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Rangers Senators Betting - Rangers Begin Quest For The Cup Against Senators

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/10/2012 4:02:25 PM

The New York Rangers’ transformation from upstart to heavyweight in one year has attracted notice throughout the NHL. Now, the Broadway Blues need to deliver in the postseason.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (8) Ottawa Senators vs. (1) New York Rangers  
Sports betting line: N/A

Why Ottawa Will Win

When you place your sports bet on this NHL series, you need to chuck away the seedings that are attached to these teams' two names and focus on the fact that top seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs really haven't fared all that well over the past eight years. The last time the top seed in the East actually made the Stanley Cup finals was in 2004, when the Tampa Bay Lightning went on to claim Lord Stanley's big drinking bowl in a seven-game series triumph over the Calgary Flames. The last time the regular-season East champion even made the conference finals (the league semifinals) was in 2007, when Buffalo lost to Ottawa in five games. East champions simply don't do very well in the playoffs. Teams that spill the tank and excel in the regular season aren't happy to be in the playoffs – that's not quite the explanation.

The reason why top seeds are often vulnerable is simply that they put in so much more energy than lower seeds over the course of a long and meandering 82-game schedule. The lower seeds, by contrast, don't play at the same high level throughout the season but are sharpened by the fact that they had to win most of their last 10 to 15 games to even make the playoffs in the first place. That dynamic could very well emerge here.

Ottawa is likely to be in a good frame of mind, and if it can simply steal one of the first two games at Madison Square Garden in New York, this will cease to feel like a 1-versus-8 matchup. It will be a relatively even battle of two teams contesting a playoff series on very even terms. All the pressure is on the Rangers in this series, so the Senators have a very reasonable chance of using that fact to their advantage. If their penalty kill can hold up, they will feel very confident as this series continues.

Why New York Will Win

The course of this NHL season has been more consistent in the case of the Rangers, who fended off all challenges to gain home ice throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Coach John Tortorella has squeezed the most out of his team, and while this is not a dominant squad, it certainly boasts one of the biggest trump cards in the playoffs, star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. All along, Lundqvist simply needed a little help from his teammates, and this season, he's received exactly that. The Rangers are deeper and more balanced than they've been in the past. That should make them a favorite in this series.

Who Will Win?

Ottawa should give the Rangers a strong run; the online sports book line between a top seed and a lower seed seems to blur in the NHL playoffs, especially in the East. However, Lundqvist will stand tall between the pipes and lead New York to a narrow escape.

NHL Betting Pick: New York Rangers in 7 games

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