Friday, May 15, 2015

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Preview with Matt Mortensen

Tweet Me! @CultIcon

"He's back already!" is what you're trying to say. Yup, after feeling like I was done for the night following the Yvonne column, I found my second wind and am back for more. Alright, I have a ton of stuff to get done tomorrow, and I didn't feel like including this with it. Not so noble intentions after all. In any event, let's not waste time; starting tomorrow, the NHL Conference Finals start, in which two teams will find themselves playing for the greatest trophy in sports. Tonight, myself and my esteemed co-host Matt Mortensen will give you a preview of the Eastern Conference. Get it? Got it? Good. Let's not waste time. ON WITH THE SHOW!

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Preview

New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Major Storyline: Can Ben Bishop match Henrik Lundqvist? I'll admit right now, I was wrong about Bishop. I thought he'd fold in either the first or second round like the villain from Casino Royal, but he pulled through against the Red Wings round one and outplayed the king Carey Price in round two. He's the real deal, the Doug Gilmour to Tampa's Pink Floyd. That said, he now has to face his greatest challenge yet going against Lundqvist. The Swedish has been either the best or second best goaltender this past postseason, and he just spent the last series going toe to toe with his closest competitor Braden Holtby (what a shame Holtby can't be here. Is it too late to trade him to the Ducks for the unreliable Frederick Anderson?). This is prime time, out of this world Lundqvist that Bishop is going to have to outplay for seven games. Is he up for it? He's impressed so far, and this is his best chance to impress again.

Secondary Storyline: Who would the NHL prefer to win? On one hand, the Rangers are historically great franchise, have excellent fans and play in the world's most famous arena. On the other hand, Tampa Bay plays in Florida, and we all know the thought of hockey in warm weather makes Gary Bettman swoon more than Sandra Bullock in the opening minutes of While You Were Sleeping. On top of that, Bettman's beloved Arizona Coyotes are apparently in danger of being moved again, so you know the embattled commissioner has to be rooting for one nontraditional hockey market to do well here. The question is whether it's the Lightning, or is it the Ducks? We here at Please Change Disks to Continue...never like to suggest officiating is biased (not true, we totally would if more sports articles were written), but it'll nevertheless be interesting to see how the refs call this one. And how Bettman copes with hockey in the desert not working like, oh I don't know, EVERYONE PREDICTED!

Rangers Player to Watch: Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers offense, though not entirely great, seems to always do enough to get the team the W. Thus, the onus falls on that wonderful Swedish rock star to deliver the Rangers to the promise land yet again. Lundqvist has been brilliant this postseason from day one. Can he be so one last time?

Lightning Player to Watch: Steven Stamkos. After looking like a shell of himself against Detroit, Tampa's best offensive player came to life against Montreal, tallying a point in all but one game. No one else on the ice is going to come close to matching the Lightning Kid's skill, and if he continues to perform as well as he did in round 2, watch out. If nothing else, him vs. Lundqvist is going to be a spectacle that boxing wished Mayweather-Pacquiao had been.

The Mayweather boxing strategy
Gambling Matt and the Odds: The Rangers series against the Caps every game went under the over/under market of five total goals per game except one. I think if you're looking to have a bet on the first game over five goals at $2 is probably the safest and sure thing to back. Exact winning margin for Lightning by two and three goals is $8 and $9 respectively. I'll be putting $100 on Lightning to win by two. Hopefully no empty netters in the last two minutes if they are up two. To the series, I can't see this finishing in five unless the Lightning carve up the Rangers. That'a $8 for you risky fellas or gals. I like the sweeps and my good friend Goose knows how much I love them but I'm not game enough to back it here. I see this being won by Lightning in six or Rangers in seven. $5.50 for the Lightning and $5 for the Rangers. I'll be on the Lightning in six. What about you guys?

Winner: Rangers in seven, and I say that with as much confidence as LeBron has in David Blatt. The Lightning are no joke guys; Ben Bishop can play, Steven Stamkos is a monster, and there's a lot of underrated talent all over their roster. But in the end, the Rangers have experience, they have motivation to avenge last year's Stanley Cup defeat, and most importantly, they have Lundqvist. That man alone was enough to take the Rangers over the top against a more Capitals team last round, and I think it's enough against the Lightning here. This will be by far the most entertaining of the two rounds.

That's it guys. Gambling Matt and I will be back tomorrow to preview the Ducks-Blackhawks series. Till then, get some sleep, party if you aren't living in America (because outside of here it's not that late and you don't have to sleep), go watch Fury Road, and did you know DUCHOVNY is a musician now? The music is out there!

Follow Cult and Matt on Twitter @CultIcon and @HBK4EVER17
Email Cult at

Please change disks to continue...

No comments:

Post a Comment