NHL Stanley Cup Preview: What Could the Finals Look Like?

Dan CarcilloWhile the online betting is focusing on the Conference finals, it may be a good idea to look ahead to the Stanley Cup betting that could be taking place in a week or so. The NHL betting odds have the Chicago Blackhawks as EVEN to win the Stanley Cup, but a look at the possible Finals match-ups could move one of the other three teams into contention as well.

Montreal Canadiens versus San Jose Sharks

With things the way they are, and the Canadiens and Sharks in dire straits in their respective series, this seems like the least likely Stanley Cup finals possibility. You may be better off focusing on your World Cup betting than wondering if this series will happen.

If the Canadiens and Sharks were to meet in the Finals, this would be a series between power and speed. The Sharks have the power in their line-up, and the Canadiens have the speed. But with the Canadiens’ goaltending falling apart, all the Sharks would need to do is crash the Montreal net to take over this series.

Pick: San Jose Sharks in 5

Montreal Canadiens versus Chicago Blackhawks

[adinserter block=”1″]If the Canadiens continue on their current path, a series with the Blackhawks would be no contest. The Blackhawks are getting production from their big name players in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and they are getting the best goaltending in the playoffs out of Antti Niemi.

The Canadiens have developed a bad habit in the Eastern Conference finals of backing into goaltender Jaroslav Halak, rather than attacking at the blue line and making the Flyers earn the zone. With the speed and confidence of the Blackhawks, sitting back would be the last thing the Canadiens would want to do.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks in 4

Philadelphia Flyers versus San Jose Sharks

This would be an old-time hockey Stanley Cup finals that could be one of the more entertaining finals we have seen in many years. By the time the Stanley Cup finals start, the Flyers will have their top scorer Jeff Carter back in the line-up. Carter teamed up with Mike Richards would keep San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov busy the entire series.

Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton has emerged in these playoffs as a goalie that can perform in clutch situations. If Nabokov can find a way to be more consistent and match Leighton’s play, which he has the talent to do, then this series would probably go the distance.

Pick: Philadelphia Flyers in 7

Philadelphia Flyers versus Chicago Blackhawks

[adinserter block=”2″]This will more than likely be the match-up for this year’s Stanley Cup finals, and it could be a beauty. This series would feature the two best goaltenders in the playoffs in Philadelphia’s Michael Leighton and Chicago’s Antti Niemi, and it would also feature some of the most entertaining wide-open hockey we have seen in a while.

When the Blackhawks and Flyers meet in the Finals it will be a shoot-out, and the only reason the final scores will look close will be because of the goalies playing in this series. In the end, the Blackhawks will be too much for the over-achieving Flyers.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks in 6

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