Second Round Cheat Sheet

Second Round Cheat Sheet

Second Round Cheat Sheet

Eastern Conference

Boston vs. Montreal

Bruins: 54-18-9, 117 points
Canadiens: 46-28-8, 100 points

Season series: The Habs took three of four meetings from their division rivals, including both matchups at TD Garden. In all three losses, the Bruins were limited to one goal, while Boston has lost six of its last seven meetings to Montreal since March 2013.

Previous playoff outcome: Montreal swept Tampa Bay in the opening round, while scoring at least four goals in three of those victories. After losing the series opener to Detroit, the Bruins rolled off four consecutive wins to advance to the second round for the fifth time in six seasons. The last time these Original Six rivals hooked up in the postseason, the Bruins outlasted the Canadiens in seven games of the opening round of the 2011 playoffs.

Pittsburgh vs. N.Y. Rangers

Penguins: 51-24-6, 108 points
Rangers: 45-31-6, 96 points
Season series: The two teams split four regular season meetings, while two games finished in the shootout (each team won once). All four contests finished ‘over’ the total, while both the Pens and Rangers each won a game at home and on the road.

Previous playoff outcome: The Rangers alternated wins and losses with the Flyers, but found a way to advance in seven games. The Penguins and Blue Jackets played five games decided by a goal (all coincidentally 4-3), but Pittsburgh finished off Columbus in six games. Pittsburgh eliminated New York in five games of the second round in the 2008 playoffs, as the Pens ultimately lost to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Western Conference

Chicago vs. Minnesota

Blackhawks: 46-21-15, 107 points
Wild: 43-26-12, 98 points

Season series: The surprising Wild grabbed three of five matchups against the Blackhawks, including a pair of victories at Xcel Energy Center. The first three meetings finished ‘over’ the total, while the final contest was decided in a shootout, won by the Blackhawks at the United Center in early April.

Previous playoff outcome: Both these clubs overcame 2-0 deficits in the opening round, as the Wild rallied past the Avalanche in seven games, winning the finale in overtime on the road. Chicago climbed out of a 2-0 hole against St. Louis to claim the final four games, while scoring 12 goals in the last three wins. The Blackhawks knocked out the Wild in the opening round of last season’s playoffs in five games, with three of those victories coming by at least three goals.

Anaheim vs. Los Angeles

Ducks: 53-20-8, 114 points
Kings: 46-28-8, 100 points

Season series: The Ducks owned their cross-city rivals, winning the last four meetings after losing the first matchup in the shootout. Anaheim won each of the three games as a visitor, including the outdoor contest at Dodger Stadium in late January.

Previous playoff outcome: Los Angeles salvaged its season after falling behind San Jose, 3-0, as the Kings stole the final four games to eliminate their division rivals in seven games. Anaheim owned its home-ice with three victories at home against Dallas, while staving off the Stars in six games. This is the first time these two Southern California teams have met in the playoffs in franchise history.

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Re: Second Round Cheat Sheet

Three big betting trends for the second round of the NHL playoffs

With the pool of 16 postseason teams now whittled down to eight, bettors will be looking for any trend they can take advantage of heading into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Taking a look at some of the recent second-round results, here are some patterns that have emerged as we prepare to kick off the round of eight:

Under Takes Over

Most fans will acknowledge that goal scoring generally begins to dry up as the Stanley Cup tournament reaches the second round, and totals are often adjusted to reflect the increased reliance on defense and aversion to risk-taking. Yet, aside from a bizarre stretch during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Under bettors have reaped the benefits in the round of eight. The 2011 second round finished 11-9-1 O/U, thanks in large part to a 9-0-1 outlier from May 3-8. But 2012 saw that number drop to 7-11-3 O/U. The Under trend was even more pronounced last season, as teams went 7-13-4 O/U in Round 2.

Home Ownership

Betting on home favorites in the Stanley Cup playoffs is often a risky proposition. They usually don't pay out well and with the league trending toward greater parity, it's a major gamble. Despite the perceived increase in balance between teams, second-round home faves have steadily become more dominant over the years. Home favorites have improved from a modest 9-8 record in 2011 to an 11-7 mark in 2012 and an eye-popping 17-2 last season. It will be interesting to see if this particular trend continues into 2014, or if last year was an exception.

Penalty Killing the Key

While the number of power plays per game doesn't drop significantly from Rounds 1 to 2, what teams do with their opportunities plays a major role in whether they advance to the conference finals. Over the past three postseasons, no team has reached the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with less than an 84.2-percent penalty-killing success rate in Round 2. Furthermore, the combined penalty-kill percentage of all 12 second-round teams to reach the conference finals in the past three years - 88.3 percent - would have ranked first in the NHL during the 2013-14 regular season.

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Re: Second Round Cheat Sheet

Second Round Preview
By Toronto Star

On to Round 2.

And in the sometimes weird world of the NHL playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens will have been sitting idle for nine days between games, thanks to a four-game opening-round sweep.

While the New York Rangers, who were pushed to seven games by Philadelphia, are now in the midst of playing six games in nine days with a quick turnaround to start playing Pittsburgh.

No one said winning the Stanley Cup would be easy.

McGran's first-round record: 5-3.


Boston vs. Montreal

SEASON SERIES: Montreal, 3-1-0

THE SETUP: Can't these teams ever play anyone else in the playoffs? This is the 34th meeting between the Bruins and Canadiens in the post-season.

KEYS TO CANADIENS SUCCESS: Carey Price remains the most important Canadien, needing to outduel the just-as-good (if not better) Tuukka Rask... Rene Bourque emerged from a season-long slumber to become a proficient scorer again in the first round and Montreal will need that kind of secondary-scoring help.

KEYS TO BRUINS SUCCESS: The best 5-on-5 team in the league showed no signs of slowing down in beating Detroit in five games in the opening round... No team in the East can roll four lines like the Bruins... If it comes down to special teams, the Bruins power play managed six goals in the opening round.

PREDICTION: Bruins in six.

N.Y. Rangers vs. Pittsburgh.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-1-1

THE SETUP: The Penguins have won all four Stanley Cup series they've played against the New York Rangers.

KEYS TO PENGUINS SUCCESS: The scary part is that the Penguins have made it to the second round and Sidney Crosby has yet to score... Few believe goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has truly exorcised his playoff-choke demons and remains the weak link of Pittsburgh's power house lineup... The Penguins could expose the Rangers penalty killers, who were second worst among the 16 teams in the first round.

KEYS TO RANGERS SUCCESS: The Rangers' pop-gun offence from the regular season managed to find the net with regularity against Flyers goaltending, so they'll just have to keep pounding away at Fleury. Martin St. Louis, in particular, came to life with two goals and four assists... Rick Nash hasn't done much (no goals, two assists) but played better in Game 7... If the Rangers stay out of the penalty box, they have a good chance. The Rangers led all teams in the first round with an average of 1.88 goals in 5-on-5 situations . . . Henrik Lundqvist has appeared in 74 playoff games, including the last 73 in a row.

PREDICTION: Rangers in seven.


L.A. vs. Anaheim

SEASON SERIES: Ducks, 4-0-1

THE SETUP: Not only is this the first time the Ducks will play the Kings in the playoffs, it's the first time any L.A.-area teams have played each other in any of the major sports in the playoffs. The Dodgers have never faced the Angels. The Clippers have never faced the Lakers.

KEYS TO KINGS SUCCESS: The Kings play the so-called heavy possession game: Heavy forechecking, hard on the puck. They need to keep doing that... Jonathan Quick found his game midway through the series against San Jose. He allowed 16 goals in the first three games of this series, then he yielded five goals in the final four games as L.A. made it's historic comeback.

KEYS DO DUCKS SUCCESS: Their rest after eliminating Dallas should help because there's a wave coming at them... They need to sort out their goaltending issues. Is it Jonas Hiller or Frederik Andersen? . . . Coach Bruce Boudreau also has to stop overthinking things... Secondary scoring from the likes of Andrew Cogliano and Nick Bonino has to remain consistent.

PREDICTION: Kings in six.

Chicago vs. Minnesota

SEASON SERIES: Wild, 3-1-1

THE SETUP: The Wild are looking to avenge a five-game playoff rout to the Blackhawks last year. Good luck with that.

KEYS TO BLACKHAWKS SUCCESS: That old adage that their best players ought to be their best players holds true. Jonathan Toews looks like he's on a mission. Duncan Keith may be the best defenceman in the league. Corey Crawford just keeps producing Ws in net. Oh, and watch out for Matt Cooke. The Wild's wild winger is eligible to return from suspension.

KEYS TO WILD SUCCESS: Don't quit. There are a lot of flaws on the team, but quitting isn't one of them, as the Colorado Avalanche found out... The investments in Zach Parise (three goals, seven assists) and Ryan Suter are finally paying off... requent Dany Heatley sightings have helped... Here's hoping G Darcy Kuemper's injury isn't serious, otherwise it's the unpredictable Ilya Bryzgalov in net. "All I can do is just practise," Bryzgalov told reporters on Wednesday. "I can't predict the future."

PREDICTION: Blackhawks in five

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