The first round for the quest for this season’s Stanley Cup wraps-up this week and we have already had our fair share of surprises. The favorites to come out of both the Eastern and Western Conference have been sent home and a couple of other high-profile teams could still be eliminated.
The following is a brief update of each of the four best-of-seven opening-round matchups in the Eastern Conference along with a look what is left on the slate.
No.8 Ottawa Senators vs. No.1 New York Rangers
Ottawa had a chance to close this series out in Game 6 but fell apart in the second period by giving-up three goals after holding the Rangers to a total of three goals in the last three games.
New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist game up huge once again in Monday’s 3-2 victory by stopping 26 of Ottawa’s 27 shots-on-goal including 13 of the 14 he faced in the third period. He now has a goal-against-average of 1.82 and a .942 save percentage through the first six games.
The Senators are 22-7 in their last 29 games in New York and the road team is 20-7 in the last 27 meetings. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 20 of the last 29 meetings at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are 19-9 in their last 28 games as home favorites and the total has gone ‘over’ in six of their last nine playoff games as favorites.
No.7 Washington Capitals vs. No.2 Boston Bruins
Washington was just one goal in overtime away from advancing to the conference semifinals but the Bruins beat it to the punch in a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss in Game 6 as a 107 home underdog.
Boston goalie Tim Thomas has not been at his best this series but he did stop 36 of 39 shots on Sunday to help force a Game 7. Rich Peverley has been the Bruins leading scorer in this series with three goals and two assists.
The road team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings and the total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of the last nine games in Boston and in 23 of the last 33 meetings overall. The Capitals have won four of their last five games in the TD Garden.
No.6 New Jersey Devils vs. No.3 Florida Panthers
New Jersey trails in this series three games to two heading into Tuesday night’s Game 6 at home. They lost the edge with a 3-0 shutout loss to Florida in Game 5 as a 114 road favorite. The Devils have been favored in all five games.
Florida can win its first playoff series in 16 years with a win on the road on Tuesday night of in a Game 7 at home on Thursday. The Panthers have outscored New Jersey 13-12 overall, but 7-1 in the second period.
The underdog in this series is 5-1 in the last six meetings, but Florida is just 8-21-1 in its last 30 games on the road against New Jersey and 18-42-3 in the last 63 meetings overall. The total has gone an even 2-2-1 through the first five games.
No.5 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No.4 Pittsburgh Penguins
After Philadelphia darted to a 3-0 series lead by outscoring the Penguins 20-12, things got a bit dicey with Pittsburgh rolling to a 10-3 win in Game 4 as a 107 road underdog and outlasting the Flyers 3-2 in Game 6 as a prohibitive 193 home favorite. Philly jumped on the Pens early in Game 6 at home and cruised to a 5-1 victory as a 103 underdog.
Flyers forward Claude Giroux was unstoppable in this series with six goals and eight assists. Despite some really shaky play in the first four games, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov came up big when it mattered the most by stopping 30 of Pittsburgh’s 31 shots-on-goal in Game 6.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.