer has 20 and 80. ... Jean-Sebastien Giguere has taken the mantle as the Ducks' No. 1 goalie, after splitting time with Ilya Bryzgalov, He has a 1.28 GAA in seven games, allowing nine goals on 186 shots in seven games - posting a 5-1 mark.

OUTLOOK: Anaheim advances to another Stanley Cup finals by clipping Wings. Ducks in 6.

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