The online sports book experts are waiting for the teams in the NHL Eastern Conference to finish their seasons and determine actual playoff seeding before making any predictions on the playoffs. But when you look closely at the bottom teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race, there isn’t a team that stands out like the Devils did last year.
The betting websites remember that the New Jersey Devils were on fire when the playoffs started and that carried over into the playoffs. That momentum helped the sixth seeded Devils to get all the way to the Stanley Cup finals before losing to the Los Angeles Kings. But the Devils aren’t even going to make the playoffs this season and the teams at the lower seeds that will be in the postseason are not showing the same tendencies that New Jersey showed last year.
Let’s take a look at what the sports betting experts consider to be the teams in the NHL Eastern Conference that the other teams will have to watch out for.
Once again, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be forced to go into the playoffs without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. This year, the Pens have a little more veteran leadership to make up the difference, but it is the scoring side of things where the team will suffer. The Pens always get through the regular season without Crosby and Malkin, but things usually go horribly wrong in the playoffs.
The betting sites have to think that the Boston Bruins are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference this year. The team has Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup and Jaromir Jagr is fitting right in. The Bruins are getting excellent goaltending and they are skating better than ever. With the emotional lift the team is getting from its fans lately in light of the Marathon Bombing tragedy, the Boston Bruins may be almost impossible to beat in these playoffs.
Montreal goaltender Carey Price is lining himself up to be the next Roberto Luongo. Price looks great in the regular season. But as the playoffs get closer, he starts to choke. That is what has been going on for over a week in Montreal and the fans are rightfully concerned. Carey Price has never shown an ability to be that Ken Dryden kind of goalie that Patrick Roy was and it Price will be the Achilles’ Heel of the Canadiens in these playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs
If you are looking for a wild card in these playoffs, then take the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is a team that just refuses to go away and it is coming into the playoffs red hot. The Leafs may not quite have what it takes to make the march to the finals, but Toronto is definitely going to be a thorn in some team’s side before these playoffs are over.
Read more about the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs.
Pick: Boston Bruins