NHL Playoffs Picks 4/17: Devils Panthers, Preds Red Wings, Coyotes Blackhawks
NHL Playoff Picks and Predictions, Tuesday 4/17: Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks
The Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils have an exciting series so far, though it’s probably the least mainstream series in all of the NHL playoffs. I look forward to seeing how the Devils respond on home ice – they slept through two of the three periods in each of the first games. Mostly, I think my Devils just wanted my Game Five tickets to be put to use. The Preds looked great in Detroit against the Red Wings, forcing them into sloppy, tired, poor play on home ice. The Coyotes lost a heartbreaker to the Blackhawks and look to steal back home ice advantage. It’s a great day of playoff hockey, as usual.
It’s hard to post daily picks while traveling the country betting sports. Ultimately, my bracket tells the story 90% of the time. I bet the playoffs on one side of a series hoping to steal a road game or two and get the series winner correct, which typically results in a profit. I rarely abandon my predictions. If I go missing for an entire series, somebody tell my parents. Otherwise, you can always reach me directly @Fasterhockey on Twitter.
Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils (-170)
The Devils have quite simply not shown up for this series yet. Perhaps it’s the jitters of never winning much with Zach Parise, who is demanding a playoff run to entertain contract talks this off season (more or less). Perhaps it’s an influx of young talent, or maybe the Panthers were motivated in their home arena. Fortunately, one period was all it took in Game One to steal a win. In Game Two, a solid five minutes in the third was not enough. On home ice, their terribly inconsistent play should go away; less nerves, more comfort, and some intimidation from Newark’s finest should do the trick.
I expect the Devils to win both games at home and make my Game Five experience in Florida as good as it gets. I think they threw Game Two because that meant not disappointing the home crowd but still playing a fifth game. Thank you Devils – I love you.
Devils 4 – Panthers 1
Nashville Predators (+150) at Detroit Red Wings
I thought the Red Wings would be better at home, but ultimately I think the Predators are just the better team. Detroit looks tired, has unreliable goaltending, and is sloppy. The Preds are crisp, defensively sound, and scoring when they need to. If Pekka Rinne shows up again, this series is going to take a dramatic turn.
I think there’s value in the game, and since I’ll be in Nashville watching it I have to bet for the away team while I’m in their home. Maybe they pull off a second upset and put the Red Wings out of their misery.
Preds 3 – Red Wings 2
Phoenix Coyotes (+135) at Chicago Blackhawks
I like the Coyotes and think they’ll find a way to bounce back and regain control in this series. Small bet for me here, but I’m rooting heavily for Phoenix. I think they match up well and can hold off the Blackhawks in Chicago to regain home ice advantage.
Coyotes 2 – Blackhawks 1
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