Playoff Hockey Producing Low Scores – Mostly
Something very strange happened this past Sunday: The Anaheim Ducks scored six goals – in a playoff game. They beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 as +105 road dogs, single-handedly plowing over the posted total of five goals (–125). Whatever happened to playoff hockey? The last time the Ducks scored six times in the postseason was three years ago. They’ve done it only three times since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
As prolific as the Ducks were on Sunday, that’s probably not going to happen again anytime soon. The under has been the right pick overall during these playoffs at 25-18-10 heading into Tuesday’s action. It’s been the usual story for the most part; incredibly tight checking and superior goaltending have prevailed more often than not. The beatings should continue as we get closer to the Cup Final and the competition narrows.
Five for Fighting
In theory. The under may have been profitable thus far, but a lot of that success was front-loaded into the first round. After just two days of playoff hockey, the under was already 9-1-2; since then, the over has been the right call at 17-16-8. Has the betting market already caught up?
It’s never easy to tell with these small sample sizes. Most of the playoff games have had five-goal totals, with the occasional 5.5 going up on the board – including every game for the high-scoring Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, who now face each other in the second round. It’s more common to see those 5.5-goal totals during the regular season, but even the Capitals (3.18 goals per game) were more likely to have five goals as the over/under for their games. Not so in these playoffs.
A Fleury of Activity
The Penguins (3.39 goals per game), on the other hand, have been staring down totals of 5.5 goals all season long, with six and even 6.5 goals a frequent occurrence. They still drove the over to a 47-30 record, and they’ve started the playoffs with the over breaking even at 4-4 – including a six-goal outburst of their own in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Washington (–165 at home).
High scores should be even more common in Pittsburgh’s games with veteran Marc-Andre Fleury (.909 save percentage) stepping in for the injured Matt Murray (.923 SV%), but Fleury has turned back the clock during this postseason run, allowing just 17 goals in his first seven games with a sparkling .936 save percentage. Fleury’s not likely to keep playing at this level, and Murray has yet to skate with the team in full equipment since suffering a lower-body injury while warming up for Game 1 of the first round, so be forewarned: The Penguins might not be done going over just yet.
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