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It's Playoff time!

Odds & News | MK ( Tue 10th, April 2012 )

NHL playoff season is about to start and obviously we are excited about it

Well at least the ones who follow the best hockey games and want some more action now that the March Madness is over. Regular games are gone and now the most prominent 16 are about to confront to get a chance for the Lord Stanley Cup Trophy, some of these teams have been quite predictable and may gave us expected results, however; there are some others who may surprise us with some upsets; since the games are played in a different speed, this only makes it more exciting. These are some first rounds previews; so be ready, because it's Playoff time!

EC: New York Rangers (1) vs Ottawa Senators (8)

Rangers have it tough to get into the playoffs, with two straight loses, and things may get tougher on the first round, because they face a motivated Ottawa who took 3 victories of 4 during the regulars. This is a classic sharp offense against solid defense case; The Senators high scoring attack will be put to test against the defensive wall and skills of Henrik Lundqvist. A low-scoring game will give the Rangers the edge, since threatening Craig Anderson goal zone would not be so hard unless the goalie shine for the Senators, which will give them a chance to win. I believe this may end with the Rangers taking it at five.

WC: Vancouver Canucks (1) vs Los Angeles Kings (8)

Vancouver was so close the last time to lift the Trophy last year. However, even with the upset the Canucks haven't letdown their quest to claim it and their efficiency keep incrementing with every game and opponent they face; notice that right now they have the most points in the NHL. For Los Angeles to take down the top team not only will be a priority, but also a hard challenge. Beating the Canucks power play talents it's clearly the key factor to win, but even if they have been flickering as of late, the Kings had to overcome the solid defense of Roberto Luongo who probably will be the starting goalie. The Kings face a hardest opponent since the Canucks are the most complete team in the league, so clearly Vancouver takes it by five.

EC: Boston Bruins (2) vs Washington Capitals (7)

The last year champions, the Bruins still hot and thirsty for another Stanley Cup. They will face the Capitals on the first round and the numbers are in their favor; the Bruins had the top five in goals and goals against, plus they are in a rolling snowball of destruction, they'll simply will crush the Caps unless they get Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green hot all at once, then the game will turn in their favor to deal with Tim Thomas majestic defense. If that doesn't happen, then Boston balanced offensive simply will trample Washington. I doubt the four will be on their prime, at least not together, so this clearly is for Boston which will take it in five.

WC: St.Louis Blues (2) vs San Jose Sharks (7)

St.louis has defeated San Jose on each of the four occasions they met during this year. This put the balance on favor of the Blues; however, as mentioned before the playoffs are quite different from the regulars, and has its own style of game. This makes it an interesting match, since each team has a particular way to play; the Blues have a young team and a strong defense reinforced by the goaltending of Jaroslav Halak, while the Sharks excellent offensive have experienced goal scores on Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau which are a lethal power play. Lately St. Louis performance has been going downward, contrary to San Jose who are in a hot streak; plus Antti Niemi has been on fire lately keeping for the Sharks, so I can suspect an upset here. I think Sharks take it in six.

EC: Florida Panthers (3) vs New Jersey Devils (6)

The Panthers didn't finished the season in a kind manner; being the team with the worst 10-game stretch out in the league, it makes it so hard for them to have a chance against a powerful offensive as the one the Devils possess. For the Panthers to have a chance they will have to trust on goalie Jose Theodore defensive abilities to become a wall and steal some games for Florida, however this seems as something out of a dream. The Devils will be merciless and are going to make the panthers lives a real hell. Not even a tiny chance to get an upset here, this is Devils territory and they will take it in six.

WC: Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs Chicago Blackhawks (6)

Phoenix ranks four in the league in goals against, the Coyotes solid defense is covered by Goalie Mike Smith; which has become one of the cheapest bastards when it comes on giving goals to opposing teams, Smith only has given a total of two goals during his last five starts. The Hawks will have it hard facing such goalkeeper, however if they can line up Jonathan Toews, then they will have enough fire power to overcome Phoenix defense. On the other side, Chicago defense became tougher since Johnny Oduya was added, making the team well balanced and dangerous. If Smith could steals a few games and the hawks fail to crack him, then this will be Phoenix game. This will be taken by the Coyotes in six.

EC: Pittsburg Penguins (4) vs Philadelphia Flyers (5)

This its probably the most exciting game in the Eastern Conference on the first round, here is genuine rivalry, these teams despise each other and surely will be an epic match, no doubt we shall see some quality brawl. Both teams have powerful offensive talent with the Penguins having more star power, however, the Flyers know how to keep an offensive pressure with waves of constant attacks. The defense on both teams makes it even more exciting, with capable goalies like Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins and Ilya Bryzgalov for the Phillies. Both teams are the two top-scoring teams in the league, and this doesn't seem to change a bit. I bend for the Penguins on this one so they will take it in seven.

WC: Nashville Predators (4) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)

This match could be the second most exciting encounter in the playoffs. These two talented teams will square off in this match; the Predators will line up the top defensive pair in the NHL Shea Weber and Ryan Suter against the talented offensive of the Redwings, conformed by Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard, these three Detroit talents were missed during the regulars, but now are healthy and ready; however they first should figure how to play together in order to create some havoc in the playoffs. Nashville talented defense may stop these guys for a good time, but I hardly see them winning, so I expect an upset here, I believe this is for the Redwings to take in seven.

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