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2009 NHL Playoff Preview
16 teams in the NHL will be on a quest but there wonít be John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones gallivanting around knocking coconut shells together, mimicking the sound of horse hooves.
No, this quest will be less humorous and a lot more physical.
The puck drops on the NHLís postseason on Wednesday and as it stands, the balance of power lies in the West with the defending champion Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks listed at SPORTSBETTING.com as the odds-on favorites to take the Stanley Cup at +300, Boston has the best odds of the Eastern teams at +500.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
A threat to repeat as champs, the Detroit Red Wings had a successful season accumulating 51 wins, 21 losses and 10 OT losses for 112 points but thanks to some shoddy goaltending went 3-7 in their final 10 regular season games and teams with weak netminding rarely go far.
Chris Osgood, who finished the season with a 3.09 GAA and a .887 save percentage, is expected to start for Detroit.
In stark contrast, the Wings will be up against a good, albeit young, goalie Steve Mason (33-20-7, 2.29 GAA, .916 save percentage and 10 shutouts) and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who finished the regular season with a 41-31-10 record for 92 pointsóthe Jackets are +5000 to win it all this year.
In terms of Series Prices, Detroit is a prohibitive fave to win the Best-of-Seven series at -450 and while Columbus is a +350 underdog.
Dating back to 2006, the Red Wings have the advantage against the Blue Jackets winning 12 of 20 games and in those 20, the Under has prevailed 14 times.
While Osgood has had a season to forget, he is tried and tested in the postseason and Mason struggled in the waning days of the regular season going 3-5 in his final eight games.
In Exact Games prop betting, the Red Wings in five games is the option that has the highest odds at +150 while a four-game sweep by Columbus pays out at +5000.
San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks
The San Jose Sharks had the best record during the NHLís regular season and was awarded the Presidentís Trophy as a result; their reward, a date with the Anaheim Ducks.
San Jose is favored to take the series at -275 while Anaheim is +235.
While Anaheim has the edge in the last 20 meetings between the two (11-9), San Jose has the edge in the season series with a record of 4-2.
In the last 14 games against Anaheim, San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov has an Over/Under record of 2-10-2.
As mentioned, the Sharks were the best team in the regular season but has the Presidentís Trophy winning team carried the regular season magic into the postseason? Again San Jose is the odds-on at +300 to win it all.
Since the league began awarding the Presidentís Trophy back in 1986 only seven teams have gone on to win the Stanley Cup as well. Will the Sharks make it eight?
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
In terms of great rivalries, the Boston Red Sox have the New York Yankees and the Boston Bruins have the Montreal Canadiens.
Boston is the odds-on from the Eastern Conference to win the championship at +500 but bookies donít like Montrealís chances quite as much, listing them at +4000 to take it all this year.
The Bís are strong -310 faves to defeat the Habs, who are listed at +255.
Between November of 2007 and April of last year, the Bruins lost nine straight games to the Canadiens but have since gone 8-3 and are amidst a five-game winning streak against Montreal.
Montreal netminder Carey Price is 3-7 in his last 10 games against Boston while his counterpart Tim Thomas is 7-3 in his last 10 against Montreal.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
It looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins wouldnít even make the postseason earlier in the year but a coaching change breathed new life into the team and now the Pens have the opportunity to do what they couldnít last year, win the Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh is listed at +1000 to sip from the Cup and its first-round opponent; the Philadelphia Flyers are listed at +2500.
While the Pens are favored at -160 to win the Battle of Pennsylvania and Philly is a +145 underdog, Pittsburgh did go 4-2 against its intrastate rivals this season but is only 2-12 against the Flyers during the month of April dating back to 1997.
People say that the Stanley Cup is among the most difficult championships to win and the fun is just about to begin.
You can check out all the lines at SPORTSBETTING.com
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