NHL Conference Finals Preview

The NHL playoff are down to just two series before the Stanly Cup Finals. Get insights on how to bet the Conference Championship round.

Prevew and predictions for the NHL Conference Finals

We’re down to four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the conference finals have been established. Semifinal pairings are the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers in the East, the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars in the West.

Series get underway Wednesday evening in New York, Thursday in Dallas.

Here’s a look at the two series, selecting the winner along with other options on the board . . .

Panthers vs. Rangers

It’s as it should be in the Eastern Conference, as the President’s Trophy-champion (114 points) New York Rangers, winners of the Metropolitan Division, oppose last season’s surprise conference champ Florida Panthers. Florida didn’t fool anyone this time around, winning the Atlantic Division (110 points).New York Rangers Stanley Cup playoffs

Florida disposed of the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games, then the Boston Bruins in six (3-0 at Boston) to advance. Meanwhile, New York won its first seven postseason games, sweeping away the Washington Capitals, then taking a 3-0 lead against the Carolina Hurricanes.

To the credit of the ‘Canes, they didn’t go quietly. Carolina then won Games 4 and 5, owning a third-period lead in Game 6 at Raleigh before the Rangers rallied to prevail.

Despite the Rangers having home-ice advantage in the series, Florida is the 2-3 (-150) favorite (New York at 13-10 [+130]), according to NHL series odds. Florida was 2-1 in the season series.Eastern Conference Finals Florida Panthers

Suggesting this series may come down to goaltending isn’t reaching, as the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky (8-3, 2.37 goals against in playoffs) and the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin (8-2, 2.40 playoffs GAA) have both been stellar.

New York has scored just one more goal (19) than it’s surrendered (18) thus far, so tight games have been the norm in the postseason. While both the Rangers and Panthers have had some time to rest, it will be Florida advancing.

Oilers vs. Stars

Dallas lost the first two playoff games at home to the defending Cup-champion Vegas Golden Knights Stars. Flipping the script, Dallas then won the next two games in Nevada, eventually taking the series in 7.

Dllas Stars NHL playoffs predictionThe second round saw the Stars eliminate the Colorado Avalanche in 6, winning all three games in Denver. Dallas closed out its series this past Friday, so the Stars win the battle of rest.

Edmonton’s[ 28 goals scored (and 26 allowed) lead the postseason, but it’s a relatively quick turnaround as the Oilers needed a full seven games before bidding adieu to a tough Vancouver team in British Columbia Monday night.

It was a five-game series win over the Los Angeles Kings to begin the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup picksEdmonton is boasting the top four playoff scoring leaders in Leon Draisaitl (eight goals, 16 assists, 24 points), Connor McDavid (21), Evan Bouchard (20) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (16).

Add in Zach Hyman’s 11 goals to lead the postseason.

It’s those snipers against Dallas’ Jake Oettinger, leading the goalie with a 2.09 postseason GAA.

Dallas is a tepid -130 favorite to win the series, Edmonton at 11-10 (+110). We are leading toward the Stars, who were 2-1 against Edmonton during the season.

Hoisting the Cup

Remember the Canadian Stanley Cup drought is now 31 years (Montreal Canadiens in 1992-93). We're not sure that’s an extra burden carried by the Edmonton Oilers, but it’s there.

Since the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars are favored in their respective conference final series, it’s no surprise they’re the choices (both 9-4, [+225]) to win, as per Stanley Cup odds.

It’s the Edmonton Oilers next at 11-4 (+275), with the New York Rangers at 18-5 (+360).

Odds will be shifting as these series progress, as with the Conn Smythe (MVP) board.

We leave you with the phrase that pay . . . ’do your homework’.

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