The Stanley Cup postseason chase continues with the conference semifinals set in the Western Conference. The first-round was devoid of some major upsets, with the top three seeds advancing past the opening round and the fifth seed eclipsing the fourth seed.
Top-seed Vancouver (54-19-4-5) escaped the first-round upset bid from defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago. The Canucks opened the season as a 12/1 selection to capture the cup, but are currently 7/2.
Fifth-seed Nashville (44-27-7-4) won its first playoff series in team history by dumping Anaheim in six games. The Predators have seen their Stanley Cup odds improve steadily throughout the year, opening at 40/1 before residing at their current 12/1.
Don Best's Real-Time Odds show Vancouver as 220 home ‘chalk’ in Game 1 over Nashville, with the total set at five. The puck drops Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (PT).
The Canucks are also decided 330 favorites to win this series and advance to the conference finals, while the Predators are a 270 underdog.
Vancouver won the first three games versus Chicago in the opening round before dropping the next three matchups to force a dramatic Game 7. The Canucks escaped with the overtime victory as a 165 home favorite, 2-1, while the combined three goals went ‘under’ the 5 ½-goal closing total.
Left wing Alex Burrows scored both goals in the Game 7 triumph, lighting the lamp just 2:43 into the contest. The game winner occurred 5:22 into overtime to eliminate the team that has ended Vancouver’s season the previous two years.
Burrows spent an early part of the extra session in the penalty box, and he also missed a penalty shot early in the third period.
The Canucks finished the game with advantages in faceoffs, 33-29, and shots on goal, 38-32. Vancouver appeared headed to a 1-0 victory in regulation until Chicago tied the game on a shorthanded goal with less than two minutes remaining.
Nashville toppled Anaheim in Game 6 as 141 home ‘chalk,’ 4-2, while the combined six goals slithered ‘over’ the 5 ½-goal closing total. The ‘over’ cashed in the Predators’ past five performances.
Nick Spaling netted two goals in the victory, while Jordin Tootoo assisted on both tallies. Steve Sullivan and David Legwand also lit the lamp, while netminder Pekka Rinne stopped 25 shots. Nashville enjoyed advantages in faceoffs won, 33-22, and shots on goal, 30-27.
This series was tied at two games apiece before the Predators took the last two outings. Nashville dispatched the Ducks in overtime in Game 5 as a 130 road underdog, 4-3, while the combined seven goals toppled the five-goal closing total.
Vancouver and Nashville met four times during the regular season, with both teams winning twice. The Canucks prevailed Jan. 26 as 180 home ‘chalk,’ 2-1, and March 29 as a 108 road favorite, 3-1. The Predators triumphed Feb. 17 as 117 home ‘chalk,’ 3-1, and March 3 as a 169 road underdog, 3-0.
The ‘under’ cashed in all four of those matchups.
Nashville left wing Martin Erat (upper body injury) is ‘probable’ for Game1 versus the Canucks, while center Cal O’Reilly (fibula) is ‘doubtful.’ Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo (leg) is ‘questionable’ for Game 1 against the Predators, while center Rick Rypien (personal) is ‘out’ indefinitely.