This is the time of the year the sports fans get another look at playoffs other than NCAA BB March Madness, NBA Finals and starting tomorrow it’s none other than the 2015 National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs and we will have a brief 2 part series review.
So now after a tough round of games in the Regular Season, the NHL is ready for their annual Stanley Cup playoffs with 16 playoff teams each seeking to obtain the Trophy for the Stanley Cup, and they will spar it out in a tournament that by many fans is considered the best post season playoff of all sporting events.
In the 1st part of our 2 part series we will preview the Eastern Conference on the National Hockey League.
In this Eastern Conference we start with the match-up between the No.1 New York Rangers 53-22 (Metropolitan Division) playing the No. 4Pittsburgh Penguins 43-27 (Metropolitan Division) with the game played at Madison Square Garden on Thursday the 16th of April 2015 at 7:10 PM ET and seen on NBCS.
The Rangers are early favorites at -175 on Money Line and 5 over -135 on Total and – 1 ½ +170 on the Puck Line, and on the comeback the Rangers are +155 on Money Line and + 1 ½ -200 on the Puck Line.
The Rangers and Penguins play in this Round 1 game which actually is a re-run of the 2014 Semifinals in the Eastern Conference, and last year that was a match-up of 2 of the elite teams, but this season it seems to be lopsided as this year the Rangers won the President’s Trophy while the Penguins were lucky to make the playoffs. But then again it is hard to not consider Pittsburgh whose roster has superstars like Crosby and Malkin, and I this game with less pressure, they will attempt to upset the Rangers and advance to the next round.
The Rangers in the 2014-15 season ranked 3rd in the NHL for goals with 3 a game for the regular season, while the Penguin who we stated you can neglect as they have 2 centers of all-world category with Crosby who had 56 assists while scoring 28 goals, and Malkin who had 42 assists with 28 goals and a goalie who has a lot of playoff experience. The Prediction here is that the Rangers win the series 4-2 and they should reach the finals in this Stanley Cup.
Then we have the No.2 Montreal Canadiens 50-22 (Atlantic Division) playing the No. 7 Ottawa Senators 43-26 (Atlantic Division) with the game played on the 15th of April 2015 at the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec and game time is at 7:10PM ET and seen on NHL TV.
The opening odds have the Canadiens favored at -145 on Money Line with the total 5 under -125 and on the Puck Line -1 ½ +205, and the comeback on the Senators is +125 on the Money Line and on the Puck Line +1 ½ -245.
The Eastern Conference game with the Canadiens of Montreal one of the more consistent teams this 2014-15 seasons while the Senators of Ottawa with the help of strong surge late, made these playoffs.
We think there are 2 reasons why Montreal should win, and the 1st is because during this entire season they have played playoff style hockey, and the 2nd reason being they don’t allow their opponents many goals and like playing game with only 1 goal scored. Remember the Canadians finished this season just short of winning the President’s Trophy and only by 4 points as they had 110 points.
But don’t overlook these Senators as they were a problematic team for the Canadiens as in their 4 games this season they beat Montreal 3 times. But regardless the pick is Montreal to win the series and make it to the conference final playoff.
Next in Round 1 we have the Lightning of Tampa Bay 50-24 playing the Red Wings of Detroit 43-25 with the game being played at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida with puck off at 7:40 ET PM and seen on CNBC TV.
The opening odds are favoring the Lightning at -165 on the Money Line with the total at 5 ½ under -140 and -1 ½ +200 on the Puck Line with the comeback on the Red Wings +145 on Money Line and on the Puck Line +1 ½ -220.
It should not surprise anyone to see Detroit in the playoff as they have forever made the cut and for the 24th straight season, and in this 1st round they meet the high scoring Tampa Bay team. To beat the Lightning, whose offense averaged some 3.3 goals in 2014-15 seasons, and that offense will put the pressure on the Red Wing Goalies. But don’t overlook the Red Wings talent in veterans Zetterberg and Mrazek accompanied by their 2 young stars in Nyquist and Tatar. The Prediction for those that Bet on NHL at a Sportsbook is that the Lightning of Tampa will win the series and move on to the semifinals of the conference.
Then last but not least in the Eastern Conference Round 1 we see the Capitals of Washington 45-26 playing the Islanders of New York 47-28 both of the Metropolitan Division with the game being played at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. with puck off at 7:05 PM ET and on USA TV.
The Capitals are opening favorites at -145 on the Money Line with the over at 5 -140 and on the Puck Line – 1 ½ +200, while the comeback on the Islanders is +125 on Money Line and +1 ½ -245 on the Puck Line.
The leading scorer for the Capitals is Ovechkin with some 53 goals and has not won a title since entering the NHL, and his desire to lift that trophy still exists and starts on this night against the Islanders. The scoring between the teams is close with Washington averaging 2.8 and the Islanders 3.1 goals per game.
The Capitals have on advantage outright in that they rank No.1 in the NHL on the power play at 25.4 conversion percent. The Islanders have Tavares whom finished 2nd in NHL scoring this season along with some other scoring stars on their roster, and a couple of top rated defenders. However, the prediction is the Capitals win the series and move on to the semifinals.