The online sports book experts thought that the NHL playoffs may wind up being like the NBA playoffs. There has been nothing but surprises in the first round of the NBA playoffs and after the St. Louis Blues beat the defending champ Los Angeles Kings in the opening game of their playoff round, the thought was that the NHL playoffs would have some similar surprises. By the time the smoke cleared after Wednesday’s games, the surprises had gone right out the window.
The betting sites had been impressed with what the young New York Islanders had been able to accomplish late in the regular season. The Islanders fought their way into the playoffs with a lineup that seemed unable to win games just the year before. On the back of veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, the Isles fought and scratched their way into the postseason. When Nabokov was pulled in the second period of game one against the Pittsburgh Penguins after giving up four goals on 15 shots, the illusion that the Islanders could win this series was shattered. Now it seems much more likely that the Islanders will be swept and have an early exit from the playoffs.
The series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs offered a lot more sports betting intrigue. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask has a history of playoff struggles and the Maple Leafs seemed able to match the physical intensity of the Bruins. But by the time the first game of this series was over, Rask had shown that he has matured and the Bruins beat the Leafs by a score of 4-1. Once again, there were no surprises at all in that game and it looks like the Bruins are already in control of that series.
As the Ottawa Senators get ready to take on the Montreal Canadiens in game one of their series, the online betting experts are looking for some surprises here. Montreal goaltender Carey Price has been struggling as of late and the Ottawa Senators love to crash the opposing net on a regular basis. The seeding in this series would make an opening win by the Senators an upset, but there are plenty of bettors who see Montreal as being the underdog in this series.
The Washington Capitals are the most intriguing team entering the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs. The Caps made the playoffs as the Southeast Division champ, which is not saying much considering that no other Southeast Division team made the playoffs. But the Rangers are having problems scoring goals and the Capitals are not. The Rangers can rely on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for only so much. At some point, this well-paid lineup of the Rangers will need to score goals if it wants to win. The opening game of this series could wind up being the NHL playoff surprise that everyone has been waiting for.
Read more about this year’s NHL playoffs and the teams that could make headlines.