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PITTSBURGH (AP) - The celebration, at least by the typically all-business standards of the Pittsburgh Penguins, appeared a little over the top.
The second Brooks Orpik's slapshot ripped into the back of the net 7:49 into overtime last Saturday to give the Penguins a 4-3 overtime win and a first-round playoff series victory over the better-than-advertised New York Islanders, Orpik's teammates spilled over the boards and sprinted toward the veteran defenseman like kids running after the bell rings on the final day of school.
For a team used to success this time of year, it appeared a little out of character.
Then again, it's been awhile. The first goal in Orpik's 78 career playoff games propelled the Penguins into the second round starting Tuesday against Ottawa while easing some of the pain of early postseason exits in 2011 and 2012.
``I know a lot of people are making a big deal out of that, trying to connect it to the last couple years,' Orpik said. ``I don't know, maybe it was built up in some people.'
Just not, Orpik insists, the guys in the Pittsburgh dressing room.
``Half the guys in this room weren't here the last couple years,' he said. ``This group that's right here is 1-0 in the playoffs as far as I see it. Hopefully our confidence is just building off the first round.'
The Penguins should feel confident - and a bit fortunate - to escape the relentless Islanders. New York dominated for long stretches in the series, using its speed to fluster Pittsburgh's talented but sometimes plodding roster of veterans. Though the Penguins never trailed, they were seemingly never really in control over the final five games.
They advanced anyway after a well-timed goaltender switch from struggling Marc-Andre Fleury to backup Tomas Vokoun, who fought off the pesky Islanders in Games 5 and 6.
Now Vokoun or Fleury - coach Dan Bylsma isn't saying who will start Game 1 - will face an entirely different product in the Senators, owners one of the NHL's stingiest defenses with one major axe to grind.
Pittsburgh knocked Ottawa out of the playoffs fairly easily in 2008 and 2010, though both clubs believe it is ancient history.
``I think any playoff matchup, I would consider a rivalry,' Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. ``That's kind of typical in the playoffs for anything; it kind of develops as the playoffs go on. With the history with them I'm sure there's a little extra there but I think at this point you want every game just as much as you would against any, I guess, `rival' you could say.'
More pressing is a simmering feud between the Senators and Penguins winger/part-time instigator Matt Cooke.
Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk labeled Cooke ``a goon' after Cooke's skate slashed the Achilles tendon of Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson on Feb. 13. Though initially ruled out for the rest of the season, Karlsson returned 10 weeks later and collected a goal and five assists in Ottawa's five-game romp over Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs.
Cooke insists the slash was an accident brought on by two players mucking in the corner for the puck and hasn't given it much thought over the last three months. The team's last meeting - a 3-1 Pittsburgh win on April 22 - passed without incident. While maintaining his innocence, Cooke has no problem if the Senators search for retribution sometime over the next two weeks.
``I've always approached the games that if teams are thinking about me and worrying about me, they're not focusing on what they have to do,' Cooke said.
Ottawa center Zack Smith allowed the incident is ``still on people's minds' but is not a focal point for a team trying to reach the conference finals for the third time in franchise history.
``We'll be aware of when he's on the ice as we know what he has done in his past,' Smith said. ``So you just have to be aware when he's finishing his checks.'
Something few teams in the NHL do better than the Senators. Ottawa's disciplined attack is built on being physical in front of its own net and counterpunching. The Senators allowed just 104 goals all season - the second-lowest total in the league - and surrendered just nine in five games against the Canadiens.
Ottawa's success comes from understanding what it can and cannot do. The Senators try to frustrate opponents by taking away space in their zone and rely heavily on defensemen like Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar to quarterback the offense from the blue line.
That can leave a very thin margin for error. The Senators had a plus-12 goal differential this season, compared to Pittsburgh's plus-46. If Ottawa tries to make Pittsburgh's dynamic playmaking, the series could be over quickly.
``If we start getting off the same page and doing our own thing they'll start to burn you,' Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson said. ``But if we stick together and stay on the same system and play on the same page we should be able to limit the number of opportunities we give up.'
It might be the only way to hang with the Penguins now that they're unshackled from the pressure of getting out of the first round.
``We started with 30 (teams) then 16 and now we're down to eight,' Bylsma said. ``And now we're moving on focusing on winning the next four.'
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Although Joe Thornton and Dustin Brown might not agree on much else over the next two weeks, both captains believe hockey has never been bigger or better in California, from the thriving youth game all the way to their state's three winning NHL clubs.
The San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings are eager to highlight this renaissance in their second-round playoff series. It's the fourth postseason meeting between Golden State teams, but the first beyond the opening round.
Judging by the rivals' two stacked rosters and the series' high stakes, everything is in place for a California classic.
``It's pretty cool,' Thornton said Monday before the Sharks' 45-minute flight south. ``Hockey is big out here now. You have a lot of youngsters playing, a lot of older people, too. Hockey is thriving out here in the West.'
Starting in the series opener Tuesday night at Staples Center, the defense-first Kings and the skill-laden Sharks will showcase their contrasting styles in pursuit of the same goal: Being the California club in the Western Conference finals for the eighth time in 10 years.
Local rivalries and short travel times are taken for granted in the Eastern Conference, but they're special circumstances in the West. Neither team wants to waste the advantages of brief flights and their large fan contingents in both arenas.
``I think it's a great thing for California to get these two teams in this situation,' Brown said at the Kings' training complex. ``It's the perfect time for it because of how well hockey is doing. We know what's at stake after what we did last year, and they know it as well.'
The Kings nearly ended up with a matchup even closer to home against the Anaheim Ducks, but their local rivals were eliminated Sunday night by Detroit, scuttling the Kings' hopes of traveling by bus to the first postseason Freeway Faceoff. They've still got a familiar local foe - and for the first time in 21 years, Los Angeles gets to start a postseason series at home.
The Kings have won five straight playoff series as the lower-seeded team over the past two seasons, setting an NHL record. Instead, they hope to continue their dominant run at Staples Center, where they've won 10 straight since March - including a 3-2 win in the regular season finale on April 27, securing the fifth seed by finishing two points ahead of San Jose.
``We're getting into that groove,' Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar said. ``We had a slow start, but the last few games are a good indication of what we can do. We're familiar with them from so many years. We know what they bring and what they can do, and they know what we want to do, so I think it should be a fun series to see who can do it better.'
Los Angeles is amply wary of the Sharks, who are just one series away from their third Western Conference finals appearance in four years. Both teams won four straight to close out their first-round series, although San Jose swept Vancouver while Los Angeles dropped its first two games before rolling through hard-nosed St. Louis.
``I don't know if it will be as physical,' Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of the upcoming series. ``They have some guys that will be physical, but I don't think they have as many guys that will work as hard as guys that were on St. Louis. At the same time, I think this team has a lot more skill and a lot more high-profile players, so it will be just as tough to win this series, too.'
Doughty and Logan Couture are probably done texting each other for the month. The childhood buddies and longtime teammates usually don't talk about their teams' rivalry, but Couture admires the Kings' 16-4 roll through the last postseason - something the Sharks have never experienced in nine straight trips to the playoffs.
``The hottest team wins the Stanley Cup at playoff time, that's the way it is every single year,' Couture said. ``They showed it. It was a prime example last year. They played unbelievable hockey. They really tore through every other team. It's a pretty incredible thing to do.'
San Jose and Los Angeles met in the playoffs for the first time two years ago, and the Sharks advanced in six hard-nosed games on the way to their second straight conference finals - but the Kings were still coached back then by Terry Murray, who was replaced in December 2011 by Darryl Sutter, the longtime Sharks coach. Patrick Marleau, Scott Hannan and Brad Stuart all played for Sutter in San Jose.
``They know all of us, and we know all of them, so there won't be many surprises,' Los Angeles' Jarret Stoll said. ``They're having a great run. They're playing the right way, and they'll be fired up. Maybe they're buying in a little more, blocking more shots, and that's why they're still playing.'
The Sharks' biggest asset might be goalie Antti Niemi. The Stanley Cup winner has elevated his formidable game this season, posting a league-best 24 victories with a career-low 2.16 goals-against average as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
But this series features two Cup-winning goalies, and Jonathan Quick has a Conn Smythe Trophy to go with it. Quick was in his usually formidable postseason form against St. Louis, allowing just 10 goals on 177 shots with the same low-to-the-ice, athletic style that led the Kings to a title.
No matter which team survives this matchup, players and coaches are confident local hockey will get another boost from the clubs' combined success.
``I think it's an incredible thing for the state of California,' said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose sons participated in youth hockey programs in the South Bay.
``(The) extreme growth and passion that this community has, and I'm sure it's the same down South, that's a result of the three teams having some success - playing late, becoming young hockey players' heroes and contributing to the community,' McLellan added. ``So if we can continue that trend - obviously we will, because one of these two teams is going to go on - I think it's a great thing for the state.'
-- Blackhawks 36-7-5, 77 points, 1st in Central
-- Red Wings 24-16-8, 56 points, 3rd in Central
-- Blackhawks swept season series, 4-0, by combined score of 14-5
-- Under cashed twice in four matchups (one push)
-- Red Wings are 0-7 in past seven meetings, 1-4 in past five in Chicago
(5) Los Angeles vs. (6) San Jose
-- Kings 27-16-4, 59 points, 2nd in Pacific
-- Sharks 25-16-7, 57 points, 3rd in Pacific
-- Teams split season series, 2-2, with home team winning each game
-- Total pushed twice, other meetings finished over
-- Home team has won past five meetings
Eastern Conference Matchups
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (7) Ottawa
-- Penguins 36-12-0, 72 points, 1st in Atlantic
-- Senators 25-17-4, 56 points, 4th in Northeast
-- Penguins swept season series, 3-0, by combined score of 9-4
-- Over cashed in only meeting in Pittsburgh, under cashed in both meetings in Ottawa
-- Senators are 5-11 in past 16 meetings, 1-4 in past five trips to Pittsburgh
(4) Boston vs. (6) N.Y. Rangers
-- Bruins 28-14-6, 62 points, 1st in Northeast
-- Rangers 26-18-4, 56 points, 2nd in Atlantic
-- Bruins won season series, 2-1, two games decided by one goal
-- Over cashed in two of three matchups
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
San Jose at Los Angeles
The Sharks look to open up the series and build on their 11-1 record in their last 12 games against teams with a winning record. San Jose is the pick (+140) according to Dunkel, which has the Sharks favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: San Jose (+140). Here are all of today's picks.
TUESDAY, MAY 14
Game 1-2: Ottawa at Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 12.078; Pittsburgh 13.093
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-200); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-200); Under
Game 3-4: San Jose at Los Angeles (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Jose 12.194; Los Angeles 11.053
Dunkel Line & Total: San Jose by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-160); 5
Dunkel Pick: San Jose (+140); Over
OTTAWA (29-18-0-6, 64 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (40-14-0-0, 80 pts.) - 5/14/2013, 7:35 PM
Top Trends for this game.
PITTSBURGH is 40-14 ATS (+40.0 Units) in all games this season.
PITTSBURGH is 13-2 ATS (+9.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
PITTSBURGH is 23-7 ATS (+14.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
PITTSBURGH is 40-14 ATS (+13.2 Units) second half of the season this season.
PITTSBURGH is 18-5 ATS (+9.4 Units) after a division game this season.
OTTAWA is 72-69 ATS (+148.2 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
OTTAWA is 24-16 ATS (+40.3 Units) after a win by 2 goals or more over the last 2 seasons.
OTTAWA is 28-17 ATS (+45.3 Units) after scoring 4 goals or more in their previous game over the last 2 seasons.
OTTAWA is 18-10 ATS (+29.2 Units) on Tuesday nights over the last 2 seasons.
Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 7-4 (+0.9 Units) against the spread versus OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 7-4-0 straight up against OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
7 of 11 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.2 Units)
SAN JOSE (29-16-0-7, 65 pts.) at LOS ANGELES (31-17-0-6, 68 pts.) - 5/14/2013, 10:05 PM
Top Trends for this game.
SAN JOSE is 30-35 ATS (-18.0 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 21-36 ATS (-17.6 Units) in road games second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 6-15 ATS (-10.6 Units) in road games vs. division opponents over the last 2 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 22-5 ATS (+15.1 Units) in a home game where where the total is 5 or less this season.
LOS ANGELES is 8-0 ATS (+8.0 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
LOS ANGELES is 30-16 ATS (+11.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 22-5 ATS (+13.5 Units) in home games second half of the season this season.
SAN JOSE is 18-10 ATS (+6.8 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
Head-to-Head Series History
SAN JOSE is 13-9 (+1.1 Units) against the spread versus LOS ANGELES over the last 3 seasons
SAN JOSE is 13-9-0 straight up against LOS ANGELES over the last 3 seasons
11 of 18 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.8 Units)
Conference Semifinals, Game One (Series Tied, 0-0)
Ottawa at Pittsburgh, 7:35 ET NBCSN
Ottawa: 11-3 Under after allowing 1 or 0 goals
Pittsburgh: 18-5 SU off a division game
Conference Semifinals, Game One (Series Tied, 0-0)
San Jose at Los Angeles, 10:05 ET NBCSN
San Jose: 1-8 SU away off an Over
Los Angeles: 8-0 SU at home after allowing 1 or 0 goals
Tuesday, May 14
Pittsburgh are 3-0 vs Senators this year, winning 2-1/4-2/3-1, with 4-2 game Ottawa's one visit here; Senators lost five of last seven visits here overall. Penguins won 17 of last 20 home games, winning two of three vs Islanders, with both wins shutouts. Six of last eight series games went over total. Ottawa won six of last seven road games; over is 4-1-1 in its last six games overall, 4-1 in Pittsburgh's last five. Senators just beat rival Canadiens, will they be able to get back up right away for next series?
Sharks swept Vancouver, with two wins in OT; Kings won last four games vs St Louis, after falling behind 2-0, with all four wins by a goal. Home teams won nine of last ten in this rivalry, with San Jose losing four of last five visits to Staples Center. Over is 4-1-2 in last seven series games. Sharks' last loss was 3-2 here 17 days ago. Under is 6-1-2 in last nine Los Angeles games; defending champs split four games with San Jose this year, with home side winning all four games.
OTTAWA vs. PITTSBURGH
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Ottawa's last 9 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Ottawa's last 6 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is 11-5 SU in its last 16 games when playing Ottawa
Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Ottawa
SAN JOSE vs. LOS ANGELES
San Jose is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Los Angeles
San Jose is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Los Angeles's last 9 games when playing at home against San Jose
Los Angeles is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against San Jose
Tuesday's NHL playoff action: What bettors need to know
Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins (-193, 5.5)
After receiving a spirited test to begin the postseason, the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins may get all they can handle on Tuesday when they open their Eastern Conference second-round series at home against the seventh-seeded Ottawa Senators. Sure, the Penguins won all three regular-season contests between the teams, but the Senators have reason to be steamed after Pittsburgh agitator Matt Cooke injured the Achilles tendon of stud defenseman Erik Karlsson on Feb. 13. The reigning Norris Trophy winner was sidelined for 31 games after the incident.
Karlsson seems to have healed well with one goal and five assists and Craig Anderson turned aside 171 of 180 shots as Ottawa eliminated second-seeded Montreal in five games during the first round. The netminder yielded only five goals in two contests versus Pittsburgh in 2013 - but he better be up for the challenge. The Penguins scored 25 goals en route to dispatching the pesky eighth-seeded New York Islanders in six games in the first round.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports
ABOUT THE SENATORS: Ottawa dispatched Montreal in a physical series in the first round, allowing for a peaceful four-day cushion in between games. Captain Daniel Alfredsson (two goals, four assists) matched Karlsson with a team-best six points and Kyle Turris is riding a three-game goal-scoring streak. The Senators do have an ace up their sleeve as Jason Spezza eyes a return following surgery on his back for a herniated disk. Spezza, who has played in just five games this season, did not make the trip to Pittsburgh, however.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS: While Pittsburgh is known for its powerful offense, the focus in the Steel City will likely rest between the pipes. Marc-Andre Fleury struggled mightily after his Game 1 shutout against the Islanders and eventually gave way to veteran Tomas Vokoun, who has been in net in each of the his team's last two victories. "We have confidence in both guys, no matter who it is," said captain Sidney Crosby, who had three goals and six assists in five games. "They've both proven for a long time that they're more than capable of doing a great job. We feel very comfortable with either one as players, but it's not up to us to decide who goes into net."
* Senators are 6-1 in their last seven road games.
* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Pittsburgh.
* Over is 4-1 in Penguins’ last five overall.
* Senators are 1-4 in the last five meetings in Pittsburgh.
1. The Senators defeated the Penguins in five games during their first-round series in 2007. Pittsburgh answered by sweeping Ottawa in the opening round in 2008 before winning in six games in 2010.
2. Pittsburgh went 7-for-21 on the power play in the first round while killing off 18 of 20 short-handed situations.
3. Ottawa has scored six power-play goals in its last three contests.
San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (-155, 5)
The fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings continue their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions Tuesday, when they begin their Western Conference second-round series against the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Los Angeles' hopes to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 took an early blow as it dropped the first two games of its first-round series with the St. Louis Blues. The Kings rallied to win the next four in the tightly contested matchup, as each of the six games were decided by one goal.
San Jose advanced to the all-California showdown by sweeping the Northwest Division champion Vancouver Canucks. The series was not as easy for the Sharks as it would seem, with two of their wins coming in overtime and the other two needing big offensive performances in the third period. San Jose has been idle since finishing off Vancouver on May 7, while Los Angeles has had three days off since dispatching St. Louis on Friday. The Kings, who have home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time since 1992, split their four-game set against the Sharks during the regular season.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN
ABOUT THE SHARKS: Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture led San Jose with eight points apiece in the first-round series against Vancouver. Pavelski and Patrick Marleau each scored four goals. Captain Joe Thornton understands the showdown with former Sharks coach Darryl Sutter's club will not be a walk in the park. "They're the champs," Thornton said. "We have to go down there and try to win some games. We're not looking to go down and sweep the champs. We just want to compete hard from Game 1 on and see if we can win." Defenseman Jason Demers appears to have recovered from his left ankle injury but likely will be kept out of the lineup Tuesday. Demers, who missed the final four regular-season games and the entire series against Vancouver, has participated in practice each of the last two days. "Yesterday I was a little tired, but today I felt pretty good," he said.
ABOUT THE KINGS: Mike Richards topped Los Angeles with five points - all assists - against St. Louis, while Jeff Carter scored a team-high three goals in the series. Defenseman Slava Voynov was Mr. Clutch for the Kings, as both of his goals against the Blues were game-winners. Coming back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games is no easy feat. It has been done only 45 times in 327 instances, but Los Angeles is not in awe of itself. "There seemed to be just a sense of business as usual," Justin Williams told the Los Angeles Times. "We're happy with the win but not satisfied." The Kings performed well on the penalty kill in the first round, ranking fourth with an 88.2 percent success rate. They'll have to be at least as good against the Sharks, who went 7-for-24 on the power play against Vancouver to rank second at 29.2 percent. "They really thrive on their power play," Kings captain Dustin Brown told the Times. "Our PK was good last series, but it's going to have to be even better against these guys."
* Over is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings in Los Angeles.
* Over is 4-0-3 in the last seven meetings.
* Home team is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
* Sharks are 1-4 in the last five meetings in Los Angeles.
1. The Kings and Sharks have met just one other time in the playoffs, with San Jose winning the 2011 first-round series in six games. Three of its four victories came in overtime.
2. D Drew Doughty was a 2-year-old the last time the Kings had home-ice advantage in a postseason series.
3. Three of the four regular-season meetings between the Pacific Division rivals were decided by one goal, with one contest going to a shootout.
NHL Western Conference playoff preview: Round 2
The first round of the NHL Western Conference playoffs was full of surprises as three of the top-four seeds were sent packing.
The top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks will now get re-acquainted with long-time rivals the Detroit Red Wings in the second round. While the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings turn their focus to the San Jose Sharks, who desperately want to erase their reputation as playoff chokers.
Here's our Western Conference Round 2 playoff betting preview:
No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 7 Detroit Red Wings
Season series: Blackhawks won 4-0 SU, 1-2-1 over/under. * Three games needed overtime or a shootout.*
Series prices: Blackhawks -320, Red Wings +260
Why bet the Blackhawks: The Blackhawks cruised past the Minnesota Wild in five games without top forwards Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane registering a goal. Of the 13 forwards that dressed in the opening round, 11 registered at least a point. The Blackhawks went a perfect 17-for-17 on the penalty kill against Minnesota.
Why bet the Red Wings: The Red Wings dug themselves out of a 3-2 series hole against the Ducks and posted back-to-back wins to earn the right to advance. Detroit’s roster is loaded with playoff experience and it has a clear edge in the coaching department. Mike Babcock is one of the most coveted head coaches in the league and if there’s anyone who can find a way to shut down the high-powered Blackhawks in a seven-game series, it’s him.
No. 5 Los Angeles Kings vs. No. 6 San Jose Sharks
Season series: Kings won series 2-1-1 SU, 0-2-2 over/under.
Series prices: Kings -135, Sharks +115
Why bet the Kings: The Kings dropped the first two games to the Blues before roaring back to win the next four. Drew Doughty anchors a strong defensive corps that limited a potent St. Louis attack to 10 goals in the first round. Jonathan Quick stole the show during L.A.’s cup run a year ago and appears to be rounding back into form. After allowing four goals in the first two contests of the this year's playoffs, Quick regrouped and yielded only six markers in the final four games of the series.
Why bet the Sharks: The Sharks swept the Vancouver Canucks and will have six days between games to rest up. San Jose’s top forwards were firing on all cylinders in the first round as Logan Couture had eight points, as did Joe Pavelski. Jumbo Joe Thornton also dished out five helpers and scored. The Sharks have arguably the most proven big-game netminder remaining in the playoffs. Antti Niemi improved his record to 29-19 in the postseason with a win in Game 4 over the Canucks and boasts an incredible 11-2 record in playoff overtime games. Niemi already has one Stanley Cup ring to his credit, as he backstopped the Blackhawks to Stanley Cup glory in 2009-10.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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.
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: N/A
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.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: