Oh, playoff season. How we love you, and sometimes, how we love to hate you.
Between the late nights for east-coasters and the nail-biting overtimes, something always brings us back. Welcome again grueling face-offs, surprising upsets, big wins, and team rivalry in full-swing.
The ice is settling from the first round, and the second round is taking center stage.
If you’re still adjusting your bets, here are our thoughts on smart picks for the rest of this year’s NHL Playoffs.
Considering the performance of vets like Eric Staal and Jason Pominville this year, the Wilds gave the West an upset no one expected. Looks like the Blues’ mid-season transition to Mike Yeo is already making waves.
Time to go for battle against the Predators and see what happens. Keep in mind Predators’ sweep of the Blackhawks this year. This round match-up will be worth watching.
Here’s how they match up – right now, they don’t. Predators have a 3-1 lead at this point in the series, putting the heat on the Blues to come back and win the rest.
It’s a tall order. All eyes are on goal-hungry Vladimir Tarasenko. He scored 39 goals with 36 assists during the regular season out of all 82 games he played.
With one goal and two assists in the NHL playoffs, it might be time to crank it up a notch. Let’s see if Jaden Schwartz can help him out while Jake Allen minds the net.
Smart pick at this point would be the Predators, but there is still room for an upset.
On the other end of the Western conference, The Flames burnt-out in the first round, leaving the Ducks still standing. Oilers beat out last year’s Western champs and looked hungry for more.
Tied at 2-2 right now, anything can happen. The teams are neck and neck for shots for/against and penalty kills are close as well.
Signs (and bets) point to the Ducks in this one, though. Sitting at 4-0 on the road against a team with a winning home record and 7-1 in the last 8 games following a win, they are stacking up nicely to get through this round.
Ducks could even take the Cup this year.
The Senators pulled off a big upset against well-performing Bruins in the first round. Rangers also managed to take home the W against the Canadiens.
Now set to face off, who will have what it takes? The Rangers had a tough time getting things rolling in the first two games. Now they seem to be heading for a sweep in consecutive 4-1 wins.
Ottawa has taken some hits on key players. Jean-Gabriel Pageau seems to be covering the slack with 5 of the last 7 goals in two games.
New York is getting comfortable on home ice, but the battle is far from over. Money on the Rangers to seal the deal though.
The defending Stanley Cup champs came out on top of the first round, even without key player Kris Letang. Washington did its time against Toronto, but that was the warm-up.
Up next is a match-up of the two that will set the tone for the rest of the NHL playoffs.
Oh yeah, Pittsburgh is currently first in scoring and shot attempts per game. Up 3-1 in the second round, they are in good position to move forward. Players like Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel are really showing up.
Fleury’s saves have been consistent despite having split time this season with last year’s NHL Playoffs starter, Matt Murray.
Captain Crosby is a hell of a team player, ranking up 4 goals and 7 assists in Game 2.
Jake Guentzel is a shining young player. He scored 7 goals in his first seven NHL Playoffs games and some assists as well.
Odds say Pittsburgh takes this one. Might even go all the way back-to-back.
Stanley Cup Finals
The above is worth repeating because the Penguins are a legit threat to repeat.
They’re seasoned. They’re stacked. They’ve done it before and know the tests it takes to get to the Cup.
It’s a long road, but with how they’re taking on the Caps right now it only looks up from here.
In the case of an upset, the East would either be sending Caps or possibly the Rangers. That doesn’t sound like much of a fight to us, but it sure would put a twist on things for the West.
The favorite from the West right now is the Ducks.
After being down 0-2 they came back strong and currently have the most points in the series overall.
They’re focused. They’re hungry. They’re deep in defense and have a strong line of seasoned players.
And it shows. Cam Fowler and Ryan Getzlaf recently spoke on the mentality of the team. In Fowler’s words, the team is only “halfway there”.
Good point considering they’ve had upsets from 2-2 in NHL Playoffs before.
This might be the best series in the playoffs. Anyone else see a Ducks vs. Oilers Game 7 in the future?
Final Take on Smart Picks for 2017’s NHL Playoffs
That’s the beauty of hockey. The playoffs are always an interesting time. No matter the outcome we seem to have some fun watching what happens along the way.
This year has proven to be no different. Despite upsets, close calls, and questionable calls, we still have had the thrill any good game brings.
From home or right in the stands, the Cup is just as much the fans’ as it is the players’.
Speaking of players, the road is still long for the 8 teams left standing. Early favorites fell off, some are still in the running, and anything can happen.
For now, we’re pretty confident about our bets and have had some fun getting to this point. But the fun is not over yet.
At the end of the day, it’s about the love of the game. From the stands, at home, or streaming updates on the go, there is no time like NHL Playoffs.
Happy watching, happy betting, and good luck to all.