Odds are against the Bruins in Finals

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Odds are against the Bruins in Finals

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER So it begins.With the Stanley Cup Finals between the Bruins and Canucks getting cranked up in earnest today, as the two teams practice at Rogers Arena in anticipation of Wednesday nights Game One, the odds are filtering their way out into the betting community.Here are a few courtesy of our friends at bodog.com with some interesting observations. Tim Thomas has the best odds of any Bruins player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy at 4-to-1 odds, and Dennis Seidenberg isnt even among the potential names on the board even though hes been one of Bostons best players in the postseason. Otherwise, here are the Vegas betting odds (for discussion purposes only):Series Price
Vancouver Canucks -235
Boston Bruins 195

Exact Series Result
Boston Bruins 4-0 251
Boston Bruins 4-1 121
Boston Bruins 4-2 132
Boston Bruins 4-3 152
Vancouver Canucks 4-0 152
Vancouver Canucks 4-1 134
Vancouver Canucks 4-2 41
Vancouver Canucks 4-3 154

Total Games Played In Series
Over Games O 5 -175
Under Games U 5 145

Total Games Played In Series
4 61
5 94
6 21
7 21

Total Goals Scored in Series
OverUnder 30 Goals

Where Will the Series be Decided?
TD Garden, Boston 120
Rogers Arena, Vancouver -150

Total road wins
Over Games 2.5 -140
Under Games 2.5 110

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Who will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP?
Ryan Kesler 75
Tim Thomas 41
Henrik Sedin 61
Roberto Luongo 132
Nathan Horton 71
Daniel Sedin 91
Patrice Bergeron 141
David Krejci 151
Kevin Bieksa 251
Zdeno Chara 251
Field (Any Other Player) 141

Will a player from the losing team in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals be awarded the 2011 Conn Smyth Trophy?
Yes 151

Daniel Sedin Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Boston Bruins
Over Under 6

Henrik Sedin - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Boston Bruins
Over Under 6

Ryan Kesler - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Boston Bruins
Over Under 5

Alexandre Burrows - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Boston Bruins
Over Under 3.5

Roberto Luongo Goals against average in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Boston Bruins
Over Under 2.15

Roberto Luongo Save percentage in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Boston Bruins
Over Under 92

Who will score more goals in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Vancouver Canucks?
Daniel Sedin 75
Ryan Kesler 32
Alex Burrows 154
Henrik Sedin 92

Who will record more assists in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Vancouver Canucks?
Henrik Sedin 65
Daniel Sedin 74
Ryan Kesler 41
Christian Ehrhoff 174

David Krejci - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver Canucks Over Under 4.5

Milan Lucic - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver Canucks
Over Under 4

Patrice Bergeron - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver Canucks
Over Under 4

Zdeno Chara - Total Points in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver Canucks Over Under 3

Tim Thomas - Goals against average in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver Canucks
Over Under 2.35

Tim Thomas - Save percentage in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver Canucks
Over Under 92

Who will score more goals in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Boston Bruins?
Nathan Horton 1710
Milan Lucic 95
Patrice Bergeron 74
David Krejci 72

Who will record more shutouts during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals?
Roberto Luongo -130
Tim Thomas Even

Who will a better save percentage in the Series?
Roberto Luongo Even
Tim Thomas -130

Will Roberto Luongo be replaced as goaltender at any point during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals?
Yes 300
No -500

Will there be a 5 minute fighting major penalty called during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals?
Yes -250
No 195

How May Games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals will go to overtime?
Over 1.5 135
Under 1.5 -165

Will any game in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals go to double overtime?
Yes 275
No -350Now onto the links:
A great piece from the Toronto Star about Don Cherry and his eccentric lifestyle coupled with a bombastic personality. I definitely learned a few things about the man known as Grapes that I didnt previously know. Tony Gallagher from the Province in Vancouver has a serious problem with the 5 p.m. start times for home Canucks home games in the Stanley Cup Finals. Starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time doesnt really seem like a good idea at all, but maybe thats just me. Mark Recchi plans to end his career in style with a precious bottle of wine and perhaps a drink or two from the Cup. The Globe and Mail has all of the relevant info afterSaint John took home the Memorial Cup. A sad, sad story out of Atlanta by the Atlanta Journal Constitution for the people that really loved hockey, and tried their best to support the Thrashers and southern fried hockey. Winnipeg clearly deserves a hockey team, but I know some people that were left holding the bag in possibly the worst pro sports city in America. Chris Higgins credits his FDNY firefighting father, Bobby, for instilling him with the grit and toughness he regularly shows out on the ice for Vancouver. The Forks are ready to part with the knowledge that (insert team name here) will be headed back to Winnipeg next season, and bringing NHL hockey back to a Manitoba setting it never should have left. A good piece by ESPN.coms Pierre Lebrun on Jonathan Toews excitement that NHL hockey is coming back to Winnipeg after his Jets left him as a hockey-crazed kid in the Peg. An interesting piece by CTV.ca on the long range prospects of wooing Guy Boucher back to Montreal as head coach of the Habs some day down the line. It obviously wont be anytime soon, but this has to happen at some point, doesnt it? The Nassau County lawmakers are moving forward with a project to keep the Isles in New York after watching the Thrashers fly their coop in Atlanta.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Mark it down -- the Bruins WILL make the playoffs

Haggerty: Mark it down -- the Bruins WILL make the playoffs

The Bruins are going to snap their two-year drought and get into the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring. 

Sure, it’s going to be a tight race. And it'll come down to the last few games, befitting a team that's lived on the Atlantic Division bubble over the last three years. But in the seven games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins have shown they have the goods to get into the postseason. There's every reason to believe they’ll sustain their winning ways over the final two months of the regular season. 

There's a long way to go, of course, but a third-place (or higher) finish would ensure the B's a berth in the Atlantic Division playoff bracket, and they could conceivably advance a round or two based solely on the poor quality of clubs in their division. With 20 games to play, the Bruins are now third in the division and have a one-point cushion (70-69) over fourth-place Toronto, though the Leafs have a game in hand. If Toronto passes them, they currently have a two-point lead over the Islanders (70-68) for the eighth and final spot in the conference playoffs, though the Isles also have a game in hand. 

And that's not to say Boston couldn't climb higher. The B's are only four points behind the first-place but spinning-their-wheels Canadiens (20-20-7 since their 13-1-1 start), and they're even with the Habs in games played. They trail second-place Ottawa by two points, but the Senators have two games in hand.

All that, however, is another story for another day (even if it is a reason for Boston adding, rather than subtracting, at Wednesday's NHL trade deadline),

So how can we so stridently state that the Bruins are going to make the playoffs, and assure that this seven-game run isn’t just a flash in the pan?

Clearly they're playing with more urgency, higher compete levels, and a consistent focus that wasn’t there in the first 55 games under Claude Julien. They've now scored first-period goals in nine straight games and scored first in each of the four games on the highly successful Western swing through San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Dallas over the last week. 

To put that in perspective, the B's had gone 1-8 in California over the previous three seasons, when those late-in-the-year road trips spelled the beginning of the end for Boston.

But even more convincing is a simple look at the numbers, the production and the reasons behind the surge forward. 

The Bruins have long needed their two franchise centers operating at a high level at both ends of the ice, and consistently playing the 200-foot game that can cause major problems against teams not blessed with frontline talent in the middle. That wasn’t the case under Julien this year, but things have changed. 

David Krejci has three goals and eight points along with an even plus/minus rating in seven games under Cassidy. Patrice Bergeron posted three goals and nine points along with a plus-7 over that same span of games. With those two big-money, big-ceiling players operating at their highest levels, the rest of the team has shown its true potential . . . and the talent level is considerably higher than many thought.

It wasn’t long ago that many Bruins fans, and some major Julien apologists in the media, would have had you believe that Claude was keeping together a substandard NHL roster with a MacGyver-like combination of duct tape, chewing gum and an offensive system that only a dump-and-chase, trappist wonk could love. Now we’re seeing there's offensive talent on a group that’s been given the green light to create and produce. 

To wit, the Bruins' third line is now winning games for them after serving as a liability for the first half of the season. Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Frank Vatrano have combined for 6 goals, 15 points and a plus-11 in the seven games under Cassidy after never getting a chance to work together under Julien because they weren’t in his defensive circle of trust.

There's also the elevated level of production -- across the board -- from Boston’s defensemen. Not to mention Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak continuing to produce offense at elite levels. Marchand just set a career-high with his 64th point on Sunday afternoon, and still has another 20 games left in attempting to become the B's first point-per-game player since Marc Savard (88 points in 82 games in  2008-09).

All of it amounts to a Bruins offense that’s now choosing quality shots over quantity: Boston is scoring 1.5 more goals per game under Cassidy while averaging a significant 4.5 fewer shots per game. The Bruins have finally ditched the weak perimeter attack that so entralled the Corsi crowd -- it was putting up 40-plus shots per game, yet only about 2.5 goals -- and are instead honing in their offensive chances between the dots and in closer to the net .

Should people still be wondering if this current B’s run of entertaining, winning hockey is sustainable? They certainly can if they want to wait until the season is over to decide, but the jury is in for this humble hockey writer.

Bruins fans should take the cue and start lining up for their postseason tickets. 

Because there is going to be playoff hockey in Boston this spring. Remember, you heard it here first.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.

-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.

-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.

-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.

-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.

-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.

-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.

-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.