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Devils Panthers Betting Pick - Devils And Panthers Clash In Another First Round Game 7

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/25/2012 4:42:42 PM

The 2012 NHL Playoffs have been extremely competitive in the Eastern Conference, so it's quite fitting that a Game 7 will close out the first round schedule when New Jersey visits Florida.

Game 7 – New Jersey Devils @ Florida Panthers – Thursday, April 26  
Sports betting line: N/A

Why New Jersey Will Win

When you place your sports bet on an NHL playoff series, the team with experience has to be given an extra measure of consideration. The current incarnation of the New Jersey Devils is not as accomplished or as formidable as previous versions of the Devils have been, but it is still graced with a number of guys who have been through the battles before. Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Petr Sykora, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and Bryce Salvador have at least several years of playoff experience if not more. They've been through the playoff grind and can offer more savvy than most of Florida's lineup.

The Devils have played an uneven brand of hockey in this series; they've struggled to hold onto leads (Game 3, Game 6) but have battled back from deficits (Game 2) to be competitive. In one game, though, a team that survived a second-period meltdown in Game 6 should feel very confident in its abilities. New Jersey is widely seen as the better team in this matchup. The Devils attained more points than Florida did in the regular season; the Panthers gained the higher seed only because they were a division champion.
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur has not been at his best in this series, but he's so accustomed to the Game 7 spotlight that he should be trusted more than Florida's netminder, be it Scott Clemmensen or Jose Theodore. This is not a lock, by any means, but New Jersey has more factors trending in its favor than Florida does.

Why Florida Will Win

The online betting analysts who are studying this contest will calmly point out that New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur has been very shaky in this series. Brodeur is one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, crafting a career resume that few other goalies could ever hope to match. However, all athletes eventually succumb to old age. Their skills don't remain on the mountaintop forever. Some athletes choose to retire before their talents and abilities deteriorate, but that's merely an acknowledgment that diminishing returns are around the corner. Brodeur is already showing that he's on the decline. He lost a 3-0 lead in Game 3, and even though New Jersey won Game 6, Brodeur barely fought off a number of relatively easy shots. His reaction to a rebound he allowed in that contest was noticeably slow and deficient. Florida should be able to take advantage of Brodeur in net on Thursday. The game is in Miami, and the Panthers should be able to gain leverage against the Devils as long as they can crash the net and establish a modest amount of puck control.

Who Will Win?

While Brodeur is not on top of his game, New Jersey – as a team – should be more confident than Florida. The Devils will win this game as long as Brodeur doesn't allow a soft goal.

NHL Betting Pick: New Jersey

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