The intensity is turned up to eleven as the NHL playoffs get underway
In Canada and the hockey towns across North America, life is about to change (for a few weeks anyway).
Normally quiet bars are going to be packed to the rafters while a series of professional athletes will all grow crazy unkempt beards. Hold on to your hats… it’s playoff time. Let’s take a look at the contenders.
Pittsburgh easily won the Eastern Conference despite missing Sidney Crosby for large chunks of the season and trades for Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrow further qualifies their top billing of 7/2.
But do you want to take that price on a team that has to survive four potentially brutal best-of-seven series?
The powerful Bruins are the sort of team that could stop them and offer value at 8/1 while surprise package Montreal Canadiens (10/1) are never an easy prospect in front of a rabid Bell Centre crowd.
Over in the East, the Blackhawks (9/2) talented squad captured the President’s Trophy and their record on the road of 18-4-2 sets them in good stead.
First they need to get past Anaheim (10/1) who rebounded from a disappointing 2011/12 season in style and bitter rivals Vancouver who seem too inconsistent for a 12/1 price.
For punters seeking value then Detroit leap out. Despite scraping into the playoffs, the Red Wings are a racehorse bred for the playoffs and a price of 40/1 is mouth watering.
But in the cauldron like postseason atmosphere, skill only takes you so far. As the LA Kings showed last year, winning the Stanley Cup often comes down to a combination of goaltending and brute force so look no further than the New York Rangers.
John Torterella’s physical team grind out results and with Henrik Lundqvist in goal, there could be some wild facial hair (hockey players don’t shave during playoff runs) in the Madison Square Garden locker room when June comes around. Get on at 28/1 while you still can.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.