With the first two weeks of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs almost out, only two pairings remain on the ballot. One matchup in the Eastern Conference and one in the Western have left Hockey fans on the edges of their seats, as these pairings are between teams where nothing has gone as expected.
In the Eastern Conference, The Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Boston Bruins have already sealed their spot in the conference Semi-finals. The Washington Capitals, 2010 Presidents’ Trophy winners, have reached a 3-3 series tie with the Montreal Canadiens.
The Capitals entered the Stanley Cup playoffs as a heavy favorite to win the Stanley Cup, sporting +250 odds in the future wagers, which is a heavy slant from the Canadiens’ +5000. The Capitals have thus far lost all but one home game and beaten the Canadiens on their own rink twice.
In the most recent game between the two juggernauts, the Canadiens’ Jaroslav Halak managed to stop 53 of 54 shots sent his direction in two games. Halak managed to shut down the Capitals’ offense until the third period, where Eric Fehr managed to push one by the defensive giant.
Alexander Ovechkin failed to put another point on his record during the contest.
In the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Vancouver Canucks have all taken their place in the Semi-finals bracket. The Blackhawks and the Canucks will square off against one another, while the Sharks will face either the Phoenix Coyotes or the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings and the Coyotes have been back and forth, with only the wings managing to take two victories in a row. The 3-3 match up will end on April 27th in the Jobing.com Arena, the home ice of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Current odds through some online sportsbooks have both listed under 1/1, though Bodog, one of the best online sportsbooks, has the Coyotes at even money. The Wings are a slight favorite over the Coyotes, listed at 5/6 and 1/1 respectively.
The Coyotes have been a devastating force in the NHL this season, making their first playoffs since the 2001-2002 season. They also managed to surpass 100 points for the first time in the franchise’s tumultuous history. Clearly, the Coyotes have more to prove than the 11 time Stanley Cup winning Detroit Red Wings.
The previous game between the two clubs ended on a downer for the Red Wings. Losing a 5-2 defeat is bound to hurt the morale of any teams, though the Red Wings, forwarded by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, are looking to clinch the semi-finals.
In the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Red Wings almost fell to the 8th seeded Anaheim Ducks, proving that, while they may be down, they are not necessarily down for the count.
Futures on who will win the Stanley Cup are still up through Bodog.