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Capitals Bruins Betting - Defending Stanley Cup Champions Begin Quest To Repeat

Posted by Don Melrose on 6/5/2014 4:26:46 AM

The Boston Bruins were the No. 3 seed in the NHL's Eastern Conference when they won the Stanley Cup last season. Now, they'll try to repeat as the No. 2 seed in the East.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (7) Washington Capitals vs. (2) Boston Bruins  

Online Betting line: N/A

Why Washington Will Win

When you place your sports betting wager on an NHL playoff series, especially in the very first round, the seedings are hardly a guarantee of performance. The last few years in the East, the Washington Capitals learned this lesson all too well, losing Game 7s at home and failing to back up a top seed with a deep playoff run (to the conference finals or better). The Capitals did a lot of good work during the regular season but then collapsed under the weight of postseason expectations. Washington felt smaller and less liberated in the face of pressure, succumbing to opponents who took the opposite path over the course of a long NHL campaign: underperform in the regular season but then turn on the jets in the playoffs.

Now, Washington is in the role of the underdog. Very few hockey pundits expect the Capitals to knock off the defending Stanley Cup champions. Not many commentators believe that the Capitals' stars such as Alexander Ovechkin or Alexander Semin will be able to bust loose and excel. However, having no pressure could be just the thing to unleash the Capitals' best hockey. Moreover, center Nicklas Backstrom is back after being sidelined for three months. Backstrom's addition could add a lot of scoring punch to the lineup. If Backstrom is able to regain his form – he's had four regular-season games in which to shake off the rust – this could be a transformed team that could experience a feel-good ride to the second round. Living on the other side of the tracks might be a blessed tonic for a team that has not fared well in the role of the favorite. Underdog labeling might be the godsend this team was looking for.

Why Boston Will Win

The course of this NHL season has been relatively expected for the Bruins, who did not get the top seed in the East but snagged the second spot and are poised to play deep into the month of May at the very least. Boston goalie Tim Thomas will enjoy a pronounced advantage over the Capitals' netminders, chiefly because Washington's number one man between the pipes, Tomas Vokoun, is out with an injury. Vokoun's backup, Michal Neuvirth, may or may not play in Game 1 of this series, in which case third goalie Braden Holtby would be asked to step into a spotlight that's very foreign to him. At this time of the year, teams need thoroughly reliable goaltenders, and Boston has one. Washington does not… not one that's healthy, at any rate. 

Who Will Win?

Even if Washington plays with more confidence and belief, can the Capitals' severe disadvantage in net swing this series in favor of the seventh seed? It's highly doubtful. Goaltending is too important to be left to unsteady hands, and that's what will doom Washington here. The defending Cup champions should advance without too many problems.

NHL Betting Pick: Boston in 5 games

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