The Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals got underway this weekend and while Phoenix has carved-out a two-game lead at home, Los Angeles continues to find ways to win on the road.
The following is a closer look at each of the two series along with some up-to-date betting trends that will help to handicap this week’s games.
No. 4 Nashville Predators vs. No.3 Phoenix Coyotes
Nashville rolled through the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the first round and came into this series as 135 favorites to advance to the conference finals, but suddenly finds itself down two games to none after a 4-3 loss in overtime in Game 1 as a 109 road favorite. This was followed by a 5-3 loss in Sunday’s Game 2 as a 119 road favorite.
The Predators now head back to Music City where players such as Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn , who have combined for 10 points in the postseason, are going to have make some noise in the next two games to tie things up. Nashville will also need a better effort from Pekka Rinne, who has given-up nine goals in this series after posting a 1.81 goals-against-average against Detroit.
Phoenix had to battle its way into the playoffs by winning the very competitive Pacific Division and has made the most of the opportunity with a six-game first-round series win over Chicago and 2-0 series lead in this one. One of the main reasons that the Coyotes have done so well this postseason is their ability to win close games. In six overtime games, they have scored the winning goal in four of them.
The key contributors for Phoenix have been center Antoine Vermette and defenseman Keith Yandle. Vermette has five goals in eight games and Yandle has seven assists, but it has been a total team effort with nine other players chipping-in at least four points so far. Mike Smith has been outstanding in goal with a 2.03 GAA and a save percentage of .943.
The Predators are 4-2 in their last six road games and 7-3 in their last 10 games overall, but just 1-5 in their last six conference semifinal games. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of their last six games in the conference semifinals.
The Coyotes are 11-2 in their last 13 games overall and 6-2 in their last eight games at home. The total has stayed under in eight of their last 15 games.
Head-to-head, the road team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings and the total has gone OVER in seven of the last eight games in Phoenix.
No.8 Los Angeles Kings vs. No.2 St. Louis Blues
Los Angeles has been giant killers so far in this year’s playoffs with a 4-1 series win over No.1-seed Vancouver in the first round by a combined score of 12-8 and a 3-1 victory over the Blues in Game 1 of this series as a 142 road underdog. The Kings opened as +150 underdogs in this series but are in perfect position to take a 2-0 series lead with a win on Monday night as 135 road underdogs.
Dustin Brown has been a force for LA in the postseason with four goals and two assists, but much of this team’s success has to be credited with the play of goalie Jonathan Quick. He has been one of the best in the NHL all season long, but he has elevated his game in the playoffs with a GAA of just 1.49 and a .955 save percentage.
St. Louis also lost the first game of its first-round series with San Jose 3-2 in overtime as a 157 home favorite before reeling-off four straight victories to send the Sharks packing in five games. The Blues outscored San Jose 13-7 in those four games and held the Sharks to one goal or less in three of them.
The key goal scorers for the Blues this postseason have been Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund, who have combined for seven in six games. Brian Elliott has done an excellent job in goal in relief of an injured Jaroslav Halak, who is still recovering from a groin pull he sustained in Game 2 of the San Jose series. Elliott has gotten the job done with a GAA of 1.51 and a .944 save percentage.
The Kings are 4-0 in their last four games as underdogs on the road and 4-1 in their last five playoff games as underdogs. The total has stayed ‘under’ in four of their last five conference semifinal games.
The Blues are 35-16 in their last 51 games as favorites at home but just 1-5 in their last six conference semifinal games. The total has stayed ‘under’ in four of their last six playoff games as favorites.
Head-to-head, Los Angeles is 4-1 in the last five meetings but 6-14 in its last 20 games in St. Louis. The total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of the last eight meetings overall.
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.