Stanley Cup Finals

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The NHL 2008 Stanley Cup finals get underway on Saturday night with the favored Detroit Red Wings taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. There will be plenty of ways to bet on the finals as their will be odds posted on everything from the Conn Smythe trophy to individual Games and series prices.

While many are lamenting the fact there is a five day layoff between the last Conference final Game and the start of the Stanley Cup Finals, at least both the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins will be well rested going into Game 1 on Saturday in Detroit. is listing Detroit as the favorite in the series opener on the Puck and Money (-165) lines with the Total at 5.5.

At –165, the Wings are favored to win the series and hoist the Stanley Cup. .

This final will be different than the last few in that there won’t be a Canadian team and there won’t be a team from the United States’ Sun Belt.

But it won’t matter; as puck fans are eagerly anticipating this matchup.

Much of the intrigue and excitement revolves around the number of star players both teams have; each of whom could take home Conn Smythe trophy, which is awarded to the MVP of the NHL playoffs.

The goaltenders are often players that grab headlines this time of the year and these playoffs have been no different.

The Wings went with Dominik Hasek the first few Games of the playoffs and fell behind to Nashville before switching to Chris Osgood.

Osgood has gone 10-2 since getting the tap on the shoulder and has allowed an average of 1.60 goals a Game (tops amongst playoff goalies); Conn Smythe material for sure and good enough for +250 odds

As funny as it seems now, there were some who wanted Ty Conklin to take over as the No. 1 netminder on the Penguins’ roster last winter. Good thing it didn’t happen otherwise Marc-Andre Fleury wouldn’t have had a chance to strut his stuff.

During the postseason, Fleury has gone 12-2 while stopping 364 shots and allowing a second best 1.70 GAA and earning a playoff high .938 save percentage. The Pens goalie is at +600 to win the MVP.

The Wings are favored, but this Pittsburgh team has a great chance at upsetting the Western Conference rep (the Pens are a +135 underdog) due in large part to the 1-2 punch of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

While Crosby is the Pens’ undisputed leader and is tied for a playoff high 21 points (4 goals, 17 assists), Malkin is close behind with 9 goals and 10 assists for 19 points.

Both are listed as odds-on favorites at +300 each to be named this year’s Conn Smythe trophy winner.

People like to say defense wins Games and that might be the case with Detroit defenseman Niklas Lidstrom.

The Wings’ team captain isn’t near the top of the playoff scoring list but has chipped in 2 goals and 8 assists for 10 points, a goal and six assists of which came on the power play.

Lidstrom has also been a workhorse in his own end as witnessed by his +/- rating of +9. has Lidstrom listed at +500.

Relax hockey fans, Saturday will be here before you know it and with it the start of one of the most anticipated Stanley Cup Finals in recent memory. Enjoy the hockey.



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