Revised NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup

Posted by Aaron . on May 23, 2016 in

In the Stanley Cup playoffs, four teams remain alive in the chase for the 2015-16 championship. In the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning lead the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, after a 4-3 overtime win on the road in Game 5, with Game 6 set for Tuesday night back in Florida. In the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues are knotted at two games apiece, as the Blues routed the Sharks, 6-3, in Game 4 after getting blanked in Games 2 and 3. Let’s look at the NHL sportsbook odds that these four teams have of hoisting the Cup.

Revised NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup

 

 

St. Louis Blues (5/1)

The Blues have beaten better competition than anyone except for the Pittsburgh Penguins in these playoffs, having knocked out Chicago and Dallas. However, the 14 games it took them to win those series appear to have drained them of some of their energy. They won Game 1 against the Sharks but then couldn’t solve Martin Jones in Games 2 or 3. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock pulled Brian Elliott, starting backup Jay Allen in Game 4. That motivated the Blues on offense, getting them off to a big start that propelled them to a 6-3 win, but it remains to be seen if this will turn into a situation where neither goalie has that same confidence that propelled Elliott through the first two rounds, as Allen did give up three goals. The Blues need to keep that combination of offensive prowess and defensive care to keep winning, but without a rock-solid goaltender, they won’t beat the speedy Sharks and might lose to either of the Eastern teams.

Tampa Bay Lightning (6/1)

After the Pittsburgh Penguins sent the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals in five games apiece, a lot of prognosticators thought they might send the Lightning home in similar fashion. However, what they have done instead is fall prey to perhaps the best backup goaltender in the East now (Andrei Vasilevskiy) and to a team that is just as fast as they are — and a little bit better on defense. The Lightning surprised everyone by going to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, and they appear to be on the verge of doing the same thing once again.

San Jose Sharks (7/1)

The Blues have the edge here on the basis of what they have accomplished so far this postseason, but the Sharks are catching them. The Sharks are faster, and they may now have the more confident goalie in Martin Jones. The Sharks don’t play defense quite as focusedly as the Blues, but they have more energy in this series, and once that offensive euphoria fades from that 6-3 win, it will be interesting to see if the Sharks can reimpose their will on the series.

Pittsburgh Penguins (11/1)

Goalie decisions can bring a team’s postseason to a swift end, and the Penguins’ decision to sit Matt Murray for Marc-Andre Fleury could have done that very thing. The team sat Murray in Game 5 of these conference finals, opting to give him a rest now that Fleury was cleared to come back after a lengthy absence due to concussion complications. Fleury was decent in net but did not stand on his head, and so the Lightning were able to light the lamp four times, including a goal less than a minute into overtime to take Game 5. The Penguins now have to win on the road and then again at home to make the Stanley Cup Finals.