Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Final Picks

Picks, preview, and odds analysis for the Eastern Conference Final

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(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Talk bout a tale of two series. Last night we so an amazingly fun and entertaining wild Game 1 between Colorado and Edmonton where defense was clearly optional in an 8-6 Colorado win. Wayne Gretzky talked about it on the broadcast, and as fun as last night was those efforts on “defense” won’t cut it. Colorado can be a lot better and more responsible defensively, and I think they will going forward.

Tonight’s series should be the opposite of last night. Two elite goaltenders, arguably the two best in the NHL go at it. Both teams were fantastic defensively in Round 2 with the Rangers allowing under 2 goals in 7 games vs Carolina and Tampa allowing under a goal per game vs Florida in their sweep. Both teams are of course capable of scoring in bunches as we’ve seen, but it seems like defense and goaltending prevails throughout the Eastern Conference Final, which should be a nice balance from what we’ll see out West. If you haven’t yet, sign up with FanDuel HERE to get a risk free but up to $1,000 on your first wager.

Series: Lightning -1.5 (+105) & Lightning Exact Score 4-2 (+360)

I was wrong about the Hurricanes in Round 2, but I don’t necessarily think I was wrong about the Rangers. The Canes were a flawed team that couldn’t figure out how to win on the road and were playing with a backup goalie (even if he played very well at times). The Lightning are not that. They’ve played a TON of hockey over the last 2+ seasons, but it doesn’t really seem to matter. They know how to win on the road, they can win shootouts or low scoring games. They swept the Panthers without Brayden Point. The Rangers are a very young and talented team going up against a really good veteran team that’s been here before. The Rangers will have their moments in this series, and Shesterkin probably wins them a game at some point, but this series feels like a learning experience for them.

*Odds via Caesars & FanDuel

Game 1: No Goals Scored in First 10 Minutes (-112)

While last night’s Game 1 was a track meet from puck drop, I kind of expect this one to be a feeling out process early. These teams met 3 times in the regular season, but it’s been 2.5 months since their last matchup. With the Rangers at home, I think they’ll come out with some jump while Tampa will try and slow things down early and play the puck possession game to survive that initial wave. I think both goalies will be good early on and Tampa will slow things down enough to limit chances.

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