NHL playoffs: Stanley Cup odds
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks have the best odds of winning the Stanley Cup this spring. (Reuters)
The first NHL team to get 16 victories wins the Stanley Cup. Now that the playoff matchups have been established, so have the odds to take the coveted Cup. Here is a look at all 16 qualifying teams and why you may or may not want to invest in them:
Pittsburgh Penguins, 3½-1
• Offensively loaded team can outscore any opponent.
• 18-6 both at home and on the road.
• Star players’ fragility a concern.
• Odds too short to take a position.
Chicago Blackhawks, 5½-1
• Shot out of gate with 24-game point streak en route to President’s Trophy.
• Deeply talented both offensively and defensively
• Is the strong goaltending a mirage?
• Blackhawks were 14-1 at season’s start. Value is gone.
Boston Bruins, 8-1
• Goaltending remains top notch.
• Similar group hoisted the Cup in 2011.
• Stumbling down the stretch, offence needs to wake up.
• Would look to others for lucrative return.
Montreal Canadiens, 10-1
• Canadiens are capable of advancing in wide open conference.
• Carey Price is one of the top three goaltenders in the game.
• Some disturbing losses during past couple of weeks.
• Win or lose, Ottawa could really wear the Habs down.
Vancouver Canucks, 12-1
• No longer a No. 1 seed, less pressure as a No. 3 may help.
• Cory Schneider in net makes them a tough out.
• Team gets outplayed and outworked too often to be taken seriously
• Great goaltender can’t go it alone.
Anaheim Ducks, 12-1
• After Chicago, Ducks had the best goal differential in the Western Conference.
• Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan make up the league’s deadliest trio.
• At these odds, there are worse things you could do with your money.
• Goalies Victor Fasth and Jonas Hiller are an unstable duo. One must get hot.
Washington Capitals, 12-1
• Great skating team, had the league’s No. 1 ranked power-play.
• Once team bought into Adam Oates’ system, it surged up the standings.
• Strong goaltending adds to their appeal.
• Perhaps too top heavy, Washington’s secondary lines must produce.
Los Angeles Kings, 14-1
• As an No. 8 seed last year, they blew by everyone in convincing fashion.
• Same team is geared up for the “real season” again and could repeat.
• At 14-1, they are a definite threat and one of the best bargains on the board.
• No team has repeated since ’97 and ’98 Red Wings.
St. Louis Blues, 16-1
• Nice odds for a dangerous group, possessing strong skill sets throughout lineup.
• Goalie Brian Elliott has been near-unbeatable in April.
• Blues solidified defense with keen trades at deadline.
• Kings took them out in four straight in last year’s playoffs.
San Jose Sharks, 16-1
• Sharks have proven once again they can compete with any team in the NHL.
• Great mix of vets, youth and talent and a Stanley Cup winning goaltender.
• History of playoff collapses has become lingering issue.
• Could inevitably meet Blackhawks, a team they went 0-3 against this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs, 18-1
• Balanced scoring, strong skaters and improved coaching give them a legit shot of advancing.
• Toronto fans somewhat anxious about drawing Bruins but it could be a blessing in disguise.
• James Reimer is a cool cat with ice in his veins.
• Buds need to cut down on shots on net and scoring chances allowed.
Detroit Red Wings, 20-1
• Detroit finished strong with four straight wins to get in for the 22nd straight year.
• Didn’t Los Angeles do the exact same thing last year?
• Rookie line of Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Damien Brunner is peaking at right time.
• Inexperienced defense only concern, but at 20-1, Red Wings may be the most undervalued playoff team.
New York Rangers, 20-1
• Pre-season co-faves were 6-1 alongside Penguins.
• Underachieved, but like Detroit, getting very warm at right time.
• Henrik Lundqvist in net is a monster that can easily frustrate the opposition.
• In a wide-open Eastern Conference, 20-1 is enticing.
Minnesota Wild, 23-1
• New faces have created positive attitude on the ice and in the locker room.
• Faced Chicago three times this season, playing tough in all three, winning once.
• Niklas Backstrom in net is a big liability, tough to depend on.
• Played in the NHL’s worst division and needed a win on final day to qualify.
Ottawa Senators, 25-1
• The best-conditioned team in hockey keeps responding to adversity.
• Craig Anderson led league with paltry 1.64 GAA and is capable of winning a series on his own.
• The return of Erik Karlsson breathes new life into this grossly undervalued team.
•Too many young players and not enough offense could prevent them from advancing.
New York Islanders, 28-1
• MVP calibre talent in John Tavaras carried them on a huge run to close out the season.
• Mark Streit and Lubomir Vishnovsky are two of the best puck moving defencemen in the NHL.
• Evgeni Nabokov allows too many soft goals to carry team deep.
• A longshot in the upcoming Kentucky Derby provides a better chance for big return.