Oddsmakers figure only one of the two Canadian-based teams that have survived the first round of the NHL’s playoffs has a legitimate chance of advancing further.
The Ottawa Senators have been listed as a slight favourite to defeat the Devils in their best-of-seven series, which begins in New Jersey tomorrow night. Those who bet on the Sens would need to lay $1.30 in order to make a dollar.
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The Vancouver Canucks, on the other hand, have been established as major longshots in their best-of-seven series against the Ducks, which opens in Anaheim tonight. Those who take the Canucks would stand to win $2.30 for every dollar they wager.
Neither of the Canadian squads have home-ice advantage. They do, however, have hot goaltenders. Ray Emery turned in solid efforts in the Sens’ series triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins while Roberto Luongo was sensational in leading the Canucks to their series victory over the Dallas Stars.
• New Jersey has a sure-fire Hall of Famer in net, and Martin Brodeur still may have an edge over any of his counterparts. He has great respect, however, for both Luongo and Emery.
“Roberto might be the league’s MVP,” Brodeur said. “And I’ve always liked the way Emery plays. He plays a different style, which is refreshing because goaltending style has been the same the last 10 years or so with all the butterfly goalies who are just worried about the percentages. Ray likes to pokecheck, he likes to challenge players and he’s really active. I’m not a butterfly goalie, so I think he resembles me a little bit, which is kind of nice.”
• Trevor Linden may be on his last legs but he scored and assisted in the Canucks’ 4-1, Game 7 triumph Monday night and his teammates raved about him.
“He was great,” forward Brendan Morrisonsaid. “It might have been his best game of the year. His battle level was good and it was a perfect example of how to go out and lead.”
• In baseball, the Blue Jays’ Royce Clayton played his 2,000th career game at shortstop Monday night, becoming the 16th player in major-league history to reach that plateau. And Clayton reached it despite not playing as many as 500 games at shortstop for any one team ... New York Mets slugger Carlos Delgado ended the longest home-run drought of his career Monday night. He went 118 at-bats without one ... Unconfirmed rumblings suggest manager Mike Hargrove has received a contract extension from the Seattle Mariners, despite his team’s 6-9 start ... And, speaking of Seattle, word is that the NBA’s Supersonics will soon hire veteran coach Rick Adelman to replace Bob Hill.