Game 1 odds have Maple Leafs as underdogs, Canadiens as favourites

Ron MacLean and Don Cherry in studio with Walker and Ennis to discuss the Maple Leafs chances of pulling off a huge first round upset against the juggernaut Capitals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will end a four-year NHL playoff drought on Thursday night when they visit the Washington Capitals for Game 1 of their opening-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series as +185 underdogs (wager $100 to win $185) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto is a distant +2,500 longshot on the odds to win the Stanley Cup and with just a 2.3 per cent chance to win the title, according to PredictionMachine.com.

The Maple Leafs closed out their schedule with wins in 12 of its last 17 outings and have won six of their last eight games on the road. But Washington claimed a league-best 32 home victories this season and have also beat the Leafs in seven of their last eight meetings.

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The Capitals, winners in 11 of 13 overall, sit as -206 Game 1 chalk and trails only the Chicago Blackhawks at +450 on the Stanley Cup odds. Washington has, however, failed to advance past the second round of the NHL playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.

On Wednesday, the Montreal Canadiens host the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their series as -133 favourites. Montreal clinched first place in the Atlantic Division last week despite posting wins in just four of its past eight home dates. The Rangers earned the East’s top wild card with 102 points, but have failed to record consecutive wins during their current 5-6-4 run.

Winners of three of four down the stretch to finish second in the Atlantic, the Ottawa Senators are +102 home underdogs in their opener against Boston. Ottawa has won six straight against the Bruins, who are -113 favourites for Wednesday’s game at Canadian Tire Centre. However, Boston has surrendered more than two goals just once during its current 6-1-1 run.

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The Edmonton Oilers make their first playoff appearance since 2006 on Wednesday, hosting the San Jose Sharks as -131 favourites, while the Calgary Flames open the post-season on Thursday in Anaheim as +138 underdogs.

The Oilers cracked 100 points this season for the first time in 30 years, and have intriguing +1,600 odds to win the Stanley Cup. After posting consecutive wins just once in their past 10 games, the Flames limp into the playoffs as a long +1,000 bet on the odds to win the Western Conference and trail at +2,500 on the Stanley Cup odds.

In other NHL playoff action this week, the Chicago Blackhawks are +400 Stanley Cup favourites ahead of Thursday’s series opener against the Nashville Predators. On Wednesday, the defending-champion Pittsburgh Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets as -154 Game 1 chalk, while the Minnesota Wild welcome the St. Louis Blues as -146 favourites.

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