NHL Betting News and Notes Sunday 5/6

NHL Betting News and Notes Sunday 5/6

NHL Playoffs on NBC: What Bettors Need to Know
By Bill McBride I
Covers.com

St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings (-135, 4.5)

Los Angeles leads series 3-0

The talent was always there in Los Angeles. But perhaps it just needed time to mesh, a new voice in Darryl Sutter, and a postseason stage for it to all come together. Whatever explanation you want to throw out there, something’s working. The Kings are 7-1 in the playoffs so far and seeking more.

St. Louis searching for answers

Ken Hitchcock did a wonderful job turning around the Blues and he will likely win the Jack Adams Award for his efforts. But he’s been outcoached in this series by Sutter and his line combinations just aren’t working.

Above all else, though, St. Louis trails this series because of its depth -- or lack thereof. The Blues came at opponents in waves during the regular season and seemed to have a perfect blend of youth and experience.

But it’s all gone away against the Kings. For the playoffs overall, forward Andy McDonald has been great with five goals and 10 points. No one else has more than three goals.

Waiting on Carter

There’s no reason to be concerned when you're winning at this kind of rate, but surely the Kings are expecting more out of forward Jeff Carter, traded to Los Angeles at the deadline from Columbus. But perhaps it's shouldn't be too surprising.

Carter has one goal and four points in eight postseason games, but he's still firing away. He's third on the team with 23 shots and he's at his best when his team has a lead, so a turnaround might be in store.

But it's not like this is foreign territory for him. In Philadelphia's 2010 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, Carter snared a lot of the credit for leading the forwards and doing the little things. His numbers weren't great then, either. Consider that the Flyers went all the way to a Game 6 against Chicago before succumbing and Carter had just seven points in the playoff run overall, posting a minus-5.

Jumpin’ Jonathan

Perhaps it's a testament to just how even the West really is, but that should not take away from anything Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick has accomplished.

The Kings are not your typical No. 8 seed; they are more of an upper-tier club that simply struggled during the regular season. But defeating the Presidents' Trophy winner, Vancouver, as easily as he did, and then to follow it up with a 3-0 edge on the No. 2-seeded Blues? Fairly impressive.

Quick has allowed 13 goals in eight games and has one shutout. His defense has played well in front of him and Sutter keeps his lines fresh. The surging Kings spend a lot of time on the other end of the ice, which also helps. But that doesn't change the fact that he has a 1.62 GAA and a .950 save percentage against the two best teams in the Western Conference this season.

History

St. Louis has won five of its last six games on Sundays and seven of its last nine when returning after two days’ rest. Los Angeles has won four straight and four consecutive on Sundays, as well. Two of three games in this series have gone over.
           
Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils (-115, 5.5)

New Jersey leads series 2-1
 
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette gets a lot of credit for his motivational tactics and getting the most out of his clubs at all times. That was illustrated in HBO’s “24/7” reality series leading up to this year’s Winter Classic.

Well, he’s not getting the most out of this team in this series and we’ll truly see what he’s made of, as Philadelphia tries to avoid the dreaded 3-1 hole.

Carried by Kovalchuk

Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk simply wasn’t himself in Game 1. He didn’t have a shot on net and was a minus-2, as the Devils lost 4-3 in overtime. Clearly, something was off and it turned out to be his back. He walked around the locker room last Sunday with a pad on his back after the loss and then took Game 2 off.

New Jersey responded without its regular-season leading scorer, posting a 4-1 win in that contest, and setting up his return in Game 3. And it was worth it.

Kovalchuk had a goal and three points, including a pretty, 50-foot pass for an assist to Alexei Ponikarovsky on the overtime goal that delivered the 4-3 win. He was all over the ice and finished as a plus-2 on 31 shifts.

Much has been made of Kovalchuk and his lack of a resume at this time of year and that’s all true. But he’s building that playoff bio, step by step, and the Devils are ahead in this series as a result.
 
More heart from Hartnell

This was bound to happen at some point, especially because things were going so well for Flyers forward Scott Hartnell. The veteran posted 37 goals in the regular season, after never having more than 30 in any one of his 11 years in the league.

But Hartnell has come back to earth a bit in the postseason. He has just two goals and seven points in the playoffs, and is a minus-4 in this round. On Friday, when speaking with the Philadelphia media, Hartnell said the Flyers were being “outhustled,” which is surprisingly true. Surprising because he leads a gritty group of forwards who rarely are outworked for pucks in the corners, and that is happening routinely in this series.

Hartnell did have three shots on net in Game 3, so perhaps he’s about to break out. Keep that in mind tonight.

The big four-O

New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur made his NHL debut in 1992, the same year some NHL players were born. New Jersey defenseman Adam Larsson, 19, is one of them. But age doesn’t bother him and that’s a good thing, because Sunday is Brodeur’s birthday and it’s a big one at that: 40.

It’s been a long and stellar career for Brodeur, proud owner of three Stanley Cup championships. And though he’s lost a step and gives up more soft goals than he used to, the fact of the matter is this: He’s won four of his last five playoff games, including three in overtime, and he’s feeding off the emotion and energy of the younger troops in front of him.

Brodeur, many times this season, has made mention of how much fun he has playing with Kovalchuk and the likes of forwards Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. At this point, with his insinuations, it’s likely Brodeur will even return next season.

For now, he’s after the Flyers for the fifth time in his postseason career. He’s 6-3 so far in the playoffs this season, with a 2.16 GAA and one shutout.

History

The Devils have won three consecutive postseason home games, including two in overtime, and have won seven of their last eight at the Prudential Center. The Flyers have lost consecutive playoff road games, but have won five straight on Sundays. The over is 2-1 this series.

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NHL Preview

Blues @ Kings (3-0) -- Los Angeles is 7-1 so far in playoffs, with only loss on home ice to Canucks; they've got four shorthanded goals already in playoffs. St Louis is 0-3 at Staples this year, outscored 10-2, as Kings are 6-1 against Blues this season-- eight of last ten games in series stayed under total. St Louis is 0-14 on power play in series, Kings 1-16. LA had eight takeaways last game, compared to only two for St Louis. Kings been getting leads and holding on; they've been outshot 25-7 in third period of last two games. Under is 6-6-2 in this round of playoffs so far.

Flyers @ Devils (2-1) -- Philly is 5-4 in playoffs this spring, scoring 29 goals in five wins, only nine in the losses; Flyers are 4-5 vs New Jersey this year, with road team winning five of nine. New Jersey outshot the Flyers 42-22 in first period; so far in playoffs, Devils have outshot foes 122-82 in first period of games, but are just 6-4 overall in postseason, with four of last five games. going to OT. . Flyers split last ten games here; they're 2-2 on road in playoffs. New Jersey had 11 giveaways last game, Flyers had only one, but Devils got win. Home teams are 8-6 so far in this round of playoffs.

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ST. LOUIS vs. LOS ANGELES
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of St. Louis's last 10 games when playing Los Angeles
St. Louis is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing Los Angeles
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Los Angeles's last 10 games when playing St. Louis
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Los Angeles's last 5 games when playing at home against St. Louis

PHILADELPHIA vs. NEW JERSEY
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Philadelphia's last 12 games when playing on the road against New Jersey
Philadelphia is 8-17 SU in its last 25 games when playing on the road against New Jersey
New Jersey is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Philadelphia
New Jersey is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home


St. Louis at Los Angeles
St. Louis: 5-13 SU away playing with revenge
Los Angeles: 7-0 SU at home off BB games scoring 3+ goals

Philadelphia at New Jersey
Philadelphia: 9-0 SU off an overtime loss
New Jersey: 15-6 Under at home off a combined score of 7+ goals

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