NHL Playoffs Picks (Game One 4/11): Red Wings Preds, Flyers Penguins, Kings Canucks

NHL Playoffs Picks for Game One, Wednesday 4/11: Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, LA Kings at Vancouver Canucks

The Detroit Red Wings are an incredibly average team on the road, but perhaps the playoffs will snap them out of it against a loaded Nashville Predators team. The Philadelphia Flyers dominated the season series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but with Sidney Crosby back and Ilya Bryzgalov looking sloppy since returning from injury, this series is far from the regular season’s results. The LA Kings have Jonathan Quick, which is a huge advantage over a headcase goaltender like Roberto Luongo, but can they score enough to keep up with the Vancouver Canucks? Day one of the NHL playoffs looks about as good as it can be, with all games televised for the first time.

The NHL playoffs are finally here, and this particular capper couldn’t be more excited. Last season’s playoffs was the most profitable period of my betting career. We hit the entire first round, the Bruins to win it all at the trade deadline, the Bruins to win in seven games, and a number of incredibly profitable picks along the way. We won money every month of the season this year, and I expect the playoffs to be no different. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators (-135)

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the best teams in hockey on home ice, which makes Game One in Nashville incredibly important. Home ice could dictate this series, and the Preds cannot concede it in the early going of the series. The Red Wings are battling injuries and I truly believe the Preds are the better team.

Pekka Rinne has not been the most consistent goalie in the NHL this year, but he’s certainly one of the most talented. The Preds have actually allowed more goals than the Red Wings this season, but they’re a new team since the deadline. Alexander Radulov gives them a legitimate top-line scoring threat, while Hal Gill bolstered a somewhat shallow defensive corps. With a full team in front of one of the best goalies in hockey, the Preds are slated for a deep run this year.

The Red Wings are old and tired. They’re injured and have inconsistent goaltending. They can’t win on the road. To me, this all points to a win on home ice for the Preds in the first game of the series. While I think it will be tough to win in Detroit, the Preds look good at home and the line is great.

Preds 3 – Red Wings 1

Confidence: 2/6
Value: 3/6

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins (-170)

The Flyers dominated the regular season series, winning four of the five meaningful games. They match up well with the Penguins, using their dirty style of play to beat down a team filled with complaining, whiny, finesse players. Mostly, I simply expect these two teams to beat the hell out of each other and lose in the next round.

When Ilya Bryzgalov is on, he’s one of the most formidable goaltenders in hockey. However, he hasn’t played well since an injury derailed his hot streak. He’s a big question mark, particularly against one of the best offenses in hockey. Marc-Andre Fleury is a consistently mediocre goaltender, above-average even, and that should be enough to slow down a banged up Flyers team.

While three of the best scorers in hockey are on display in this series, the Penguins have an advantage on offense. If they focus on defense a little bit and let Crosby and Malkin work their magic, they’ll win this series. It all starts in Game One in this exciting rivalry series.

Penguins 4 – Flyers 1

Confidence: 3/6
Value: 2/6

LA Kings at Vancouver Canucks (-165)

The Kings have Jonathan Quick, which is a huge advantage over the most notoriously choke-ready goaltender in hockey. However, the Kings don’t have the offense or skaters to keep up with the Canucks. Surely Jonathan Quick can dominate a game and even a series, but the Canucks are the better team. The car-flipping power of the Vancouver home crowd will be on display here, tipping the scales in Game One.

Canucks 3 – Kings 2

Confidence: 2/6
Value: 1/6

Mark Donatiello
Follow me on Twitter:  @FasterHockey ...read more

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