Boston and Chicago Rolling Along

Wow, was I way off base on my predictions for the Conference Finals. At least Game 1 in the West was a close one but the other 3 games, especially both games so far in the Bruins and Penguins series haven’t been close, AT ALL. Take last night for example, Marchand scores :28 in and then I felt this would have more accurately summed up what Boston was shooting at all night.

I’m a little shocked by what the Penguins have brought to the ice so far in this series, especially after dominating Ottawa the way they did. After losing the first game to Boston, I would have expected to see the Penguins best game last night but instead we were treated to their worst. I’m not sure where the Penguins entire defensive unit is but clearly they haven’t been anywhere near the Consol Energy Center. For those Penguins fans out there, I hope they know what time their flight to Boston is and how to get to the airport.  I was right about one prediction going into this series, I just didn’t realize it would be greeted with such thunderous applause.

If I am a Penguins fan, I am a bit worried that I’ve dropped the first two games and that they haven’t been close. Now, the Bruins get to go home and get the crowd behind them, get last chance, etc. Pittsburgh better figure it out quick.

Look, while my predictions on the number of games won’t turn out to be right, I’m not sold that LA and Pittsburgh aren’t going to find a way to come back. Both of these teams are too good to just roll over here and head home for the summer. LA has been great at home so Chicago will have some work to do. Pittsburgh’s situation is a little tougher because now they have to go win on the road.

What do you think? Boston and Chicago continue to roll or can LA and Pittsburgh find a way back into this round?

 

Penguins-Senators Series Preview

Near the end of the regular season, it looked like the Senators were going to plummet all the way into the 8th spot so this was a matchup I thought we’d be seeing in the first round. They stopped at 7 but never-the-less, we get the match up in the second round.

I don’t really know if Ottawa was impressive in the first round of if the Canadiens just fizzled. I’ll go with my gut feeling and that feeling is that none of the teams in the Eastern Conference thrilled me through the first round so I guess Montreal just fizzled. Pittsburgh made a lot of mistakes against the Islanders and the Senators are a well-coached team.(Shouldn’t Paul MacLean be a slam dunk for the Jack Adams Award?) If Pittsburgh continues to make those mistakes in this round, the Senators might just eat them up. MIGHT!!!

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Odds of a Devils’ Stanley Cup Win

Fans of the New Jersey Devils have had a lot to celebrate over the past few regular seasons. They’ve been one of the most dominant teams on the ice leading up the playoffs, giving the home-team faithful months of chest-painting, white-knuckled, devil-shouting opportunities.

When the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around, however, the Devils have a nagging little habit of being a habitual one-and-done squad.

What are the odds that all changes this year? It’s still very early in the NHL season, but based on the offseason moves, the current momentum the team is carrying, and the weight of the Devils’ competition, it’s the perfect time to lay down the lines and to call things like they are.

New Jersey has an extremely talented team. With their 38-year-old lock-down, never-say-die staple goalie, Martin Brodeur, the Devils rarely have to put up big offensive numbers to win. And forward Ilya Kovalchuk was a great addition when he came along halfway through last season.

They’ve also won four of the last five Atlantic Division titles. But don’t risk it all just yet. This isn’t a casino online; we’re talking about hockey. Sure, the Devils are regular season juggernauts, but out of those four division wins, they’ve only won two playoff series and, out of five straight postseason appearances, haven’t made it past the first round in three years.

Kovalchuk couldn’t get the Devils over the hump last year. Some say the mid-season acquisition was the reason, and that things will flow more smoothly this year. But it’s hard to forget that five-game beat-down New Jersey took from the Flyers.

Overall, the Pittsburgh Penguins are favored to win the Atlantic this year, at -150, but are essentially a .500 team to date. This does leave the door open for New Jersey to knuckle-up and handle business in the regular season, surpassing their +300 odds and taking down the title again, but they have to prove it out on the ice.

To get to the Stanley Cup Finals, we’re looking at a completely different set of odds. The fact that the Devils fall short year after year has to be factored in, even if you’re approaching it through pro-Devil bias. The odds of hitting a big win playing slot online are better; New Jersey is +1500 to get to the Finals.

Nothing is outside the realm of possibility. New Jersey is a great team with a few weak runs on their schedule that could bode extremely well. However, the team has to show up during the playoffs and prove that they’re worthy of a Stanley Cup. Until then, all the odds in the world won’t help the Devils.