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The NHL Eastern Conference Finally Gets Playoffs Underway

Posted by Carter Brown on 4/30/2013 7:46:40 PM

The online betting experts had to wait until the last game of the last day of the NHL regular season to see which teams would meet in the Eastern Conference playoffs. After weeks of working their way up the standings, the New York Islanders finally settled into the eighth and final playoff spot. As a reward for their hard work, the Islanders get to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs.

In Boston, the curtain rises on an Original Six battle that has been brewing for decades. The Leafs and the Bruins do not like each other and the betting sites are expecting a physical battle in this opening round series from both teams.

New York Islanders (8) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (1)

The question in this series is not whether the Islanders can upset the Penguins. The real question is whether or not New York can win a game from Pittsburgh in the seven-game series. The sportsbook experts did not expect the Islanders to make a playoff run this season, which makes everyone wonder if this year was a fluke or a building year for New York. The Islanders will want to make a good showing of themselves and try to set the tone for a strong start to next season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are almost completely healthy heading into these playoffs, which is something that has not happened in a while. The other thing that Pittsburgh has is strong goaltending as the postseason begins. This could be a short series for the Penguins, but it will also be a good test to see if all of these new players can gel together and play as a team in the playoffs.

Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins in Five Games

Toronto Maple Leafs (5) vs Boston Bruins (4)

The Boston Bruins are widely regarded as the other team to beat in the Eastern Conference, aside from the Pittsburgh Penguins. But when the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs meet in the playoffs, you can throw the regular season right out the window. These two teams have been colliding for decades and they just do not like each other.

The other thing that makes this series interesting to watch is the fact that both Toronto and Boston play very physical styles of hockey. Both of these teams like to get into the corners and battle and they both like to make problems in front of the opposition’s net. The Leafs and Bruins are loaded with big players who can skate and score, but Boston possesses the superior roster by far.

A lot of what happens in this series depends on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. In previous playoff appearances, Rask has not been impressive. But after being the number one goalie all season long, Rask may finally have the confidence he needs to be a successful goaltender in the NHL postseason.

Pick: Boston Bruins in Six Games

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