2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview – Sunday and Monday’s Action

00BracketIt helps as a sports writer when you humble yourself every now and then and remember you’re not infallible when it comes to predictions. In our last preview I talked about how dominant the Blackhawks looked, how bad the Kings had looked, and how the Blackhawks hadn’t lost on home ice at the United Center this entire post-season. In hindsight I did make one accurate statement: “If MMA has taught us anything in the last few weeks though it’s that underdogs can pay on any given day.” Maybe someone heeded that warning before the Kings massacred the Blackhawks in a lopsided 6-2 game in Chicago. Coming out of that game they’ve taken momentum in the series and now have a 2-1 lead. The swing in the fortune of the Kings has also caused a swing in the betting lines for the Western conference. Los Angeles is now a -200 favorite if you’re betting on the whole enchilada, while Chicago has moved to +170. The lines may move around a little bit though since the next game isn’t taking place until Monday night at 9:05 PM Eastern. Speaking of which, the Kings are a favorite in game four as the Blackhawks travel to the Staples Center, but the money line as of right now is surprisingly narrow. Los Angeles sees a -135 to a +115 for the Blackhawks, which may reflect the fact the third game was much closer than game two – the Kings narrowly edged out a win 4-3. Meanwhile the Habs are trying to dig themselves out of the early two-game hole against the New York Rangers. Game two wasn’t quite the massacre that game one was, but it was nonetheless a 3-1 victory. However, when things moved back to Madison Square Garden, Canada’s only remaining team found new life and picked up a hard-fought overtime win to bring the series to 2-1. With tonight’s game dropping puck at 8:05 PM Eastern time, New York is a -360 favorite to take the entire series, with the increasingly long +300 going to the Habs. Another win tonight and that line will be all but academic, because the Canadiens would be forced to win three straight against a tough Rangers team without their rock in goal, Carey Price. Should you completely give up on the Montreal Canadiens though? Remember what I said about underdogs that can pay off. Despite having all the advantages on paper and a goalie change doing nothing to help the Canadiens, the sports books haven’t ruled them out. The Rangers are a -175 favorite tonight, but a +155 line suggests that there’s at least a fighting chance for the Habs to not get to the brink of elimination. Dustin Tokarski looked good in game three and will continue to try to stem the rising tide of the Rangers to head back to the Bell Centre even in the series. As always these previews are for entertainment purposes only and if you wager please remember that you should only bet what you can afford to play. Thanks for reading our latest Stanley Cup preview!

Written by Stevie J

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