The 2015 NHL playoffs are finally upon us, as teams that made the playoffs begin their journey towards winning the Stanley Cup. Winning the Stanley Cup is one of, if not, the most difficult championship to win in all of professional sports. It is as grueling tournament where the team that wins it all certainly deserved it. One fluke play here or there like in the NFL isn’t going to win it all for you. There needs to be a consistent effort from start to finish. I like the NFL and college basketball because of the do or die mentality, and I like the NHL for the gauntlet style tournament. They both have their merits. The race to the playoffs was an exciting one, one that seen the LA Kings sitting outside and the Ottawa Senators thanks to a late season push are in. Our pick tonight features a newcomer to the dance who’ve been itching for the playoffs for years now, the New York Islanders. The Islanders willed their way to a 47-28-1 record. When a lot of people thought they were going to hit a wall, the Isles kept on moving forward right into the playoffs. They proved people wrong, and they have a chance at proving more people wrong with a strong showing in the playoffs. I likened the Islanders to the Avs of last season. The Avalanche were unable to get out of the 1st round, will the Isles be able to do that here?
They have a formidable opponent in front of them, the Washington Capitals. It looks like an even series on the surface, with the Caps being the beneficiaries of having home-ice in this series. I see this as a long drawn out series that could go 7 games so holding on to home-ice could prove to be big here. The Capitals got here with a little bit of that and a little bit of this. I can’t say they are a defensive team nor are they a true offensive team. However, the offense has been hitting their stride recently, which could bode well for the playoffs. They play a team that can be susceptible in the goals allowed department, so we’ll see how it plays out. I’ll say one thing, Alexander Ovechkin’s window to win a Stanley Cup is going to be closing soon. They have a team that could win it this season, in fact, for all of the teams featured in the playoffs, one can make a strong argument at them winning it. We’ll get our first look at the NHL playoffs tonight, and we’ll get our first taste of betting action on the playoffs. Let’s start
with the Islanders and Capitals.
N.Y. Islanders @ Washington Capitals
The Isles come in led by John Tavares, a player that has made a name for himself in the NHL. He finished with a cool 38 goals and 48 assists which puts him in the drivers seat for the Islanders in the playoffs. If he plays really well the Capitals are going to hell of a time trying to down the Isles in this series. Mind you, if Ovechkin is playing really well the Islanders are going to have a hell of a time trying to slow him down. Ovie finished with 53 goals and 28 assists to be only the fourth player in NHL history to have six seasons with more than 50 goals. He is accustomed to success in the regular season, but the playoffs is a different animal. I guess we’ll see if the story is different this time around.
The Capitals offense has been playing well lately, averaging 2.90 goals over their last ten games. So has the Isles offense, who averaged 3 goals per game in that same stretch. The Islanders offense is going to need to get going for them in this series. I think we are going to see a kind of Ovechkin that we haven’t seen in the playoffs before. The Capitals will be able to score on the Isles’ defense which has been their negative all season long. The Islanders are 4th in the NHL in scoring but are 23rd in goals against. The Capitals aren’t far behind the Isles offensively, as they are 6th in the NHL in scoring. Even though the total of 5 is juiced, you have to take a look at it. Two of the best offenses in the NHL going at it and I think we will be able to at least a couple goals from each time.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-130) 5DIMES – BEST ODDS