Stanley Cup Favorites Shift as Lightning Lose in Round One
The hockey world was stunned this week as the Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of 62 games and overwhelming favorites to win the Stanley Cup, were dismissed in four games by the Wild Card Columbus Blue Jackets.
That shocking storyline has left the door wide open for a handful of teams to go all the way this postseason and its time for NHL betting fans to take a look at the remaining field.
New Favorites to Win Stanley Cup with Odds
Vegas Golden Knights +550
The San Jose Sharks started this series with a dominating 5-2 win, but the tables have dramatically turned since then.
Vegas has seen and raised the high-powered Sharks, rattling off three wins in a row while scoring at least five goals in each contest.
While San Jose is scrambling to figure out its goaltending situation, Marc-André Fleury has returned to postseason form and that’s bad news for everyone else.
An early dark horse pick, the Golden Knights look retooled, refreshed and ready for a deep run, and the experience gained from last spring could push them over the hump this time.
New York Islanders +550
The Lightning weren’t the only first-round favorite to suffer a sweep. The Pittsburgh Penguins, considered a top preseason pick to win another Cup, were crushed by the upstart Islanders losing Games 3 and 4 in their own building.
It’s safe to say Barry Trotz has performed a near-miracle with this squad given the loss of captain and star John Tavares last summer.
This team is not afraid of anyone, and that fact is pretty scary itself.
Trotz has proven he knows the right buttons to push to get a team to the SCF, and that’s why many bookies would pit him against Vegas in a Stanley Cup Final rematch at this point.
Washington Capitals +600
The Caps’ Stanley Cup title defense got off to a rollicking start with two wins in the nation’s capital, albeit close, grind-it-out wins.
When the series shifted to Raleigh for Game 3, however, the Canes came out guns blazing and battered the champs to the tune of a 5-0 rout.
That can be erased with a big victory in Game 4 to go up 3-1, and judging by their outright odds that’s what most sportsbooks expect of Ovi’s bunch.
The Isles and Trotz are waiting in the next round, and the winner of that looming contest should be a serious favorite to come out of the East.
Columbus Blue Jackets +625
As one of the last teams to make it into the Playoffs, the Jackets were one of the biggest longshots to win it all. Needless to say, that’s changed after the result of their first-round series.
As the saying goes, “to be the best, you have to beat the best” and by doing so Columbus is getting a lot of credit from the bookies as a new dark horse Stanley Cup pick.
The additions at the trade deadline (Matt Duchene, Adam McQuaid and Ryan Dzingel) have been home runs. Two of their biggest stars expected to walk in the offseason (Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky) have saved their best for last this season.
Coming off the high of their first postseason series win in franchise history against an astronomical favorite, don’t put anything past the Blue Jackets now.