Updated NHL Stanley Cup Odds
Every year, the Stanley Cup playoffs wreak havoc on the favorites, taking a long regular season’s work and committing it to the dustbin. The top seeds in each conference — Dallas and Washington — fell in the second round. The other two division winners — Anaheim and Florida — fell to wild cards in the first round. So we have the Central Division runner-up (St. Louis) and the third-place Pacific Division team (San Jose) in the West, and we have the Metropolitan Division runner-up (Pittsburgh) and the Atlantic Division runner-up (Tampa Bay) in the East. Let’s look at the betting odds of each of them winning.
Updated NHL Stanley Cup Odds
Pittsburgh Penguins (+190)
The Pens blew through the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals, two teams that focus on puck possession and boast strong goaltending. Now they face a team that is built in their image, in the Tampa Bay Lightning, relying on speed and needing a stand-up goaltender to win. The Lightning took Game 1 in Pittsburgh, but the Penguins still have the stronger pedigree in the postseason so far, and they have the higher ceiling when it comes to dominant speed on offense.
St. Louis Blues (+220)
The Blues boast a combination of consistent, strong defense and opportunistic, swift offense. That’s how they dispatched a Blackhawks team that had superior speed — and a Stars team that had more offensive firepower. They wait for the opposition to make a mistake, and then they strike. That’s how they took Game 1 from the Sharks. It’s how they are going to continue to win unless another team that has a better offense actually commits to 60 minutes of defense. Dallas and Chicago were only able to make that commitment about half the time in their series with the Blues, which is why St. Louis is still here and the Stars and Blackhawks are at home.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+475)
Ben Bishop has already suffered a knee injury in these playoffs, and he had to be carried off the ice on a stretcher during Game 1. The Lightning need him to keep standing on his head if they are going to win the Cup this year. They were able to control the action against the Penguins in Game 1, but the Penguins will adjust. The Lightning have speed (but not quite as much as Pittsburgh) and tenacity (which carried them to the Cup Final last year). They will need to hold on tight to get through these conference finals, though.
San Jose Sharks (+700)
The Sharks are a faster team than the Blues, but the Blues have already dispatched two fast teams that are better than the Sharks. San Jose needs to figure out how to shore up the defensive end and then zip out in bursts of speed when the Blues make mistakes. That’s how to beat St. Louis. Martin Jones is a solid goalie, but if the Sharks keep hanging him out to dry like they did in Game 1, this will be a short series.