Power Plays by Kevin Stott | How important is the first goal in hockey in the postseason? Just ask the Red Wings and Penguins.
Or ask Jay Kornegay and his crack staff at Hilton’s SuperBook who created a proposition bet on "Will the Team That Scores First Win The Game?" for Game 3 of these Stanley Cup Finals with the "Yes" priced at -300 and the "No" yielding a payback of +250. The Penguins ended up scoring first, and did win (3-2), rewarding those estute "Yes" bettors. In fact, the team that scored first in the first three games was victorious.
That changed in Game 4 when Pittsburgh scored the first goal, only to have Detroit come up with a pair in an exciting 2-1 victory that sets up the chance for the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup at home ahead in the series 3-1.
For the Stanley Cup Finals, we suggested taking the home team in Games 1-4 and under 5 in Game 5 at Detroit.
If this series does go to a Game 6, and possibly a Game 7, let’s give the readers something to work with just in case:
Wednesday, June 4
Red Wings at Penguins (G6) (NBC): Should this game be played, I have to stick with the home team which had won an amazing 17 straight at The Igloo, including a 9-0 mark in the postseason heading into Game 4.
If Pittsburgh played well enough to force this game, they will want to either win it all at home or force a Game 7. PENGUINS.
Saturday, June 7
Penguins at Red Wings (G7) (NBC): Boy would NBC love it if this game were to transpire. The best two teams battling it out for all the marbles in prime time on a Saturday night! My feeling through all this is the Wings are simply a little better, more experienced and want it just a tad more than the youthful Penguins. RED WINGS.
A passing thought on watching hockey on TV – in which the Finals saw a 87 percent viewership jump from 2007 (Who would you rather watch, the Senators-Ducks or the Wings-Penguins?) – and its’ interest from my foray around town last week with my friend Eric, where at the Bellagio on Wednesday spectators in the Sports Book cheered as if it were the end of the world for every Pistons or Celtics basket, but when Sidney Crosby lit the lamp for Pittsburgh to open up the scoring, a mere murmur rippled through the packed room.
So a meaningless basket in the second quarter in the NBA Playoffs is more exciting than a possible series changing goal in the playoffs? Whatever.
It’s been a great year, and damn, did we learn a lot. So we say goodbye until October when the NHL opens up with a European doubleheader in Prague (Rangers-Lightning, Oct. 4) and Stockholm (Sens-Pens, Oct. 5). Boss David Stratton said wisely in our weekly meeting this morning, "The ice melts in the summer."