Dogs Hold Value For NHL Game 2s
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 05/19/2009
Both opening games in the NHL conference finals went according to plan with the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins defending their respective home ices and taking an early 1-0 series lead.
All four teams may be thinking the same thing right at this point: "we have them right where we want them."
The Carolina Hurricanes have now dropped their third consecutive Game 1. Of course, it has not stopped the 2006 Stanley Cup champions from advancing to the Eastern Finals. In these playoffs Carolina has bounced back twice in Game 2s, at New Jersey and at Boston, to win both games as underdogs. After a loss the Hurricanes are 4-1 in this postseason so do not expect a 1-0 series deficit to strike panic in any of the players. At +170 on Thursday night the Cardiac Canes, as they are being called, pack plenty of value.
The Pittsburgh Penguins did what was expected at Mellon Arena on Monday night. While the Pens struggled mightily at home later in series, they have been able to take care of business in the first two home games. They won the first two in Pittsburgh against the Flyers but lost Game Five, a potential series clincher, at home. In the second round Pittsburgh won the first two against Washington at home but lost Game 6, another home ice potential clincher. The Penguins are pegged as -200 money line favorites once again in Game 2 but they have been anything but dominant at home. They are 5-2 at home after Game 1 but three of the wins were decided by one goal and two went into overtime.
Over in the Western Conference the Chicago Blackhawks dropped another early road game. They lost their first two games at Calgary, their first game at Vancouver and now their first game at Detroit on Sunday. In the last two Blackhawk series they have managed to rebound not only back at the United Center but also on the road. Chicago clinched the series at Calgary in Game 6 in the first round and changed the course of its second-round series at Vancouver in a Game 5. Do not expect the youthful Blackhawks to panic down 1-0 on the road against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They enter Game 2 as equal underdogs to the Hurricanes, with a +170 money line.
Looking at the veteran Red Wings, they have dominated play for the most part at home with a 6-1 playoff record at Joe Louis Arena. The one hiccup, however, was a Game 2 loss at home against Anaheim when the Red Wings were a big favorite as they are against Chicago. Chris Osgood allowed four goals in that triple overtime loss to Anaheim. The last thing the Wings want to do is head back to a raucous United Center having lost home ice advantage by splitting with the Black Hawks. However, Detroit is an awfully tough spot here against a Blackhawk team has shown its resilience on the road after Game 1.
Game 1 has proven not exactly to be a telling tale of what is to come in the series. Teams that have won Game 1 have only gone on to win seven of the 12 series.
For a Stanley Cup playoffs that have not gone according to script at all, expect to see at least one upset in a Game 2 with the Blackhawks and Hurricanes both holding promising value at +170.