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Road To The Stanley Cup

Written by Charlie Jimenez   
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 21:24

Hockey Betting OddsThe highly anticipated National Hockey League playoffs get underway Wednesday night, and while the same two teams have made the online sportsbook Stanley Cup finals in each of the past two seasons, this year may mark a change at the top.  

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings represented their conferences in the Stanley Cup finals in both 2008 and 2009, but the 2010 season has been different for both teams. While the Penguins defense has been suspect for most of the season, and the team has missed the output it got from center Evgeni Malkin just one year ago, the Red Wings struggled near the final playoff spot in the west before making a late surge down the stretch to reach 100 points for the tenth consecutive season and finish fifth. While Detroit should be able to get by surprising Phoenix in the first round, the Penguins will have a much tougher NHL odds task taking on the Senators. Even should both teams reach the conference semi-finals, this year will mark a much tougher road to the finals.

 

In the Western conference, perennial regular season favorite San Jose has clinched another conference title, and will attempt to finally end its run of futility in the postseason. Chicago and Vancouver finished second and third in the conference respectively, and both feel that their teams have improved since they met in the second round of last year’s playoffs. While the Red Wings are playing great hockey, they are entering the playoffs with an unproven rookie netminder, and this may be the year they finally slip to one of the three teams listed above.  

In the Eastern conference, the Washington Capitals clinched the conference once again, and it was no surprise given the firepower the team boasts up front, combined with its relatively weak division. The Capitals were the first team to clinch a division title this season, mainly because no other team from the Southeast finished higher than tenth. However, finishing first meant simply locking up home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, the first step in a much bigger goal for Washington. The Capitals swept the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins during the regular season, and will now look to continue that success in the playoffs as they gun for the finals. New Jersey added superstar Ilya Kovalchuk to help up front, while the Sabres finally have a healthy Tim Connolly and an emerging Derek Roy. The key to both of those teams is goaltending, as Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller will be Vezina trophy candidates, as two of the top netminders in the league.  

The playoffs are the most exciting time of the year for NHL betting enthusiasts, and this year’s installment will be no different. While the Red Wings and Penguins will be gunning for a third straight showdown in the Stanley Cup finals, they will face a lot stiffer competition to get there this season, and are far from a Stanley Cup odds’ betting lock.

 
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