After engaging in a hard-fought battle for the top seed in the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights look to the first round of the NHL playoffs as +550 co-favourites on the Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Golden Knights needed overtime to record a 4-3 victory over Colorado to remain undefeated in last week’s round robin action. Now set as the No. 1 seed in the West, Vegas is also listed as heavy -275 chalk on the NHL playoff series prices as they prepare to battle the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their best-of-seven set on Tuesday night at Rogers Place.
Vegas closed out the regular season on a strong note, going 15-5-2 over its final 22 games to capture the Pacific Division title. The club carried that momentum into the round robin, averaging five goals per game while compiling a perfect 3-0-0 record.
The highest scoring team in the West during the regular season, Colorado has benefited from the recent lengthy layoff, which gave key personnel like Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar ample time to return to health. However, the Avalanche have work to do to overcome a dismal recent track record in the postseason that has seen them fail to get past the second round in eight appearances since 2002.
Fresh off an impressive performance in the Eastern Conference round robin, the Philadelphia Flyers closely trail the favourites as a +600 wager on the Stanley Cup futures at online betting sites, just ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning at +650, and the Boston Bruins at +750.
The Calgary Flames are tops among the three remaining Canadian clubs, sporting +1800 odds, while the Vancouver Canucks are set at +2000, and the surprising Montreal Canadiens sit near the bottom of the updated NHL futures at +3000.
The Flames punched their ticket to a first-round matchup with the Dallas Stars by disposing of the injury-plagued Winnipeg Jets in four games in qualifying series action. Calgary has a lot to prove after suffering first-round losses in six of their past seven playoff appearances, and face an uphill battle after posting wins in just two of the team’s past nine meetings with the Stars.
The Canucks got past the Minnesota Wild in four games in their qualifying round series, and now take on the St. Louis Blues, who come out of the round robin as a +1100 wager on the NHL odds to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The Canadiens unexpectedly earned a first-round berth by knocking off the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games, but will have a mountain to climb in their first-round matchup with the red-hot Flyers.