Archive for the 'NHL' Category

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Game 1 – Sharks vs. Blues

April 12, 2012

San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues meet at Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri (7:30 PM ET, April 12, 2012) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals – Game 1. In the last 10 matches, San Jose has a 7-3-0 record while, St. Louis 4-3-3 record. The best betting odds have Sharks 7/5 and Blues 4/6.

St. Louis had win all four regular-season matchups and dominated in the process. In either game at Scottrade Center, the Blues did not allow a goal, with Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak each recording a shutout. Alex Pietrangelo led all scorers with 5 points and 2 goals.

The Sharks had to scratch and claw over the final weeks just to get in for an eight straight year, while the Blues’ postseason berth was never really in doubt the second half of the season. San Jose won its final four regular-season games; therefore, the respective senses of urgency seemed to be evident in their respective play. The wins include a home-and-home sweep of Pacific Division rival Los Angeles. St. Louis on the other hand dropped four in a row before winning its finale against Dallas.

Against a club that led the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) and allowed 14 fewer goals the next-best team during the regular season, the Sharks must figure out how they are going to win one game. It’s the experience of the returning nucleus that led the Sharks to back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference Finals the past two years is one thing that could give San Jose a distinct advantage in this series.

Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle are some of the players who will play a crucial role in this series. Goalie Antti Niemi was part of last year’s squad that lost to Vancouver. He led Chicago to a Stanley Cup title as a rookie. The Sharks have come off consecutive extra-time wins against a fierce rival that was also battling for positioning and there is the fact that they have been in playoff mode for weeks now.

Elliott is expected to dress for St. Louis, while San Jose forward Torrey Mitchell (upper body) is considered likely to play in the series opener. For the first time in their history this season, they had three 30-goal scorers, as Logan Couture, Pavelski and Marleau.

This season, T.J. Oshie and David Backes led the Blues with 54 points. Backes had a team-leading 24 goals. St. Louis team does have veterans like Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott who have lifted the Stanley Cup before, although this is only the second postseason appearance by St. Louis since the work stoppage.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Will Take On Boston Bruins On Saturday

May 12, 2011

Boston BruinsOn Saturday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Boston to battle against the Boston Bruins, the Eastern Conference Finals will finally get under way.

Following their respective second round sweeps of the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, both teams have had an extended layoff. While Boston has been waiting since May 6th, Tampa has been off since May 4th. When the Conference Finals begin, with these extended layoffs both teams figure to be fresh and well rested.

Winning four of the six games the two teams played against each other, Boston won the season series against Tampa Bay. On December 2nd, 2010, actually, Boston won the last three match ups including an 8-1 romp in Boston. This playoff match up figures to be a competitive battle as both Tampa and Boston are getting great play from their top players, while Boston may have won the season series.

In online free picks, the over/under total is 5.5 and the Bruins are a -145 moneyline favorite.

Both Boston and Tampa Bay have gotten excellent play from their net minders as experts always say the goalie is the most important player come playoff time.

As both Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson lead the league in playoff save percentage, making it even more difficult to predict the winner of this series, they have played exceptionally well in goal for Boston and Tampa. On this series it appears that the special team’s play of both clubs will have a major impact.

While Tampa Bay has the second best penalty kill unit, currently, Boston is ranked tenth on the penalty kill in the playoffs. While Boston has struggled through the first two rounds only scoring two power play goals in thirty seven chances, good for the fourteenth best ranking in the playoffs, the power play unit seems to favor Tampa Bay as well, as the Lightning rank third in that category.

Tampa Bay could be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals representing the Eastern Conference, if these trends continue.

Friday Clash Between Chicago Blackhawks And Detroit Red Wings

April 7, 2011

This weekend the Detroit Red Wings will battle against the Chicago Blackhawks and the game will be played in Detroit.

In the Western conference the Blackhawks are in a tight race for the last playoff spot. In NHL Betting, The Red Wings are at 15-1 to win the Stanley Cup.

It seems that hockey does not have as firm of a rule while in most sports it seems that home field advantage is an extremely important advantage. There are several teams that are much better playing away from their home crowd while there are definitely teams that play better at home than on the road.

One of the teams that play better away than they do at home are the Detroit Red Wings. They are 21-13-6 while playing in Detroit even as they are 25-10-4 playing away from Detroit. By putting up a record of 19-12-9 on the season away from their home ice, the Blackhawks are a solid road team as well.

As the season closes out, the Blackhawks are in desperate need of victories. The Flames and Stars are the two teams that are hot on their tails. With 93 points the Blackhawks are in the 8th position in the Western Conference Standings. Both the Flames and Stars are at 91 points. If the Blackhawks are unable to finish things out the right way, they could lose their spot in the playoffs.

Having won their last two games the Red Wings will come into the game with some momentum. If the Blackhawks lose this game, they have lost 2 in a row and they are in serious danger of slipping out of the playoff picture for now. Blackhawks to come out with an inspired effort look for them in this game.

Weekend Clash Between Colorado Avalanche And San Jose Sharks

February 17, 2011

This weekend in a game between two Western Conference teams, the San Jose Sharks will battle against the Colorado Avalanche. With a record of 31-21-6 on the season, the Sharks are the 7th best team in the league in terms of record this season. This season, the Avalanche are the 2nd worst team in the conference.

While Colorado is way back at 100-1, San Jose is at 16-1 in NHL betting lines Odds to win the Stanley Cup this season.

Despite the fact that they are near the cellar of the conference, interestingly enough, the Avalanche are not all that bad. On the season, they are actually just one game under .500 at 25-26-6. They have been outscored by their opponents by 24 goals this season while their record isn’t terrible.

Even though the Sharks are not very dominant in many aspects, they are a pretty solid team on all fronts. By limiting the Shark’s power play opportunities is the key to limiting the productivity of their offense. By converting 21.9 percent of the time, the 4th best average in the league, they are a very effective team on the power play.

As the Western Conference playoff picture is extremely crowded, the Sharks need to pull out wins against weaker teams like Colorado. Even though the Avalanche can definitely play the role of a spoiler this season, they may not be able to make a run for the playoffs with so many teams in contention.

Although the Avalanche are allowing 3.4 goals per game, they are excellent offensively. If the Sharks allow the Avalanche to set the pace of this game, this game could turn into a shootout.

Vancouver Canucks Will Clash With Calgary Flames This Weekend

February 9, 2011

This weekend the Vancouver Canucks will take on the Calgary Flames in Vancouver.  The Canucks have been the superior team even as both of these teams have had solid seasons to this point. With a 35-10-9 record this season the Canucks are atop the conference.

Closer to game time, at online sportsbooks, check out NHL Betting.

It seems the Canucks are solid in every aspect of the game. They allow just 2.3 goals per game on defense as averaging 3.4 goals a game they have the 2nd best offense in the NHL.  In the league, this is the 3rd best average. In terms of power play percentage and penalty kill percentage, they are also one of the best teams.

At Left Wing the Canucks are led by Daniel Sedin. He has been a key facilitator for the Canucks on offense as he has 69 points on the season.  In order to limit the impact that Sedin has on the game, the Flames will need to try to find a way. To stop up and make plays this will force another player.

Even though the Flames seem to find a way to win games they are pretty much a middle of the pack team in most statistical categories. For the Flames Jarome Iginla is the main offensive force. Having dished out the most assists of any player on his team, he is the leading scorer. To have a big game against the Canucks, the Flames will need him.

The Canucks are certainly favored in this game even as the Flames do have an opportunity.

Weekend Clash Between New Jersey Devils And Philadelphia Flyers

January 21, 2011

This weekend, to battle against the Flyers the New Jersey Devils will head to Philadelphia Flyers. As these two teams have had nearly opposite seasons, this should be a very lopsided game.

For this matchup NHL Odds have not yet been posted.

With a record of 30-11-5 on the season, the Flyers sit atop the Atlantic Division. They are atop the entire conference, having 65 points. This year the Devils have had a lot of struggles for now. Having 29 points overall, they are just 13-29-3 on the season.

On both sides of the game, the Flyers have been very good. By averaging 3.4 goals per game, they have the best offense in the NHL. Their center Danny Briere is leading their offense attack. On the season, Briere has 24 goals and 17 assists. In the NHL in terms of goals allowed per game at 2.6, they are also the 10th best team.

This season the Devils have not had nearly the offensive success of the Flyers. In the league they are the 30th best offense. They do not have a player on their team that has scored more than 13 goals this season as they have averaged just 2 goals a game.

Even though if Patrik Elias can orchestrate the offensive attack they will have a chance at breaking through the defense of the Flyers, the Devils will have a hard time in this game. Everything indicates that Flyers will win this game, what being said. If the New Jersey Devils are going to keep up, they will need a big breakout performance from one of their players.