Round 1 odds and upset picks

Could Kings and Senators surprise No. 1 seeds?

Originally Published: April 11, 2012
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider
LA Kings Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesThe Kings are hot and, with a strong showing from goalie Jonathan Quick, could pull an upset.

Just get in. That's conventional wisdom when it comes to the NHL playoffs, because once you are in, anything can happen.

Two years ago, for example, the Philadelphia Flyers made the Stanley Cup finals as the seventh seed, beating the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals to do it. In 2005-06, another 8-seed, the Edmonton Oilers, came within one win of the Stanley Cup.

Momentum is part of it: You need to be healthy and firing on all cylinders going into the playoffs so that you can peak at the right time. But even more important is how a team has outscored opponents in its past 35 games, which is why we could be in for two very surprising Round 1 upsets.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.