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Parity Will Lead To Even More Excitement In Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/30/2013 7:40:19 PM

Eight points separated second from eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings during the regular season, and according to the sports betting experts, it could have been even closer. The parity in this lockout-shortened season has made it that much more exciting to watch, and has set the tone for what should be an intriguing battle in the opening playoff round, including two key match ups where anything can happen.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal – Best of 7
(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (7) Ottawa Senators

The Canadiens moved in to position to clinch their second Northeast division title in six years with a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in their final regular season game, but it wasn’t official until the Boston Bruins lost to the Senators the following day. Those two results completely changed the projected match ups for the opening round, setting up a Northeast division showdown that few expected. Montreal will open its series with Ottawa holding home ice advantage, but the pressure will be on them to take care of business on home ice before the series shifts to the nation’s capital for games three and four.

These teams split the season series with each team winning twice, but it is expected to be a lot tighter of an online betting battle in the postseason. The Canadiens will need Carey Price to play like the Vezina trophy-winning goalie he can be in order to give them a shot against Craig Anderson and the Senators, after Ottawa’s No. 1 net minder led the league with a 1.69 goals against average and a .941 save percentage. Price has shown he can handle the pressure on several big stages before, and the Senators will have a hard time keeping up with the quicker and more skilled Canadiens.

NHL Betting Pick: Canadiens in Six

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal – Best of 7
(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) New York Rangers

It wouldn’t be the playoffs if the Capitals and Rangers weren’t schedule to meet, and it will be interesting to see what these teams can do for an encore after New York took last year’s opening round series in seven. That series win injected some energy and confidence in to a Rangers’ team that went all the way to the Eastern Conference Final before losing to the New Jersey Devils, but this time around it is the Southeast division-winning Capitals that own the higher seed and home ice advantage if it comes down to a seventh game again.

No team was hotter down the final stretch than Washington, which was led by the NHL 1st Star of the Month in Alex Ovechkin, who scored 14 goals in his final 13 games to lead the league with 32. The Rangers managed to turn things around following the acquisition of some toughness to their lineup with Ryan Clowe at the trade deadline, but the Capitals can score in bunches and that could be tough to New York to handle even with Henrik Lundqvist holding down the fort in goal. This series has all of the makings of another online sportsbook classic, only this time it will be Washington winning at home in game seven.

NHL Betting Pick: Capitals in Seven

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