NHL Round 2 Series Prices and Previews
NHL Round 2 Series Prices and Previews
NHL Western Conference Round 2 Series Prices and Previews
By Dustin Nielson
St. Louis Blues (2) vs Los Angeles Kings (8)
Series price: Blues (-165), Kings (+145)
Season series: St. Louis (1-2-1), Los Angeles (3-1)
If you are a fan of goal scoring you won’t be overly entertained by the Blues and Kings. Two of the four regular-season meetings between the two clubs ended in 1-0 shutouts.
The Blues will be without starting netminder Jaroslav Halak for at least the first two games of the series. Brian Elliott did a great job filling in against the Sharks picking up three wins while posting a goals against of 1.37 and a save percentage of 0.949.
Jonathan Quick watched the team in front him play some of their best hockey of the season against Vancouver and when his mates did struggle he was there to pick them up by holding the Sedins and Co. to just eight goals in five games.
While much of this series will focus on goaltending and team defense there is one forward who could end up being a difference maker. Andy MacDonald missed the majority of the regular season due to injury but the pint-sized winger picked up eight points in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, knowing that his team is the favorite, attempted to put the pressure on the Kings.
"When you beat the President's Trophy winner, you become the No. 1 seed, and I think everybody knows that," Hitchcock said. "We've just got to be on top of our game. If we're on top of our game it's going to be a great series."
Regardless of who wins, this series is an under bettors dream.
Series Prediction: Blues in 7.
Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs Nashville Predators (4)
Series price: Coyotes (+145), Predators (-165)
Season series: Phoenix (2-1-1), Nashville (2-2)
Another goalie duel here with a couple of heavyweights between the pipes. In one corner you’ve got 6-5 Pekka Rinne with a first round save percentage of .944 and a goals-against average of 1.81 against the Detroit Red Wings. In the other corner you have 6-4 Mike Smith fresh off of stealing a series from the Chicago Blackhawks and thought by many to be the MVP of the first round of the post-season.
The two clubs split their four regular season meetings. Surprisingly Coyotes back up Jason Labarbera started three of those four games and the one that Smith started proved to be an uncharacteristic 5-4 shootout between the two clubs.
Because of the quality in net, this series could come down to special teams. The Predators had the best power-play in the league during the regular season but struggled in the first round capitalizing on a playoff-worst 9.1 percent of their chances against the Red Wings. The Coyotes are the proud owners of the playoffs best penalty kill at 94.7 percent.
The one area where the Predators do have a significant advantage is on the blue line with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter being the best 1-2 punch in the league. The Coyotes caught a few lucky breaks against Corey Crawford and the Hawks; they may not get those same opportunities against Weber, Suter and Rinne.
Series Prediction: Predators in 6.
Re: NHL Round 2 Series Prices and Previews
NHL Eastern Conference Round 2 Prices and Previews
By Dustin Nielson
New York Rangers (1) vs Washington Capitals (7)
Series Odds: New York Rangers (-195)
For the third time in four years the Capitals will face the Rangers in the post-season, this year though the roles have been reversed. The Capitals were heavy favourites in 2009 and 2011 and managed to come away with victories both times.
"The past is the past," said Henrik Lundqvist "I don't think about what happened last year or whatever. It's different teams. We're in a different place and they're in a different place.”
The top seeded Rangers are expected to win this year but the two sides come into the series with extremely different mindsets.
The Rangers are breathing a sigh of relief after squeaking out a Game 7 win over the surprising Ottawa Senators. The Capitals are riding momentum coming off a Game 7 upset of the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Under Dale Hunter the Capitals play a tight defensive system which lead to success in the opening round but didn’t really exhibit the talents of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin. The Capitals stars won’t have to deal with the likes of Zdeno Chara in this series but they will be facing Vezina and Hart Trophy Finalist Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers offensive had trouble getting going against the Senators and finding a way to score on rookie sensation Braden Holtby may prove to be just as difficult. Holtby had one start against the Rangers this season and came away with a 4-1 win in the season finale for the Capitals.
This series, much like both of their first round series, could come down to a single bounce and if that proves to be the case it’s wise to side with the goalie who is nominated for league MVP over a rookie who has been outstanding but is still inexperienced.
Season Series: Rangers (2-2), Capitals (2-2)
Series Prediction: Rangers in Seven
Philadelphia Flyers (5) vs New Jersey Devils (6)
Series Odds: Philadelphia Flyers -185
No team is riding a bigger high right now than the Philadelphia Flyers. Claude Giroux and company rolled over the Pittsburgh Penguins six games on the strength of a near unstoppable power-play.
The Flyers power play was an unheard of 52.2 percent against a Pittsburgh penalty kill that finished third in the regular season. "Our legs were moving all the time, we never stop. We're always cycling and moving the puck around. Anybody can score and anybody can make something happen,” said Flyers forward Jakub Voracek after the series explaining the power play success.
New Jersey’s penalty kill was the best in the league during the regular season but got scorched by the Panthers in the opening round. The Devils killed off just 18 of the 27 Florida power plays. So if they can’t stop the likes of Stephen Weiss and Kris Vertseeg how are they going to contain Giroux, Briere, Jagr and a handful of other threats?
Martin Brodeur stopped 43 of 45 shots in Game 7 against the Panthers but was very average in the rest of the series. The Devils will need to have vintage Brodeur if they plan on slowing down a Philly offense that is averaging five goals per game in the postseason.
Ilya Bryzgalov will once again be a wild card for the Flyers but against an aging Brodeur his teammates should once again be able to pick him up.
Keep an eye on Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk. He was clearly labouring in Game 7 and it has been rumored for a while that he is dealing with a lower-body injury.
Season Series: Philadelphia (2-1-1), New Jersey (2-2)
Series Prediction: Flyers in Five