Is This The Season Stanley Cup Returns To Canada?
No team from Canada has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens since 1993 but the country has five teams in the 2015 playoffs that begin with four games on Wednesday night, two of which feature all Canadian teams.
Bovada offers two Canadian props in particular: Will a team from Canada win the Cup? No is -600 and yes is +400. Will the Stanley Cup Finals have two Canadian teams? No is a heavy -5000 favorite and yes at +400.
Habs Are Best Shot
Montreal, which won the Atlantic Division, opens its series against wild-card Ottawa on Wednesday. The Habs are -150 favorites at Bovada for the game and -155 on the series line. The big question is whether Canadiens forward and leading scorer Max Pacioretty will play. Pacioretty (upper body) participated in Monday’s practice with a tinted visor. However, he isn’t sure if he’ll be ready to play on Wednesday because he hasn’t been involved in contact drills yet. “That’s the next step,” he said. “You want to practice with full contact. Today was a special teams practice, so there’s a time for that.” Montreal coach Michel Therrien would be surprised if Pacioretty (upper body) was ready to play in Game 1.
But as long as goalie Carey Price is healthy, the Habs can win any game. Price led the NHL in goals-against average (1.96), save percentage (.933) and wins, setting a new Canadiens record with 44 victories. He’s going to win the Vezina Trophy. As great as Price has been, he did not fare well against Ottawa. In two games, he had a 3.03 GAA and .887 save percentage, one of three teams against which Price had a sub-.900 save percentage against this season.
Senators Have Hot Goalie
The only playoff series the Senators have won since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2007 was against the Canadiens in 2013. The Senators won their past three games this season against the Canadiens by a combined score of 13-5, including a 4-2 win at home on Feb. 18, the first NHL start for goaltender Andrew Hammond. He’s the biggest reason that Ottawa reached the playoffs. He finished the season with a 1.79 GAA, a .941 save percentage and 20-1-2 record.
It looks like Ottawa winger Milan Michalek will play in Game 1. He skated with Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan on Monday. Michalek has been out of action since Mar. 21 because of a suspected concussion. Michalek’s return has moved rookie Mike Hoffman to the fourth line with David Legwand and Alex Chiasson. Sens defenseman Erik Karlsson, a Norris Trophy candidate, will play in the opener. He didn’t practice this week but is fine. Karlsson led the Senators in time on ice this season with an average of 27:15 per game. He was third in the League, behind Ryan Sutter of the Minnesota Wild (29:03) and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (28:59).
Also on Wednesday, Calgary visits Vancouver in the first round of the West playoffs. The Canucks are -150 Game 1 favorites and -140 on the series line.
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