Note: Guest NHL analyst Patrick Day is back for another round of analysis after watching the first games from each series. Read his prior reports with analysis of the Western Conference here and his analysis of the Eastern Conference here.
What a hockey treat! As we were doing our live "viewing party" show (which is on Pointspreads.ca), this game was entering the 4th period of overtime, eventually ending halfway THOUGH THE 5TH OVERTIME!! Both goalies put on a show, with Tampa taking it for an early 1-0 series lead.
Future Takeaways – Teams and goalies will be tight checking and low scoring the rest of this series. I like my prediction of Tampa 4-2. Look for more low-scoring games in this series.
Little bit of a shocker in this game 1. NYI could not stay out of the box, but they win this game 4-2. Washington looked strong on the power play but could not get it going even strength.
Future Takeaways – NYI played a physical game, playing with fire on the penalty kill. More disciplined play is the safe bet and they may be taking chances if they keep giving Washington more opportunities. Washington may have to take loosen their play. Look for the overs in these games.
Boston “steals” game 1. Carolina looked to be keeping in stride with a strong, older Boston team. Pastrnak looked like the 48-goal scorer he was this season. Mrazek, while talented, showed that he has a temper and could throw him off his game.
Future Takeaways -- I predicted an upset of Carolina in 7. It will be an up-hill battle for them the rest of the series. Look for changes in the odds, you may find value after next game.
The battle of the backups. Dallas chose to sit a “healthy” Ben Bishop. I did not get to see much of this game due to the Columbus/Tampa Bay game.
Future Takeaways -- I liked Dallas in 7…till I saw the Dallas backup in Khudobin. He is a quality backup and could hold his own in a 7-game series. I would avoid this series and take it day by day, maybe getting a value with the over/under or individual game parlay. Smart play might be the no play.
Aside from Lehner having some skate issues, Vegas looked in control, winning 4-1. Not much action to report, aside from Chicago looking a bit lost.
Future Takeaways -- Vegas in 5. I see Vegas taking game 2, and Chicago making a small comeback in game 3, then Vegas taking games 4 and 5. These games are a learning experience for Chicago and a warm-up for Vegas.
Colorado and Arizona were scoreless for two periods, suggesting that high leverage 3rd period. Colorado ended up getting 3 goals in 2 minutes while outshooting Arizona 40-14. Tough loss for Arizona, but a telling victory for Colorado.
Future Takeaways -- I said that Arizona would threaten Colorado, keeping up with them shot for shot, goal for goal. Darcy Kuemper held his own, earning the 2nd star of the game. Colorado in 5 might be future play, along with low scoring games.
So far, the goal battle is living up to the mantle. Carey Price versus Carter Hart. Price has made awesome saves and keeping Montreal in the game. Philadelphia did just enough to win.
Future Takeaways -- Look for low scoring games and Philadelphia maybe dropping one game. Carey Price has the talent to steal a game. Be wary of game 3, Montreal gets the last change and could take advantage, winning in late or in OT.
Vancouver played a complete game. Markstrom made key saves and captain Bo Horvat sealed a game 1 victory. St. Louis looked a little shaky and off, and young Vancouver team played hungry. Vancouver took the punches, looked like the Minnesota series was not a fluke.
Future Takeaways – I made it a point for Vancouver needing to win game 1. It will put a lot of pressure on St. Louis. Do not sleep on St. Louis. They thrived last year on pressure. Look for a bounce back from them in game 2, a series favorite may get some betting value. Also, St. Louis had success and wins after playoff losses last year, look for that pattern this year.
Due to the two locations, and the number of games with the possibilities of longer game (as Columbus/Tampa Bay did), and the preparations for the rinks decontamination process; the NHL may be forced to postpone games to the follow day.
Important! Stay up-to-date on these changes and note which teams may have to play back-to-back days. Having two playoff games in two days will cause shifts in odds. Take advantages of these plays!
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Headline Photo Credit: (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)