2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Conference Finals Action

Rangers CanadiensAfter our last look at the Stanley Cup Playoffs things went from bad to worse for the Montreal Canadiens. Looking to rebound from a 7-2 thumping in game one, the Habs were forced to attempt their comeback without star goalie Carey Price, who went down with an injury after Chris Kreider collided with him in said same game. Even though Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has struggled in the past at the Bell Centre (he hadn’t started a game there in two years before Tuesday) he was clearly the superior net man on the ice last night. Montreal seemed to be playing long odds of their own by sending out Dustin Tokarski instead of Price’s normal backup Peter Budaj, and it’s not a gamble that paid off. A 3-1 loss puts them behind 2-0 with Thursday’s game being on home ice for the Rangers. There is a serious chance of them getting swept out of Eastern finals. In the West things are a little less clear with only one game played so far. The Blackhawks took the opener over the Kings 3-1, and they have to feel pretty good about it knowing that around this time a year ago they were bounced out of the chase by the Kings in a five game series. Corey Crawford made 25 saves in net and his teammates Brandon Saad, Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews found the goal on the other end with Jonathan Quick just not being quick enough. The score could have even been higher if a shot by Toews in the second period wasn’t disallowed because officials ruled he bumped into Quick first. It was almost the only thing that went Quick’s way in the game, and the Blackhawks look to continue their momentum tonight on home ice – they haven’t lost a game on home ice the entire post-season. I believe it’s not too late for the Kings to turn things around, but if you go by the odds it certainly doesn’t favor them right now. If you’re placing a bet on the series as a whole the Blackhawks are now -270 (bet $270 to win $100) and the Kings are +230 (bet $100 to win $230) at Several Bookmakers. The money line on tonight’s game is a little more favorable if you want to play the Blackhawks as they are -155 and the Kings +135. For those backing the visitors, that’s not much incentive to bet on the Kings to do what nobody else has been able to other than the Blackhawks in the postseason, win in the United Center. If MMA has taught us anything in the last few weeks though it’s that underdogs can pay on any given day. You’ve got a little more time to think about Thursday’s action but things don’t look good for the Habs on the series price, who are now a whopping +525 to turn it around against a very strong -750 for the Rangers. After losing the first two games at home and now having to head to Madison Square Garden that’s fair in my view since the Habs seem flummoxed and bewildered by the Rangers at every turn. Do they try another goalie change? Do they pray that Lundqvist goes down himself? The oddsmakers are giving them a chance and only setting the Rangers as -175 on the money line, but as before I’m not sure +155 is enough incentive for me to take a risk on a team with negative momentum right now. My Canadian friends will have to forgive me but my advice is to bet on New York. Please remember these previews are for entertainment purposes and if you wager to do so responsibly.

Written by Stevie J

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