How about the Los Angeles Kings? With a 0-2 hole and the abysmal 0-3 deficit staring at them, the Kings played their hearts out to claim a thrilling OT winner over the Sharks in Game 3, halving the series deficit. Are we on for another run like the one we had two years ago when the Kings overturned a 3-0 series lead by the Sharks, winning four straight games to claim the series en route to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons? Only time will tell… What is sure, though, is that the Round 1 Western Conference NHL playoffs are far from decided. But worry not because we have all the Round 1 pro hockey playoffs betting lines predictions prepared for you below.
2016 NHL Western Conference Round 1 Playoffs Betting Predictions
— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) April 19, 2016
No. 1 Dallas Stars Defeat No. 4 Minnesota Wild in Six Games
Entering the playoffs, the Wild had lost five consecutive games while the Stars had won eight of their last 10, making the top-seeded Dallas the favorite pick to cruise in this series. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Stars are shining with a 2-1 lead in this series, using their high-scoring offense and loaded power play to feast on Minnesota’s disarrayed penalty kill. Minnesota may win one more game, but in the end, Dallas should come out on top without any difficulties.
No. 1 Anaheim Ducks Defeat No. 4 Nashville Predators in Five games
Forget about the Zig Zag betting theory in the NHL playoffs, the Ducks are not biting any of that! Two games into their series, the Ducks own a 2-0 lead, with both wins coming by replica 3-2 wins. The shutdown defense implemented by head coach Bruce Boudreau mid this season hasn’t been on showcase so far, but goaltenders John Gibson and Frederik Andersen are true talents, giving the defense some much-needed cushion in front of the net. Meanwhile, a fine blend of great puck possession and elite opportunistic scorers has seen them get goals when they need them most. Against the Predators who are over-reliant on their star goalie Pekka Rinne, the Ducks should be able to get the job done sooner rather than later.
No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks Defeat No. 2 St. Louis Blues in Six games
The Blues are holding their own quite well so far in the playoffs with a 2-1 lead over the trendy Blackhawks, and if they can continue to show grit in this series, Chicago could be on its way home due to an early elimination. Stellar defense has played a big part for the Blues who’ve managed to tone down the potency of Art Ross Trophy winner, Patrick Kane, and the high-powered Chicago offense. The problem, however, is that Chicago is experienced to overcome any type of hole and the depth of Chicago—the reigning Stanley Cup Champions—is vast, so it would be a big ask to trust the lesser-experienced St. Louis to see out this series.
No. 3 San Jose Sharks Defat No. 2 Los Angeles Kings in Seven Games
For all of the Kings’ championship experience, it’s the Sharks who’ve looked fiercer and readier to challenge for this year’s national title. Using their conference-best 28-10-3 road record, the Sharks snatched two road games from the home-favored Kings in the first two games, and nearly took a third win in Game 3. But now, Los Angeles is back. It’s however too early to start dreaming of another Sharks’ meltdown like in Round 1 of the 2014 playoffs because of two reasons. One; the Kings have struggled to breach the Sharks’ solid defensive play that has limited Los Angeles to just two goals (both coming in Game 3) with the first two games ending in shutouts. Secondly, San Jose’s Joe Pavelski’s has been solid in terms of getting key goals for his team. So, although the motivation of winning Game 3 will psyche up the Kings for a strong showing down the stretch of this series, I’ll take the safe bet of riding with the Sharks, mostly because I believe the San Jose won’t be shooting itself in the foot this time around.