The Round 1 matches have come to a conclusion and it was a mixed set of results for the advised bets that I put up, here is a summary of those bets and the series outcomes.
Colorado Avalanche Vs Minnesota Wild (Wild won 4-3)
Colorado Avalanche to win the series 4-2 (5.50 Bet365)
St Louis Blues Vs Chicago Blackhawks (Blackhawks won 4-2)
Chicago Blackhawks to win the series (2.00 Coral)
Anaheim Ducks Vs Dallas Stars (Ducks won 4-2)
Anaheim Ducks (-1.5) to win the series (2.10 Ladbrokes)
Anaheim Ducks to win the series 4-2 (7.50 SkyBet)
San Jose Sharks Vs Los Angeles Kings (Kings won 4-3)
San Jose Sharks to win the series 4-0 (12.00 SkyBet)
Boston Bruins Vs Detroit Red Wings (Bruins won 4-1)
Boston Bruins to win the series 4-1 (4.00 Ladbrokes)
Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Montreal Canadians (Canadiens won 4-0)
Tampa Bay Lightning to win the series 4-3 (5.50 Bet365)
Pittsburgh Penguins Vs Columbus Blue Jackets (Penguins won 4-2)
Pittsburgh Penguins handicap (-1.50) to win the series (2.00 Paddypower)
New York Rangers Vs Philadelphia Flyers (Rangers won 4-3)
Philadelphia Flyers to win the series (2.35 Bet365)
So as you can see from a total of 9 bets we were successful in 5 of those so I guess you cannot moan at a 56% strike rate and the LSP was +8.60 but it could have been better! The Sharks really disappointed me, I had them down to do a whitewash and after three games they were 3-0 up but then threw it away and lost the series 4-3. The Flyers won game 6 to take the tie to 3-3 and a decider but lost that decider 2-1 and Tampa were really poor, I was expecting a close series but they went down 4-0.
Now we will have a look at Round 2 matches and give my advised bets.
2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2 Matches
Chicago Blackhawks Vs Minnesota Wild (Western)
The defending champions the Blackhawks came through the first round series with a 4-2 win over the Blues and they have now produced seven wins on the spin when on home ice and add to that their post-season record on home ice which is now only one defeat in their last eleven games on home ice and you have a side who should be feared at home and considering the first two games are in Chicago you have to make them favourites.
Minnesota were taken to a series decider against the Avalanche in round one and they went to Colorado to win the series with an overtime time from Niederreiter and having lost three already in Colorado that was some victory for the Wild especially considering their overall record on the road in post-season, it brought to an end a losing streak of eight games on the road.
The Wild have now won just two of their last fifteen games on the road in post-season and with the form that the Blackhawks are in on home ice you have to fancy the hosts to take an early lead in this series, there is not a lot between the two sides when looking at the head-2-head record but when they met in post-season last year the Blackhawks secured a 4-1 win.
I just cannot see past the Blackhawks in this series, they will probably take an early 2-0 lead which will be hard to claw back for the Wild and I can see the defending champions going on to a 4-2 series win in this.
Bet: Chicago Blackhawks to win the series 4-2 (4.75 Ladbrokes)
Anaheim Ducks Vs Los Angeles Kings (Western)
Anaheim secured a comfortable 4-2 victory over the Stars in round one and will once again have home ice advantage in round two when they take on the Kings, they have had a longer break than most sides with it almost a week in-between matches which means they will come into this series fresh. They won all three home games against the Stars which takes their winning streak to five matches with home ice advantage.
Los Angeles will come into this series on a high following their win over the Sharks in round one, 3-0 down after three games and they came back to win the next four games to take the series 4-3, that included two wins in San Jose so they will not fear going to Anaheim in this series, they were not one of the form teams going into the playoffs but they seemed to have found that form at just the right time!
These two sides are closely matches in the head-2-head record, from the last 30 matches the Kings just shade it 16-14 but the Ducks have won the last four matches when they have met so the history between the two sides points at a close series and with the Kings finding form at the right time this is not going to be easy for the Ducks.
I could see this series going to a decider and that is the market that I shall be playing for this one.
Bet: Series to go to Game 7 (3.10 Ladbrokes)
Boston Bruins Vs Montreal Canadiens (Eastern)
Boston had no problems with dispatching the Detroit in the first round with a 4-1 series win, they lost the first game on home ice but went on to win the next four and that defeat in game one was only their second defeat on home ice in their last twelve matches and their record on home ice in post-season now stands at 21-9 whilst their overall record stands at 19-11.
Montreal’s first round win came as somewhat of a surprise to me, I was expecting a close series with Tampa but it was not the case with the Canadiens going on to whitewash the series 4-0 and considering their went into the series having lost four of their last five regular season games it was some turnaround in form. They had also only won once in six post-season matches before that series but their record now stands at 15-15.
The head-2-head record between the two sides reads slightly in favour of the Canadiens with a 17-13 split and recently they have certainly had the upper hand with six wins in the last seven matchups whilst in post-season the numbers slightly favour Boston with a 16-14 and Boston have won four of the last five. In 2009 it was a 4-0 whitewash for Boston whilst in 2011 it was much closer with a 4-3 series win for Boston.
You would think that home ice advantage for the first two games would play in Boston’s hands but Montreal are 17-13 when visiting Boston and have won on their last four visits so this is not going to be as easy as the betting suggests and if the Canadiens can get something from the first two games then that will set them up with an excellent chance of taking the series and on the back of that whitewash of Tampa I am going to take a chance on the Canadiens in this one.
Bet: Montreal Canadiens to win the series (3.00 Ladbrokes)
Pittsburgh Penguins Vs New York Rangers
The Penguins were a successful bet in round one with their 4-2 series win over the Blue Jackets despite losing game two on home ice which was a bit of a surprise and they have had no problems with scoring but a bit of a worry would be the amount of goals that they are allowing, in nine of their last ten matches they have allowed 2+ goals.
The Rangers came through a tricky series against the Flyers with a 4-3 series win in which their record was WLWLWLW so neither teams really dominating things, they also lost two of their three games in Philadelphia. Their post-season record now stands at 14-16 but their record on the road is now 9-21 whilst at home they are 17-13 which would suggest they have to win their home games.
This is one of the most convincing head-2-head records with the Penguins coming out with a 20-10 split over the Rangers and over the past thirteen matches the Pens have won ten of those and with home ice advantage they are 21-9. In post-season games the Penguins also hold the upperhand with a 12-4 advantage and the last time they met which was in 2008 the Pens went on to a 4-1 series win.
Whilst the Penguins allow too many goals at the same time they usually score enough to win the games, there record in both regular and post-season against the Rangers is very good although neither side are dominating at the moment and the home form of the Pens is somewhat of a concern for me but I believe they should have enough quality to see out this series and once again I am going to take the Pens to win the series 4-2.