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How To Handicap A Hot NHL Goalie

If you bet hockey you know how important goaltending is to winning bets. Probably the single most important factor. 

So how do you bet a series when you have the hotter goalie on the team that’s overmatched?

That’s been the case in the Sharks-Penguins series where the Pens continue to dominate play while

San Jose goalie Martin Jones stands on his head. Now the series is 3-2 Pittsburgh heading back to San Jose. 

There are two ways you can look at this. The first is based around this stat: Only four goalies since 1990 have had multiple 40-save games in a Stanley Cup final. Jones is one of them. The other three all lost the series in the end. 

The logic here is that you can be a superhero between the pipes for only so long at this stage of the playoffs before the dam bursts and the better team prevails. 

That’s the way I’d lean. If it’s the way you’re thinking also, Pens at underdog money in San Jose in Game 6 is enticing. 

The other way you can look at it is this San Jose team suddenly has some value in this series at +275.

Something special can happen to a team when it sees it has a hot goalie in nets. The players start to play like they’re invincible with a little more confidence and patience on the offensive front. They know any mistakes they make will likely be offset by ol’ pads back there.  

There is a strong case here for the Sharks also because at the other end Pittsburgh’s Matthew Murray is starting to show some vulnerability. He had a 1.50 goals against average in the first two games and now has a 2.33 goals against average over the past three games. 

Murray allowed two identical style goals over the last two games where Sharks players came out from behind the net and roofed pucks short side over the blocker shoulder. The first time that one goes in it’s a nice goal. The next game when it happens again you expect your goalie to make the save. 

That sort of thing can start to creep into a team’s head. When you can’t score at one end despite machine-gun fire while you’re own goalie starts to slip at the other end as he makes snow sculptures in crease between shots. It can create a bit of panic that doesn’t need to be there when you’re up 3-2 in a series. 

So if you take the Sharks, I agree this might be a rare time where a team that’s down 2-0 in a series actually comes back to win where normally I'd tell you to forget about it. It’s only happened five times in a Cup final before.

And if you do like that to happen, you’ll probably also like the UNDER which has been a solid bet in this series anyway at 4-1.