The NHL playoffs get underway on Wednesday. The unpredictability of the NHL postseason is quite predictable. Upsets are commonplace in playoff hockey, as fortuitous bounces and hot goalies can change the face of a seven game series quickly.
If you do believe that, ask the Los Angeles Kings whom two seasons ago walked in as the No. 8 seed in the West and waltzed away as the Stanley Cup Champions.
However, before you go laying large sums of money on the underdog, the favorites also come up big. The Chicago Blackhawks last season set records to open the regular season were No. 1 the entire regular season and eventually won the Stanley Cup.
However, according to data taken from Bovada, topbet, betonline and sportsbook.com the difference between the No. 1 seed and the No. 8 seed is blurred on the NHL when the playoffs arrive.
Atlantic Division Eastern Conference
Detroit Red Wings No. 4 vs. No. 1 Boston Bruins
Detroit won the season series 3-1-0. The Bruins might have the league’s best record, but at 1-3-0 against the Red Wings, things could turn dicey. Detroit has injuries to key players and Boston’s Tuukka Rask is considered the best goalie in the NHL.
Montreal Canadians vs. Tampa Lightning
Tampa Bay won the season series 2-1-1. The teams were very close all season finishing just one point apart at the end of the regular season. Three of four head-to-head games went to overtime.
The key is if Ben Bishop the Tampa Bay goalie can recover from an upper body injury and be competitive in net.
Metropolitan Division Eastern Conference
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh swept the season head-to-head series 5-0. In five games, the Penguins trailed less than one minute out of 300. Columbus battled hard down the stretch and anything can and sometimes does happen in the postseason.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers
The season series was tied 2-2. The team at home won each game. Philly has defeated New York in three straight at home, while the Rangers have won eight consecutive at home versus the Flyers.
Series: New York
Central Division Western Conference
Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche
Colorado won the season series 4-0-1. Odds makers are not confident with Colorado. They won the Central division but do not have the odds in a matchup of No. 2 vs. No. 7, even though they dominated the Wild this season.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues
St. Louis won the season series 3-2. St. Louis has a much better overall record than Chicago has, but has lost six straight entering this matchup. Chicago beat St. Louis twice in March.
Pacific Division Western Conference
Dallas Stars vs. Anaheim Ducks
The Stars won the season series 2-1. Dallas is a strong underdog and if they can steal home ice in game 1 or 2 could win the series.
Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles won the season series 3-1-1. The teams played last season during the postseason with Los Angeles winning in seven games. This will be a tight series from start to finish.
Series: Los Angeles