Over the next several days, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will evolve and coaches will be scrambling to make adjustments from game to game and hope the players pay attention and will execute.
We will focus in on each series progress and possible future results, but next is what has happened against the NHL odds.Stanley Cup Numbers
Underdogs are 36-32 SU - +15.58 units
Totals - The UNDER is 30-24-12Pittsburgh Has To Raise Level of Play to Solve Ottawa Defensive Puzzle
The Penguins had faced the Ottawa defense before this season, watched an ample amount of film and knew what they were facing. Even with this, Pittsburgh scored one goal in shocking 2-1 home loss to the Senators in series opener.
Ottawa's 1-3-1 neutral zone trap has opposing teams thinking they have to make the perfect pass or dump the puck into their offensive zone and chase it down. With the kind of effort and energy the Sens are playing with, they realize this defense is taking teams out of their normal flow and their confidence is soaring.
At the moment, thoughts of Pittsburgh winning this series in five games look like a mirage. The Penguins strategy has to be like in basketball, overload the zone to one side and make the pass to where there is more open ice. Boston and the New York Rangers had success doing this, just not game to game. If you are making NHL picks, this now appears to be a long series.
Has Anaheim Cracked Nashville's Rinne?
The Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has been the best goaltender in the playoffs, allowing just 1.6 goals a game. After surrendering a 2-0 lead to be tied by Anaheim 2-2, Nashville responded and took a 3-2 lead and it seemed the Preds were in control.
But the Ducks scored twice in less than 10 minutes to take the lead and got an empty net goal to clinch it 5-3. It was the first time Rinne played mortal in the playoffs and Nashville defensemen, like those from Edmonton, were wasted by Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf who had three assists.
With the series tied and going back to Nashville, does Rinne get the magic back or does he do like he has in playoffs past, lose his edge? The Predators are 5-0 on home ice in the postseason, with Anaheim 4-1 in the white road sweaters. Something has to give.