NHL Eastern Conference playoff preview: Round 2
The opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs were nothing short of dramatic and featured the Ottawa Senators' upset of the Montreal Canadiens in five games and the Boston Bruins' Game 7 comeback victory that seemed to fly off the pages of a Hollywood screenplay.
The top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Senators with the Matt Cooke/Erik Karlsson subplot looming large ahead of Game 1 Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Bruins and New York Rangers will renew acquaintances in a battle of Original Six franchises.
Here's our Eastern Conference Round 2 playoff betting preview:
No.1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 7 Ottawa Senators
Season series: Penguins won 3-0 SU, 1-2 over/under
Series prices: Penguins -280, Senators +220
Why bet the Penguins: Scoring is never a problem for the Penguins, who led all teams with 25 goals in the first round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh displayed its scoring depth in its opening round series with the Islanders, boasting seven players that registered two goals or more. The Penguins also showed off their depth in goal. Although Marc-Andre Fleury dropped the ball in Round 1, veteran netminder Tomas Vokoun stepped in and stopped 66 of 69 shots in two outings for a sparkling 1.41 GAA and .957 save percentage.
Why bet the Senators: The Senators are well rested after dispatching the Montreal Canadiens in five games. They also won’t be road weary after making the short hour-long trip to Montreal for Games 1, 2 and 5. Stud forward Jason Spezza (back) is on the mend and could make a return at some point in the series. The center hasn’t played since the fifth game of the season and has 51 points in 53 career postseason games. Ottawa did a great job of slowing Pittsburgh’s power play during the regular season, holding them to a single goal on 15 chances with the man advantage.
No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 6 New York Rangers
Season series: Rangers won 2-1 SU, 2-1 over/under
Series prices: Bruins -159, Rangers +115
Why bet the Bruins: Momentum. The Bruins battled back to win one of the more memorable Game 7s in recent history against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Down 4-1 with under 11 minutes to play, the Bruins triumphed in the face of adversity. After clawing their way back to 4-2 and with clock ticking, Patrice Bergeron awoke from his series-long slumber to net the equalizer with 51 seconds to play and then, finally, the overtime winner. Center David Krejci leads all playoff scorers with 13 points and linemates Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic have also been a handful for the opposition.
Why bet the Rangers: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been playing up to his moniker of "King Henrik" thus far in the postseason. The Swede blanked the Washington Capitals in Games 6 and 7 to carry the Rangers into the second round. Lundqvist brings a 1.65 GAA and a sparkling .947 save percentage into the matchup with Boston. Center Derick Brassard has been a revelation for the squad, pacing the offense for the Broadway Blue Shirts with nine points in the seven-game series with the Capitals.