It was not too long ago that St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock astounded people betting on hockey by commenting that he need to “sleep on” which goalkeeper to start. Well, he must have had that dream where you're in bed, and they fly in through the window, because not only has Blues goalie Brian Elliot retained his place in the starting lineup, but is arguably the team’s star. The Ontarian may not be the first name mentioned in conversations about the top NHL goaltenders – or the second, or even the third for that matter – but he has provided his teammates with the assurance that, say, a solid sports betting wager gives you.
It’s a little known fact of nature, but some sharks have to be constantly moving forward or else they die – that’s why they keep swimming even in their sleep. This must be true when it comes to betting on hockey, because the San Jose Sharks as well, who beat the Nashville Predators 5-0 last night to win a notoriously even series – in which each team won all their home games – 4-3. Now the Sharks will go on to face the St. Louis Blues, who also went to seven games against the Dallas Stars – whom they defeated 6-1 in that 7th game – in the NHL playoffs Western Conference Finals.
Betting on hockey is reaching a critical point. The NHL has announced the dates, starting times and television information for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final will feature the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and will start on Friday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. On the other side, the Western Conference Final will feature the St. Louis Blues against either the San Jose Sharks or Nashville Predators and will start Sunday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Nick Bonino wrapped up a remarkable series with a goal at 6 minutes and 32 seconds into overtime, for a final score of 4-2 that sees the Pittsburg Penguins through to the next round of the NHL playoffs, where they will face will face the Lightning (+150) as sports betting favorites (-175). That goal on front of goalie Braden Holtby meant that a 3-0 rally that allowed the Caps to force sudden death and surprised the raucous Consol Energy Center crowd was just not enough. And that’s another year that ends with Caps cap Alex Ovechkin wondering what it takes to break through. He finished the series with two goals and three assists.
The Eastern Conference Finals are now set and we now focus our sports betting attention on the Lightning vs Penguins. As we have already covered here, the Tampa Bay Lightning are not to be messed with. They powered through Detroit, and steam-rolled passed the Islanders. They comfortably waited for the outcome of the Capitals and Penguins series, knowing that four wins keep them from the Stanley Cup Finals.