2018 NHL Playoff Western Conference Second Round Betting Preview
NHL Western Conference Second Round Playoff Preview
Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators
Winnipeg Defeats Nashville In Six (+448)
Most Series Points
Blake Wheeler (+107) vs Filip Forsberg (+107)
Winnipeg and Nashville had soft matchups in the first round, although the Avalanche pounced on the Predators mental errors in game five to extend the series longer than necessary. The Winnipeg Jets took off on the Wild, clinching in five games. Minnesota’s injuries depleted their lineup, while Colorado was forced to use their third string goalie at the end. Neither Winnipeg nor Nashville needed to display their very best against injury-weakened opponents. Nashville earned the Presidents’ Trophy while Winnipeg was second overall, promising a titanic second round clash.
Fireworks were the norm whenever these Central Division rivals met, as the teams averaged 8.2 goals per game, scoring 41 goals in five matches. This belied the fact that the Predators and the Jets featured two of the best defenses in the league, especially Nashville, who allowed the second-least goals in the regular season. Winnipeg had better offensive numbers throughout the year, netting 273 goals for the second most in the NHL. Nashville won three of five head-to-head meetings this season, including a trio of regulation victories.
The Predators will be considered the favorite to win the second round, but this series could easily go either way, decided by a fortunate bounce or two. Nashville boasts superior defensive play and playoff experience, while the Jets will be the bigger, faster club with slightly better scoring depth. Pekka Rinne can’t lose the goaltending battle to Connor Hellebuyck, and vice versa. Winnipeg’s nearly unbeatable at home, which could be the deciding factor. A split in the first two home games would likely spell doom for the Predators.
San Jose Sharks vs Vegas Golden Knights
San Jose: +100
Las Vegas: -139
Vegas Defeats San Jose In Five (+498)
Most Series Points
Joe Pavelski (-105) vs William Karlsson (+120)
Both clubs enter the second round fresh off a sweep, only the eighth time two teams meet in a series after deploying the broom against previous opponents. Tough to say which sweep was more unexpected. Vegas crushed an experienced, playoff-grizzled Kings team with fantastic team defense, superb goaltending and timely scoring, while the Sharks devoured the Anaheim Ducks in every possible aspect. Anaheim powered into the playoffs while San Jose slumped to finish the regular season, making the Sharks success a bit more stunning. More surprises await this series.
Vegas won three of four matchups with their Pacific Division rivals this season, earning points in all meetings against the Sharks. On paper, the Sharks feature well-known performers like Brent Burns, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, which hints at a personnel advantage for San Jose. The Golden Knights top scorers, like William Karlsson and Jon Marchessault, don’t inspire the same confidence. Vegas will be the favorites to win this series because of superior team defense, balanced scoring, and the Stanley Cup experience of Marc-Andre Fleury.
San Jose deserves respect because of their fantastic first round performance, but the Vegas sweep against the Los Angeles Kings was more impressive. Anaheim mysteriously disappeared in the post season, while Los Angeles fought tooth and nail, requiring near-perfection from Vegas. The playoff version of the Golden Knights appear stronger than the regular season phenomenon, becoming an elite defensive club. San Jose will be shocked by the defensive cohesion of the Vegas Golden Knights, along with the elite coaching of Gerard Gallant, a lock for the 2018 Jack Adams.
Category : NHLMore articles...