The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are almost over. The Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, and Winnipeg Jets have all moved on to the second round. But there is still plenty of first round action to bet on. For today theres only two games. The Maple Leafs at the Canadiens, and the Predators at the Hurricanes. Toronto is leading their series 2-1, while the Canes/Preds series is tied at two a piece. Besides the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid getting swept in the first round, the fact that Nashville and Carolina are tied in this series has to be the most surprising thing to happen in the first round.
Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes
Like I said, the fact that this series is tied has to be the most surprising thing to happen in the first round. The Hurricanes were slam dunk favorites to win this series. Analytics said they had an 80% chance to win the series, and a 50/50 shot at sweeping. Now that it's tied at two a piece it's really anyones series to win. From watching the first four games it's become pretty apparent that whichever goaltender plays better that night will win. And right now Saros, the Nashville goalie, has been playing out of his mind. The guy has stood on his head multiple times to steal wins away from the Hurricanes. But tonights game is being played in Carolina and the Canes fans are insane. Their building gets absolutely rocking and it gives them a huge home ice advantage. But honestly I don't care about that. With the way Juuse Saros has been playing I'm taking the Predators tonight on the money line (+155). I still think Carolina wins the series, but not the game tonight.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens
Another series that is a lot closer than analytics would have had you believe. I guess it is true what they say, you can't play hockey on spreadsheets. Although, in reality we all should have seen this coming. It's Toronto in the first round after all. They haven't made it out of the first round of the playoffs in 16 years. The little kids that saw the Maple Leafs win a playoff series all those years ago are going to college now. If you're a Leafs fan under the age of 16 all you know is first round exits. The Leafs are leading the series as of now 2-1. But with the way Carey Price is playing it is anyones game. He has played at a championship level the last three games. The only problem is he can't get any scoring help. The Canadiens are putting up less than 2 goals a game in support. Really hard to win hockey games that way. Like damn near impossible. So that's why I'm taking the Leafs puck line tonight (+150). All the games have been extremely close. At least up until the Canadiens have had to pull their goalie. Look for the Leafs to win by two and take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Canadiens in 7 though....