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Posted by Don Melrose on 6/5/2014 4:14:38 AM

The betting sites are already taking action on the quarterfinal round of the NHL playoffs, and there is an interesting matchup between the third seeded Florida Panthers and the sixth seeded New Jersey Devils. Both teams are extremely defensive minded, but only one team will emerge the winner. It may not be a fun series to watch, but it will be very interesting to follow.

Why New Jersey Will Win

The big thing that the New Jersey Devils have on its side is momentum. The Devils ended the regular season with a six-game winning streak, which could be a factor in the early part of this series. However, with the series not starting until Friday, most fans are betting that any momentum the Devils may have will have faded away.

The Devils need to stick to the things it has done well all season long. Future hall of fame goaltender Martin Brodeur delivered another stellar season and is ready for the playoffs. Brodeur finished his last five games of the season at 5-0-0 and that included a shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils play solid defense and the team has really picked up the scoring pace in the second half of the season. This will be a tough team to beat at any point in the playoffs.

Why Florida Will Win

The sports betting crowd had quite a ride with the Florida Panthers this season. The Panthers held on to the Southeast Division lead all season long, but it was not without drama. The Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets both got within at least one point of the Panthers at several points during the season. The Panthers showed the resiliency to hold on to the division lead to the very end of the season.

The Panthers are a well-rounded team that has learned how to win together over the course of the season. When Florida had its back up against the wall, the team usually responded. As the Panthers enter the playoffs, the team’s back is definitely up against the wall. It is situations like this that the Panthers respond to very well.

How it Will Play Out

The Devils come into this series as the better team in just about every category. Florida goaltender Jose Theodore is coming into the playoffs with a 0-2-3 record in his last five games. The Panthers allowed more goals than it scored and have the worst goal scoring differential of any team in the playoffs.

The Devils have learned how to expand the trap defensive style the team plays to include offensive fore-checking as well. The Devils still play that defensive style, but it is much more aggressive than it has been in the past. New Jersey is coming in to the playoffs with strong goaltending, strong goal scoring and a lot of confidence.

The Bottom Line

The Panthers may be able to show some resiliency and win a game in this series, but the Devils will prove to be too much for Florida. The Devils have all of the pieces in place for a deep playoff run and the Panthers do not.

Pick: Devils in 5


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