NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup Betting Preview- First Round Update
The top eight teams in each conference continue to battle their way through the first of four best-of-seven series on their quest for the coveted Stanley Cup Title with half the field advancing on and the other half going home for good.
The following is a brief update of each of the four opening-round matchups in the Western Conference along with a look at this week’s upcoming games.
No.8 Los Angeles Kings vs. No.1 Vancouver Canucks
This series is by far the most shocking development of the first round of the playoffs with the top-seeded Canucks on the verge of elimination after enduring three-straight losses to the upstart Kings.
Vancouver came into the playoffs tied with Chicago has the highest scoring team in the West with an average of 2.94 goals per game, but it has been outscored by the Kings 9-4 in what has been a defensive battle. The loss of Daniel Sedin has had a much bigger impact than expected as Vancouver’s shots just cannot get past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick.
With the series in LA for Game 4 on Wednesday night, the Kings have been opened as 125 favorites with the total line set at five. The Kings are now 12-5 in their last 17 games overall and 8-2 in their last 10 home games. The Canucks are 2-6 in their last eight games on the road.
No.7 San Jose Sharks vs. No.2 St. Louis Blues
St. Louis was stunned 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 as a 157 home favorite, but quickly rebounded with a 3-0 shutout in Game 2 as a 167 home favorite. The Blues scored a goal in each of the three periods while goalie Brian Elliott came in for an injured Jaroslav Halak and stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Elliott got the call for Monday night’s Game 3 in San Jose and while he did not completely shut down the Sharks, he made enough saves to preserve the 4-3 win that gave the Blues the all-important 2-1 edge in the series.
The series stays in San Jose for Thursday night’s Game 4. Halak remains questionable for this game, which is the only serious injury for either team. Monday night’s loss snapped the Sharks five-game home winning streak.
No.6 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No.3 Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes drew first blood in this series with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 1 as 115 home favorites. Martin Hanzel scored the winning goal nine minutes into the extra period. The Blackhawks outshot Phoenix 45-34.
Chicago evened the score with a 4-3 victory in overtime as a 108 road favorite in Saturday’s Game 2. Bryan Bickell scored the game winning goal a little over 10 minutes into the first overtime period.
With the series shifting to Chicago for Tuesday night’s Game 3, the Blackhawks have been opened as 150 home favorites with the total set at 5.5. Chicago is 13-5 in its last 18 home games while Phoenix is 4-10 in its last 14 games as an underdog on the road.
No.5 Detroit Red Wings vs. No.4 Nashville Predators
Detroit earned a split on the road in this series with a 3-2 win in Game 2 as a 101 road underdog after dropping a 3-2 decision in Game 1 as a 113 road dog. The losing team outshot the winner in each game.
Sunday’s Game 3 was pretty much more of the same with Nashville posting another 3-2 win, but as a 133 road underdog. Once again, the team that scored first won and was outshot by its opponent.
The Red Wings have been opened as -170 home favorites for Tuesday night’s Game 4 with the total set at five. Detroit is now just 2-12 in its last 14 games against a team with a winning record and the Predators are 4-1 in their last five games on the road.
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.