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Home Ice Not a Factor in NHL Playoffs
The Los Angeles Kings improved to 5-0 on the road in the NHL playoffs Monday with a 5-2 win against the St. Louis Blues that put them up 2-0 in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series. The eighth-seeded Kings took a 4-0 lead after the first period against the best goalie during the regular season and showed how a fast start can silence the road fans in the postseason.
Surprisingly, LA has scored the first goal in just two of its five road wins in the playoffs, but nobody has been better in net so far than goalie Jonathan Quick. Brian Elliott led the NHL in Goals Against Average at 1.56 and Save Percentage at .940 during the regular season for the second-seeded Blues while Quick ranked second in GAA at 1.95 but was first in shutouts with 10. In a series that was supposed to be low-scoring, the Kings have found a way to get the puck by Elliott with eight goals in the first two games as they head home to Staples Center for Game 3 on Thursday.
However, Los Angeles is not the only NHL team that has found a way to win away from home. The seventh-seeded Washington Capitals evened their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the top-seeded New York Rangers at 1-1 with a 3-2 victory on Monday. Like the Kings, the Capitals got off to a good start in the first period by scoring the first two goals before Alex Ovechkin tallied the game-winner on a power-play goal with 7:27 left in the third. Washington has also proven its worth on the road in the postseason, ousting the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the last round to complete a string of three consecutive wins by the away team in that series.
On Tuesday, the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils will look to tie up their series with the fifth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers. Both the Devils and the Flyers advanced to the East semifinals despite being the lower seed in the previous round. New Jersey also won Game 7 away from home against the third-seeded Florida Panthers in the opening round while the Flyers won two of three at Pittsburgh to knock out the fourth-seeded Penguins. The home team has won the last three meetings in this matchup between New Jersey and Philly after the road team captured each of the first four games in the series during the regular season.
The Flyers are favored to take game 2 tonight with an average price of -155 at most sportsbooks. The total is 5.5 under -135. The new series price is currently Philly -310 and the Devils +255.
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