Power Plays by Kevin Stott | As we headed into the conference semifinals this weekend, there was a remote possibility that San Jose could push its series with Dallas to seven games. Well they did and didn’t.
The Sharks crammed Game 6 and 7 into Game 5 before losing in the fourth overtime period, 2-1. Brenden Morrow scored his second OT goal of the playoffs to give the Stars another stunning upset after having earlier eliminated defending Stanley Cup champ Anaheim.
Pittsburgh eliminated the New York Rangers in five games after Sunday’s 3-2 overtime victory. The East’s top-seeded team, the Montreal Canadiens, were bounced out in five tough games by the upstart Philadelphia Flyers.
Gm 1: Friday at Pittsburgh
Pens -170 vs Flyers (5˝)
Series price: Pitt -240
A Keystone State battle between the Penguins and Flyers will be a TV bonanza. The new-look Broad Street Bullies are one of the best feel-good stories in the NHL after going from the worst record in hockey last year to this possible East Finals showdown.
Philadelphia won the season series, 5-3 and outscored Pittsburgh, 28-23 in a matchup that averaged a robust 6.38 GPG in which only two games had six less or less goals. If these two meet, expect a lot of the same – scoring, scoring, scoring with guys like Briere, Malkin and Crosby on the ice. The total will likely be 5˝, so the feel is OVER in both Games 1 and 2 in The Igloo. Also, taking the FLYERS as a decent underdog in the first two games in a series their not scared of is recommended. Philly found a way to win in both Washington and Montreal in its first two series and will likely win at least one in the Steel City.
Gm 1: Thursday at Detroit
Red Wings -160 vs Stars (5)
Series price: Detroit -235
Maybe not the Double D’s you want but that you’ll get – Detroit and Dallas (if Stars here) deserve to be here after ousting the Predators-Avalanche and Stanley Cup champ Ducks-Sharks, respectively, in rounds one and two.
After benching Hasek for Osgood in the Nashville series, Detroit has played like the President’s Trophy winners with Johan Franzen doing his best Gordie Howe imitation. Toss Franzen in with scorers like Datsuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Lidstrom and Filppula and you have a very deep team that’s been clicking on all cylinders as of late. Anyone who watched the Wings’ 8-2 dismantling of the Avs in the series finale in Denver knows what’s up.
Detroit won the season series, 3-1 and outscored the Stars, 12-5. By allowing just five goals in four games against Dallas, the Wings have a psychological defensive edge despite the way Turco has played .
The Stars will not lay down and die for the Wings. After sweeping a beat-up Colorado team, the rest Detroit got between the end of that series and this one is invaluable. With scoring coming easily and Osgood pegged as the starter, the Wings couldn’t be in better shape. Take the RED WINGS in Games 1 and 2 and hedge those picks with the OVERS as the linesmaker has made the total 5.