The first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs has not disappointed, with plenty of drama in the first few days. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the postseason betting action and what’s to come for hockey bettors this week.
The Nashville Predators are halfway to what would be the most surprising result of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs: a four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The hardest part is over for the Predators, who went into the Windy City and stole a pair of shutout victories, including a one-sided 5-0 triumph in Game 2 on Saturday.
Netminder Pekka Rinne has stopped all 59 shots he’s faced in the series and has been red hot for a while now, helping contribute to Nashville’s 1-7-2 Over/Under record over the previous 10 games. Game 3 goes Monday night in Nashville, where the Preds were 24-9-6 during the regular season. Nashville is EVEN money to win Game 3 at SportsInteraction.com.
Minny singing the Blues
The Minnesota Wild are on the verge of being knocked out of the Western Conference playoffs, trailing 3-0 in the opening-round series following a 3-1 defeat in Game 3 in St. Louis.
After scoring 17 goals during a four-game season-ending winning streak, the Wild offense has completely dried up in the playoffs, as it enters Tuesday’s Game 4 having tallied just three times in the first three contests.
The Blues, meanwhile, are on the most impressive run in the league right now, having gone 18-2-2 over their previous 22 games (including playoffs). They’re also 6-13-3 O/U over that stretch.
No surprise in San Jose
SAP Center in San Jose was the site of the fewest Over results in the NHL this season, as the Sharks were just 10-22-9 O/U there during the regular schedule.
That trend continued unsurprisingly in the Sharks’ opening home game of the postseason, as they dropped a 1-0 decision to Edmonton and saw the Oilers take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven set.
San Jose has been blanked in back-to-back games thanks to an airtight Oilers defense that limited the Sharks to 39 shots in Games 2 and 3. The Sharks will look to even the series as the teams tangle in Game 4 on Tuesday night at SAP Center. SportsInteraction.com has the betting total at five goals (Under -130).
* The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to have defenseman Nikita Zaitsev back in time for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Washington Capitals. Zaitsev’s return from an upper-body injury is a critical one for the Maple Leafs, who have lost fellow blueliner Roman Polak (lower body) for the rest of the season. The series is tied 1-1.
* The Boston Bruins are hoping to have skilled center David Krejci back in action for Game 3 of their East quarterfinal against the Ottawa Senators. Krejci missed the first two games of the series with an upper-body injury after suiting up for all 82 regular season games for the Bruins, scoring 23 goals and adding 31 assists.
* Jake Guentzel might not have been a household name prior to the postseason, but hockey fans know who he is now after he recorded a hat trick in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-4 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in a thrilling Game 3. Guentzel has been a surprise playoff hero for Pittsburgh, scoring four goals and adding an assist in three games.
* The Montreal Canadiens have seized a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series with the New York Rangers, thanks in no small part to the scoring exploits of Alexander Radulov. The veteran right winger had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 2, and followed that up with a two-point performance in the Canadiens’ 3-1 triumph in Game 3.
Stanley Cup futures
* There’s a new favorite to win the Stanley Cup, according to Sports Interaction. The Penguins have vaulted past the Capitals for the honor of being the odds-on fave, priced at +333 odds to repeat as NHL champions. The Capitals are next in line at +350, with the Canadiens holding sole possession of third place at +700.
* The Blackhawks and Wild have both seen their Stanley Cup odds plummet after getting off to dreadful starts in the playoffs. Chicago opened the postseason at +550 – tied with Pittsburgh for the second best odds – but come into this week at +1,200. Minnesota is even worse off, going from +700 a week ago to a whopping +4,000 as of Monday.
* Games decided in regulation have been a major boon to Under bettors through the first five days of playoff action. Non-overtime games are a stunning 0-10-3 O/U, while games that go to extra time have gone 4-2-0 O/U so far.