The NHL odds on the Phoenix Coyotes winning the Stanley Cup when the season started were 75 to 1. A couple of trades and several months later and the Coyotes have played themselves into a 15 to 1 position. If you were to apply that sports cliche of the “team that no one wants to play” in this 2009-2010 post-season it would be the Coyotes.
The Calgary Flames had the NHL betting world excited when the season started as they were made an 18 to 1 favorite to win the Stanley Cup, but a disappointing season has dropped them to 40 to 1. The Flames are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league and if it were not for goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff then the Flames would be nowhere near a playoff spot.
The problem for the Flames is that the Coyotes have won eight of their last ten games and are challenging the falling San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. Prior to the trade deadline the Sharks were expected to win the division and the conference.
The other problem for the Flames is Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov has 40 wins this season and is a major factor in why the Coyotes are a contender. The Coyotes added players like Wojtek Wolski and Lee Stempniak at the trade deadline to augment what Bryzgalov was doing, and it worked.
The Coyotes are just happy to be in the mix, and they have already shown signs of preparing for the playoffs by resting Bryzgalov every few games. There is nothing to stop the Coyotes from making the playoffs now, and it is entirely possible that the Sharks could keep falling back to the Coyotes in the standings and give the conference and the division to the Coyotes.
Pick: Calgary Flames 3-1
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