Now the Canadians get the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and they are underdogs at the online bookmaker again.
Bookmaker odds listed the Penguins as a -500 favorite to win the series against Montreal. That does not mean Montreal doesn’t have a chance though. They already pulled off a huge upset, becoming the first #8 seed ever to upset a #1 seed after trailing 3-1 in the series. Pittsburgh didn’t play great against Ottawa in the first round but they did what they needed to do and won in six games.
The Canadians won against Washington in bookmaker odds because goaltender Jaroslav Halak stood on his head. He will need to do the same thing if the Canadians are to have any chance against Pittsburgh. Winning one series as a big underdog is unusual but winning two straight is almost impossible. Unlike Washington, the Penguins know how to win the playoffs. Pittsburgh has a lot more balance and they have more players who can impact a game than Washington had. The Penguins goaltender is Marc-Andre Fleury and he is capable of playing well when needed.
Pittsburgh has the big names in this bookmaker NHL series. They have two of the best players in the league in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They are also the defending Stanley Cup champions and that goes a long way. Montreal and Pittsburgh both won on the road in their previous series so each team is capable of winning in the other’s arena.
Halak is going to get much of the attention in this series from those betting at the online bookmaker but what should not be ignored are special teams. The Canadians dominated special teams play in the series against the Capitals. They held Washington to only one goal in 33 chances. They are unlikely to hold Pittsburgh down on their potent power play but they must keep it under control. The Penguins scored seven power play goals against Ottawa. Montreal will also need to score on their power play to have a chance. Pittsburgh gave up seven goals in 22 chances against Ottawa.
The Penguins are heavily favored at the bookmaker and for good reason. The Canadians pulled off the miracle against Washington but beating the Stanley Cup champs is a much different story.