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NHL Western Conference
Semi Finals Betting Preview
Predictions and Odds
The Western Conference semifinals are set in the NHL playoffs after the Phoenix Coyotes advanced past the Chicago Blackhawks with a 4-0 victory in Game 6 of their series at the United Center on Monday. The third-seeded Coyotes won an opening series in the postseason for the first time since the former Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix.
Goaltender Mike Smith was one of the best in the league during the regular season for the Coyotes and saved his best performance for last, blanking the sixth-seeded Blackhawks for the first time in the series and turning away 39 shots, including 16 in the first period. The previous five games in the series had all gone to overtime. Phoenix will now meet the fourth-seeded Nashville Predators, who eliminated the Detroit Red Wings in five games.
The other semifinal series in the West will pit the second-seeded St. Louis Blues against the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. The Blues knocked out the seventh-seeded San Jose Sharks in five games while the Kings stunned the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in five as well. St. Louis and LA feature the top two goalies from the regular season in terms of Goals Against Average, as Brian Elliott (1.56) of the Blues and Jonathan Quick (1.95) of the Kings ranked first and second, respectively, and combined for 19 shutouts. Elliott stopped 98 of 103 shots against the Sharks, and Quick gave up three more goals but was peppered 69 more times.
The Eastern Conference semifinal matchups are still to be determined after the top-seeded New York Rangers edged the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators 3-2 on the road Monday to extend their series to a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. The Philadelphia Flyers are the only team from the East to make it to the next round so far following a 5-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 on Sunday. Four of the six games went OVER the total as Philly averaged five goals per game, but the last two that went UNDER saw the line posted at 7.
The third-seeded Florida Panthers (+140) could end their series with the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils (-160) on Tuesday with a road win while the other remaining Eastern Conference series will go to a Game 7 on Wednesday when the second-seeded Boston Bruins (-200) host the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals (+170). The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins have lost two of their three home games in the series against the Capitals, as the road team is 4-2 in the first six games.
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