Sliding on Cup odds, Maple Leafs host Blackhawks Friday

HC at Noon discussion on the Maple Leafs coming back to earth a wee bit after their surprising run, also touch on Dion Phaneuf’s simple, solid game under coach Babcock.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are undefeated at home in their past two games against the Chicago Blackhawks, but host the reigning Stanley Cup champions on Friday looking to end a three-game losing slide that has dropped their odds to win the Stanley Cup to 150/1 at sportsbooks monitored by

Toronto has outscored Chicago by a 10-5 margin in their last two meetings at home, but have tallied just two total goals in their last three games entering Friday night’s Blackhawks vs. Leafs betting matchup at Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs’ current skid comes on the heels of a strong 6-2 run over the holidays, contributing to a respectable 15-13 record in the 28 games prior to their current swoon, and briefly lifting their Cup odds to 75/1 after sinking as low as 200/1 in early November.

After eking out a 2-1 victory in Montreal on Thursday, the Blackhawks arrive in Toronto as the hottest team in the NHL, winners of nine straight and 14 of their last 17, a run that has lifted them into a tie with Dallas atop the Central Division standings while surpassing the Stars with 7/1 Stanley Cup odds.

Amazingly, it has been almost five years since the Blackhawks picked up a victory in Toronto, but overall Chicago has dominated the Leafs, winning nine of their last 11 meetings according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Following Friday night’s contest, the Leafs hit the road for a Saturday night date with the division rival Boston Bruins. Boston takes a three-game losing streak into their clash with the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, but won both ends of a home-and-home series with Toronto in late November.

The Montreal Canadiens travel to the midwest on the weekend, taking on the St. Louis Blues on Saturday before a return engagement with the Blackhawks in Chicago on Sunday. Montreal has claimed just five victories since December 1, but continue to lead all Canadian-based clubs with 14/1 Stanley Cup odds.

The Washington Capitals, 4-1 winners over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, continue to lead the way as 9/2 Stanley Cup favourites, ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who join Chicago at 7/1, and the Stars at 15/2, while the Florida Panthers, who saw their recent 12-game win streak snapped in Vancouver on Monday, dip to 12/1.

Despite languishing near the bottom of the Pacific Division standings, the Calgary Flames have improved slightly to 40/1, followed by the Canucks and Ottawa Senators at 50/1, while the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets lag, each at a distant 100/1.

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