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NHL Playoff Primer Which is Your Favorite Potential Series

Written by Charlie Jimenez   
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:04

2012 Playoffs Hockey PicksOver the next few weeks, the NHL playoff picture will become clearer, as teams are able to lock up their position. As of this writing, the playoff primer for both the East and West conferences has been heavily dominated by two divisions filled with elite teams. On the one hand, the Atlantic division has become the NHL’s equivalent to March Madness betting picks powerhouse conference the Big East. Conversely, the Central division in the Western Conference has become the Big 10 of the NHL, as all of the team’s in the division have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup. Today we will look at which matchups we are most excited for.

If the National Hockey League playoffs were to start today, the Atlantic and Central divisions, would each be well represented. Of the 16 teams that receive final entry to battle for Lord Stanley’s Championship, the Atlantic and Central divisions make up nine of the 16 representatives. The New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues each are first in their respective conferences, while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks, each rank fourth to sixth in their respective conferences.

On paper, if the playoffs started today, the two best series, would feature Pittsburgh taking on Philadelphia in the East, and Detroit and Nashville battling it out in the West. Theoretically, the bookie software Stanley Cup Champion should come from either the Atlantic or Central divisions.

However, with that in mind, what tends to happen annually in sports is this, two divisions or conferences, depending on the league will dominate throughout the regular season, only to disappoint in the playoffs. As we’ve seen already in the college basketball betting March Madness tournament, the Big 10 went from being an elite regular season conference, to one quickly dismantled in the playoff tournament. On the other hand, by the end of the first round of the NHL playoffs, three or four teams from the nine combined Atlantic and Central division teams could be eliminated. In an ideal world, the Conference Finals could feature four of the nine teams battling it out.

For all intents and purposes, we see the Conference Finals ending up as a battle featuring the St. Louis Blues taking on the Nashville Predators in the West, and the New York Rangers battling the Philadelphia Flyers in the East. The Rangers and Blues as we noted earlier, have sat atop their respective conferences for the entire year. In theory, this is no fluke, as both teams have the depth and lineup set up for extended playoff runs. As well, having arguably this year’s Vezina winner, Henrik Lundqvist v either Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott in the Stanley Cup finals would be an amazing site. For the latter, Halak and Elliott make up the best goalie combination in the entire league. Meaning to say, if one falters, the other one can quickly slide in and take the reigns, as they guide the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals.

 
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