It was expected at the beginning that these would be two tight conference finals, and that is clearly the case. It’s Friday, May 29th 2015 and we have the first of two game 7s. Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the New York Rangers.
Tomorrow, the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Anaheim Ducks. Then – the Stanley Cup will be set.
What a great and intense couple of games we have. We’ll get to our betting tips in a second, but it’s Friday so let’s first chat with Sports Interaction, and get their insights on the hockey world at the moment, as well as what they think should factor in.
BetNHL.ca: We’re down to 4 teams – very soon to be 2. Do you think these are the best teams the NHL has to offer?
Sports Interaction: It’s always a subjective question, but I think you can easily make a case that yup – these are the 4 best teams. Looking through the historical betting odds – during the regular season, both Ducks and Rangers switched spots as the Stanley Cup favourites and were almost always the top two. The Blackhawks were right behind them too. While the Lightning weren’t contenders in terms of the odds – they also had the top offense in the NHL as well as the best record at home.
BetNHL.ca: It’s winner take all. What should people betting on these games be considering, compared to all the other games?
Sports Interaction: You’ll find some people who say that betting playoff games doesn’t really change no matter what the round is – but it’s highly debatable and there’s a lot of factors you have to think about. Look at the Rangers vs Lightning – being in MSG is a big factor. Rangers have actually been the better team on the road than at home – but you have the MSG Pressure Cooker – can the youngsters on Tampa hold up under that pressure?
Then you have the West. The Blackhawks in Game 6 looked like a team that was going to advance. But you have to wonder if all those ovetimes, and all of the big minutes they are posting is going to catch up with them.
BetNHL.ca: What should people be looking at specificially in these games?
Sports Interaction: Teams have to be super careful. It’s all about that tiny margin of error – one shift too many, one wrong bounce and a teams season is over with. Based on that, looking at things like goaltending as well as fatigue is always smart in Game 7s.
Looking specifically – with the East, it’s really hard to put your faith in Bishop. Also the flu bug hitting Tampa at the moment – can really increase those lapses in judgement.
In the West – the Hawks defense is strained. Keith is hitting over 30 minutes a game, and although Keith and Seabrook are familiar with this – you do have to wonder if they can keep it up.
So far the early betting action is going the ways of the Rangers and Ducks. 59% of the bets we have taken in are on the New York Rangers, and 58% are on the Ducks.
BetNHL.ca: Thanks as always to Sports Interaction.
Scott: The Lightning will need a huge bounce back effort in this game. In the most important game for them all season, one where they could have sent the Rangers home and moved onto the finals, they got destroyed 7-3 including 5 in the third period.
The Rangers have got to be flying high after that game. The Rangers are 7-0 all time when playing a game 7 at home Lundqvist has won the last 6 game 7’s so he knows how to deal with this pressure.
This could go either way and luck is going to play a huge part. But after the last game, being in New York and the Rangers success in game 7’s I have to lean towards them to move onto the finals for the 2nd straight year.
Graeme: I backed Tampa in Game 6 purely because I believed if it went to game 7, Rangers would win. Rangers won Game 6, and my thoughts have not changed. Rangers convincingly enough that I’ll probably be betting them in regulation too. Either way – Rangers win.