Puck Playoffs by Kevin Stott for Friday, April 18, 2008

April 18, 2008 7:32 PM
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by Kevin Stott | New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils (-115, 5o -150): The Blueshirts have gotten all the bounces in the series this year (10-2 vs. NJD) so why try and change the horse’s direction at this point? NY gets goals from so many players – Avery, Drury, Shanahan, Jagr, Gomez, Straka, Staal – while the Devils seem to only get them from Parise and Elias. With the Rangers only a game away from the East semis and Lundqvist matching Brodeur in goal, let’s bet NY as a small underdog (+105) and hedge it with the OVER as the first four skates have averaged 5.75 GPG (3-1 OVERS). The linesmaker moved this total up from 4˝ to 5u, -150, so let’s grab the +130 on the OVER and hope for a 2-2 score at some point knowing that this New Jersey team is very nervous knowing its possibly down to its last cigarette. RANGERS +105, OVER 5 +130.

Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings (-270, 5o) (Versus TV): Look who’s freezing up in the playoffs again … After having the NHL’s best record wire-to-wire, the Red Wings suddenly find themselves tied (2-2) with a game Nashville squad who’s certainly not intimidated by Detroit who may be hurting themselves a bit with the Osgood-Hasek goalie platoon. In Music City, the Predators swept the Wings, but, maybe more importantly, gained a great deal of confidence in the process. Can a road team win in this series? I think so. Can a No. 8 seed ouist a No. 1 seed? Definitely. What to do? Hedge the big dog as a hunch with the over in separate, equal bets. This series is also averaging 5.75 GPG (23 goals) through the first four games. PREDS +250, OVER 5.

Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks (-130, 5) (Versus TV): This Western Conference semi series is going, going,going back to Cali with the Stanley Cup champs needing a win again. After losing the first two in Anaheim, expect the Ducks to be way more focused from the drop of the first puck in this pivotal Game 5. While Giguere and Turco are a push in the nets, the little things should go the Ducks way and hopefully C Rob Niedermeyer will have recovered enough from his concussion (check status) to be a big force in the middle of the rink as he was last playoffs. In short, the Ducks, though not "Mighty" this season, should be a bit more Ducky than they were in Games 1 and 2 (outscored 9-2) at their home Honda Center. DUCKS -130.

Internet Record Week (M-Thu): 7-3 (70%)

Opening odds courtesy Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook