NHL Betting News and Notes Saturday 4/28

NHL Betting News and Notes Saturday 4/28

Hockey Night In Canada: Saturday's NHL Betting Previews
By Bill McBride

Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (-160, 5)

Well, here we go again. Though the places have changed, and the roles have flip-flopped, here is Washington and New York battling in the Eastern Conference playoffs for the third time since 2009. This time, it’s Round 2, not Round 1, and Game 1 should be a dandy ... provided the Rangers can get up for the opener less than 48 hours after a Game 7 victory over Ottawa.

Defenseman delivering

Much will be said about New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and how he saved the day in Games 6 and 7 versus the Senators with the season on the line, and the No. 1-seeded Rangers in desperation mode. Indeed, he was solid.

But what might get lost in those two victories is just how strong New York’s defensive corps was. In Game 7, a pair of backliners -- Marc Staal and Dan Girardi -- provided all the offense the Rangers needed, by scoring their first goals of the postseason in the second period of the 2-1 victory. And as a unit, the Rangers held Ottawa to just 27 shots on net in the finale, and the defensemen only amassed two minutes in penalties along the way, a minor for Michael Del Zotto.

All told, the Rangers allowed just four goals in the final eight periods of the series, and if that continues, it could be a tough go of it for Washington.

Not-so-ordinary Ovechkin

He didn't score the Game 7 winner against Boston. That was reserved for forward Joel Ward. He didn't make a name for himself in the series. That was reserved for goaltender Braden Holtby. But Washington center Alex Ovechkin orchestrated a quiet -- yet solid -- series as the Capitals eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Coaches will tell you, "if you're getting shots, you'll eventually get goals," and if that's truly the case, watch out here. Because Ovechkin had 28 shots against the Bruins, 12 more than any other Capital.

He finished with two goals, five points and four blocked shots in the series, and also led the team with 31 hits. Overall, a good series from a great player.

More from Marian

When you win at Madison Square Garden, make no mistake, Rangers fans will let you off the hook. But consider this a memo to New York forward Marian Gaborik. Eventually, the crowd is going to get on you if this sluggish postseason play continues.

Gaborik wasn't awful against the Senators -- no one in red, white and blue truly was -- but New York's brightest offensive star needs to get going ... soon. Gaborik had just one goal and three points in Round 1, was a minus-1 and only finished with 13 shots.

Perhaps the latter is the most disconcerting. Here's a guy who had 41 goals and 76 points in the regular season, and there are four teammates -- Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan -- with more postseason shots than him. Granted, Ottawa focused on him, as will Washington. But stars find a way to break through those shells, right? We’ll see if Gaborik has what it takes.


Washington, as a clear-cut favorite, won first-round series over the Rangers in 2009 and 2011. The Capitals have won six consecutive Saturday games, and four of the last five on the road. New York is riding a six-game overless streak (0-3-3).

Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues (-165, 5)

We’ll see what St. Louis is made of now that the pressure is squarely on them. The Blues became the favorite in the Western Conference with a quickness in Round 1, as they buried San Jose while all of the other traditional giants fell. Now, with the Red Wings, Blackhawks and Canucks all on the golf course, it’s St. Louis that now needs to deal with the enormity of expectations.

Full of Flyers

The numbers were not great for Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in Round 1. As No. 8 Los Angeles orchestrated the upset over top-seeded Vancouver, these two former Flyers were just OK, is about the best you can say about them. But maybe this is where the corner is turned. Maybe this is where the experience shines through.

After all, these two forwards helped lead Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup Finals as a No. 7 seed in the East back in 2010. They clinched a playoff spot on the season's last day -- in a shootout win over the Rangers, no less -- and then went on to bounce New Jersey, Boston and Montreal, before falling in six games to Chicago.

Is a repeat performance in store? Perhaps, but they will need to be better than five combined points, which is what they amassed versus the Canucks. Richards had one goal, Carter had none, and combined, they were a minus-2.

Balanced Blues

Balance has been the song of the day for the Blues. Once coach Ken Hitchcock took over, he figured out the lines, dispersed the talent as evenly as possible, and St. Louis simply got to work. A division title, a first-round win, and few months later, the Blues are in a prime position to win the Stanley Cup. And it's mainly due to the waves of scorers that they can throw at you.

Forwards Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund combined for 15 points in the first-round win over San Jose, but after those two, the Blues have a stable of producers who don't exactly jump off the page, but do get the job done. In fact, left wing David Perron, centers T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen, and defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Pietrangelo all had three points against the Sharks.

And then there’s the ever-steady, experienced presence of forwards Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner, as well, two players who won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils. Could be a lot for the Kings’ defense to handle.

Quick is the trick

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said it best after the Canucks secured the No. 1 seed in the West earlier this month. As he gazed out to the crowd during his press conference, and was asked about the dangers the Kings present in a first-round series, he was short and sweet. "Obviously," Vigneault said, "they have some great goaltending."

Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick went 4-1 against Vancouver in Round 1, posting a 1.59 goals-against average. He had one shutout and made 164 saves on 172 shots as the Kings knocked off the defending Western Conference champions.

Now, things will get more difficult for him here. The second round is usually tougher than the first, and the well-rested Blues haven't played since last Saturday. But the Kings have to feel good about their chances against anyone with an unheralded star like that in between the pipes.


The Blues have won four consecutive games and 12 of their last 14 on Saturdays. Los Angeles has won five of its last seven on the road, and these two teams have combined for a seven-game overless streak (0-6-1).

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NHL: Streaks, Tips, Notes

Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues

When the Los Angeles Kings and St Louis Blues meet in round-two the series has the potential to be an extremely low-scoring one. The teams finished 1-2 in defense during regular season with Blues allowing a league-best 1.89 GAA while Kings surrendered 2.07 per contest. During the first round these defensive-minded clubs were even stingier. Blues allowed 1.6 per/game in eliminating Sharks and Kings held Canucks to 1.6 per/contest in their upset victory. Neither team producing a great deal of offense (Blues 2.5, Kings 2.3) to go along with their stingy defense game-one stays true to form and 'Under' the betting market total which at this writing was set at five. Keep in mind, Kings winning the regular-season series 3-1 outscored Blues by just 9-3 over a four game span with the 'Under' holding serve at 3-0-1 making it 6-0-1 to the 'Under' the past seven encounters, 7-1-1 'Under' last nine played in St Louis.

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NHL Preview

Capitals @ Rangers -- Washington won Game 7 in OT Wednesday in Boston as a 7-seed pulling big upset, Rangers got Game 7 win at home Thursday so teams not as well rested as teams out west in this round. Teams split four games this season, after Washington beat Rangers in five games in LY's playoffs. Capitals won six of last nine games in this building. New York split four home games vs Ottawa in first round; Caps won three of four in Boston last round, with three of the four games going to overtime.

Kings @ Blues -- Last seven series games stayed under total, with last two both ending 1-0, last one in a shootout; Kings won three of four vs St Louis during season, after losing previous seven games with Blues. Kings lost nine of last 12 games in this building- they won all three games at top-seeded Vancouver in the first round upset, holding Canucks to five goals in their four series wins. Blues lost Game 1 at home to San Jose, then won last four games, allowing total of five goals, with one of the wins in OT. Neither team has been this far in a long time; neither team seemed to expend that much energy in last round.


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LOS ANGELES (44-28-0-15, 103 pts.) at ST LOUIS (53-22-0-12, 118 pts.)

Top Trends for this game.
LOS ANGELES is 8-16 ATS (-12.4 Units) on Saturday games this season.
ST LOUIS is 53-34 ATS (+53.0 Units) in all games this season.
ST LOUIS is 16-4 ATS (+8.9 Units) in home games revenging a loss versus opponent this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
ST LOUIS is 8-4 (+5.3 Units) against the spread versus LOS ANGELES over the last 3 seasons
ST LOUIS is 8-4-0 straight up against LOS ANGELES over the last 3 seasons
8 of 11 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+4.4 Units)

WASHINGTON (46-33-0-10, 102 pts.) at NY RANGERS (55-25-0-9, 119 pts.)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
WASHINGTON is 10-7 (+0.7 Units) against the spread versus NY RANGERS over the last 3 seasons
WASHINGTON is 10-7-0 straight up against NY RANGERS over the last 3 seasons
7 of 13 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+0.7 Units)

Washington is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games when playing NY Rangers
Washington is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
NY Rangers are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games at home
NY Rangers are 3-6 SU in their last 9 games when playing at home against Washington


Los Angeles is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games when playing St. Louis
Los Angeles is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of St. Louis's last 9 games when playing at home against Los Angeles
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of St. Louis's last 7 games when playing Los Angeles

Los Angeles at St. Louis
Los Angeles: 1-9 SU away off an overtime win
St. Louis: 14-1 SU at home off a home win

Washington at NY Rangers
Washington: 4-13 SU after winning 3 of their last 4 games
NY Rangers: 14-4 SU off BB Unders

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