Updated 2017 Stanley Cup Odds & Pick – Final 4 EditionNoah Williams
Will Sidney Crosby and the explosive Pittsburgh Penguins dispatch the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference finals to move another step closer to winning consecutive Stanley Cup finals? Will the upstart Senators give the reigning champs more than they can handle en route to the series upset? Out west, who’s the right pick to win what looks like a knock-down, drag-out conference finals just waiting to happen between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators?
— NHL (@NHL) May 11, 2017
Updated 2017 Stanley Cup Odds & Pick
- Penguins +175
- Ducks +255
- Predators +325
- Senators +455
If you’re looking for some expert insight on just which teams will win their respective conference finals matchups, then look no further, I’ve got just the prescription. With the Western Conference finals set to get underway on Friday May 12 and the Eastern Conference final beginning one day later, let’s rock and roll.
NHL Playoff Eastern Conference Pick
Ottawa Senators +1500 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins +420
Ottawa (52-31-7-4) got past both, Boston and the New York Rangers in six games and has scored three goal or more in six of their eight postseason wins while limiting the opposition to two goals or less four times. The Senators, a +1500 pick to win the East before the playoffs started, finished the regular season ranked an un inspiring 22nd in scoring (2.5 gpg) but a solid 10th in goals allowed (2.6 gpg) an stupendous second in shutouts with 10.
Pittsburgh (58-24-7-5) got past Washington in seven exciting games in the conference semis after smacking Columbus senseless in their 4-1 series win in the first round. While the Penguins ranked a modest 17th in defense (2.8 gpg), Sidney Crosby and company also led all of hickey in scoring (3.4 gpg) while ranking first in shot attempts and third in power play success (23.1 %).
Pittsburgh, a +420 pick to win the east prior to the postseason, dropped two of three against Ottawa in the regular season, but that was then and this is now. Having said that, let me also say that there’s no way I’m picking against Crosby and the explosive Penguins after seeing them dispatch Washington (again) by shutting out the high-scoring Caps in their 2-0 Game 7 win on Wednesday night.
Ottawa is 6-14 in their last 20 meetings against the Penguins and that should tell you all you need to know about the Eastern Conference finals. Pittsburgh wins in six games at most.
Pick: Pittsburgh in 6
NHL Western Conference Pick
Anaheim Ducks +650 Vs Nashville Predators +1200
Nashville (49-31-8-4) dispatched St. Louis 4-2 in their conference semifinals matchup and hit the conference finals pretty hot by winning three of their final four games while allowing an identical one goal in each victory.
The Predators ranked 11th in coring during the regular season (2.9 gpg) and a modest 15th in defense (2.7 gpg), although they did finish fourth in shutouts with an impressive 21.
Nashville, a +1200 pick to win the west before the playoff began, also dispatched the Chicago Blackhawks in a stunning first round sweep by shutting out Chicago twice and never allowing the Blackhawks to score more than two goals.
Anaheim (54-26-10-3) got past Connor McDavid and the feisty Edmonton Oilers in a thrilling series by winning Game 7 2-1 on Wednesday night after sweeping Calgary in the first round. The Ducks bounced back from a 7-1 shellacking in Game 6 to get the series win at home.
Anaheim, a +650 pick to win the Western Conference before the playoff began, closed out the regular season ranked just 18th in coring (2.7 gpg) but the Ducks were phenomenal defensively in ranking third in goals allowed (2.4 gpg). Despite struggling to find the back of the net in the regular season, Anaheim has scored three goals or more in seven of their eight playoff victories this postseason while coring four goals or more four times. The Ducks took two of three against Nashville during the regular season, but the series is tied at 5-5 over the last 10 meetings overall.
For the Western Conference finals, I’m going to urge you to back Nashville Predators as a +325 underdog simply because of the way they smacked Chicago around in the first round and got past St. Louis by shutting down the Blues’ offense.
While the Predators struggled to core during the regular season, that’s clearly not the case right now and I believe they have just a good a chance of winning the conference finals despite not having home-ice advantage.
Pick: Nashville in 6
2017 Stanley Cup Analysis & Pick
While I’m enamored with the way Nashville has played this postseason, again, I just can’t bring myself to go against Sidney Crosby and the explosive Penguins after seeing how they shut down Alex Ovechkin and the high-scoring Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semis.
Not only are the Pens extremely difficult to stop offensively, but Pittsburgh has been playing phenomenal defense in closing the gap on opposing skaters while limiting their quality shot attempts by getting down in front of hot attempts well before they reach goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Nashville won’t go quietly into the night, but I do expect Pittsburgh to dispatch them in seven scintillating game to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship.
The Pick: Pittsburgh in 6