After a draining and occasionally uncertain regular season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are finally upon us. Are you planning on placing a wager on a series winner? Or maybe you wanted to dip into the player-prop market a little? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Below is the breakdown of all eight playoff matchups with the latest betting lines. I also tossed in some value picks for each series. (All betting lines from Sports Interaction, and current as of time of publication.)
No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
It’s already been talked about ad nauseam, but the Maple Leafs and Canadiens will finally meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1979. The Habs and Leafs have met 15 times in the post-season with Montreal holding an 8–7 advantage.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Maple Leafs -378, Canadiens +236
HEAD TO HEAD: Toronto was 7-2-1 in the season series and outscored Montreal 34–25.
Montreal: Carey Price, day-to-day (concussion), Shea Weber, day-to-day (upper-body injury), Brendan Gallagher, IR (fractured thumb)
Toronto: Zach Hyman, IR (knee), Zach Bogosian, IR (shoulder)
WHY YOU TAKE THE MAPLE LEAFS AT -378: Domination at the centre ice position. Toronto’s top two centres, Auston Matthews and John Tavares, combined for 10 goals and 14 assists and were a +8 against the Habs this season. Montreal’s top three centremen — Nick Suzuki, Phillip Danault and Jesperi Kotkaniemi — collected just six goals and 12 points and were -6 versus Toronto this season.
WHY YOU TAKE THE CANADIENS AT +236: Use any cliché you want about goaltending in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it might just come down to the netminders in this series. Jack Campbell is the projected starter for Game 1 for Toronto and has never played a playoff game in his career. Carey Price, meanwhile, has a 2.43 GAA and a .917 SV% in 70 post-season appearances. He was spectacular in the bubble last season by posting a 1.67 GAA and .947 SV% in that qualification-round upset of the Penguins.
MY PICK: Lay the juice and take the Maple Leafs at -378.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: I don’t know why you wouldn’t take Matthews to lead the series in goals at -200. Matthews scored seven times (two points per game) and notched 45 shots on goal in 10 games this season against Montreal.
You want an underdog play to lead this series in points? What about Jeff Petry at +1200? The Habs blueliner led the team with 10 assists in 10 games versus Toronto this season.
No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets
These teams will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the Jets left Atlanta for Winnipeg. Connor McDavid and Co. have won the last six regular-season matchups, all in regulation.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Edmonton -228, Winnipeg +160
HEAD TO HEAD: Edmonton was 7-2-0 in the season series and outscored Winnipeg 34–22.
Edmonton: Kris Russell, day-to-day (lower-body injury)
Winnipeg: Nikolaj Ehlers, day-to-day (upper-body injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE OILERS AT -228: Do you really think the Jets can slow down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? The pair combined for 14 goals and 20 assists and were an eye-popping +22 in nine games versus Winnipeg this season. What’s been almost as impressive? The play from Oilers goaltender Mike Smith. The 39-year-old had a 2.06 GAA and .936 SV% against the Jets in four games this season.
WHY YOU TAKE THE JETS AT +160: You hope that Connor Hellebuyck can regain his 2020 Vezina Trophy–winning form. Winnipeg’s No. 1 goaltender struggled this season against Edmonton. Hellebuyck went 2-5 with a 3.96 GAA and .877 SV% in seven games versus the Oilers in 2021, whereas he was 2-1 with a 1.65 GAA and .934 SV% against Edmonton last season. If he can be more of 2019–20 version of himself, the Jets have a better than puncher’s chance.
MY PICK: McDavid and Draisaitl will be too much for the Jets — take the Oilers at -228.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: Any time you can get Connor McDavid at plus money against a team that he has dominated, you jump at it. McDavid is +135 to lead this series in goals. Edmonton’s captain has 10 playoff goals in 17 career games and should be extremely motivated to have a big series.
It’s tough to bet against McDavid and Draisaitl, but what about taking a shot at Nikolaj Ehlers at +1000 to lead this best-of-seven in points? Ehlers had three goals and eight assists in seven games against Edmonton this season.
No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 4 New York Islanders
These teams will meet in the post-season for the second time in three seasons. Sidney Crosby and his Penguins were swept by the Islanders in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Pittsburgh -167, New York +120
HEAD TO HEAD: Pittsburgh was 6-2-0 in the season series and outscored the Islanders 25–19.
New York: Anders Lee, IR (lower-body injury)
Pittsburgh: Tristan Jarry, day-to-day (upper-body injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE PENGUINS AT -167: Can the Islanders really slow down the high-flying Penguins? Pittsburgh led the NHL with 196 goals thanks to Sidney Crosby, who has been vintage “Sid the Kid” in 2021. Add a healthy Evgeni Malkin and the acquisition of Jeff Carter, and the Pens are a very dangerous first-round opponent. Since coming over last month in a trade with the L.A. Kings, Carter has scored nine goals in 14 games for the Penguins. Pittsburgh was also a league-best 22-4-2 at home.
WHY YOU TAKE THE ISLANDERS AT +120: The Barry Trotz factor. The Islanders’ head coach is 8-2 in his last 10 games against Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Playoffs while behind the bench of both the Islanders and Capitals. Trotz’s teams have outscored the Penguins 33–20 combined in those 10 post-season games.
MY PICK: I think there is too much value here on the Islanders. Take New York to pull off the upset at +120.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: Obviously players like Crosby, Malkin and Mathew Barzal will be the favorites to lead this series in points, but what about a bit of an underdog? Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust is worth a look after notching five goals and three assists in eight games against the Islanders this season.
No. 2 Washington Capitals vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins
These teams will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2012. Former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara faces his former team in the post-season for the first time.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Washington +103, Boston -145
HEAD TO HEAD: Boston was 4-2-2 in the season series and outscored Washington 26–24.
Boston: Charlie Coyle, day-to-day (undisclosed injury)
Washington: John Carlson, day-to-day (lower-body injury), T.J. Oshie, day-to-day (lower-body injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE CAPITALS AT +103: The 2018 Stanley Cup champions come into this series as the underdog even though they have home-ice advantage. Scoring goals was the strength of this Washington team. The Capitals finished fifth in the NHL in goals for with 188. If Washington’s third-ranked power play can have some success against Boston’s second-ranked penalty kill unit, there is plenty of value here in taking Alexander Ovechkin and Co.
WHY YOU TAKE THE BRUINS AT -145: Keeping the puck out of the net was once again the forte of this Boston team. The Bruins tied for fourth in fewest goals allowed this season. The acquisition of Taylor Hall has also made Boston more balanced up front. The “Perfection Line” gets all the headlines and rightfully so, but Hall has been solid since coming over from Buffalo. The 29-year-old has eight goals and six assists in 16 games with the B’s.
MY PICK: With having home ice advantage and plenty of Stanley Cup pedigree on their roster, take Washington at +103.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: Boston’s Brad Marchand David Pastrnak, and Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin are all players that could easily lead this series in points.
If you’re feeling an underdog play, how about Anthony Mantha? The winger had four goals and four assists in 14 games with the Capitals since coming over in an April trade with the Red Wings.
No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators
Nashville comes into this series as an intriguing underdog. The Predators dropped their first six games against Carolina this year, but won the final two matchups to end the regular season.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Carolina -326, Nashville +218
HEAD TO HEAD: Carolina was 6-2-0 in the season series and outscored Nashville 24–17.
Carolina: Jaccob Slavin, day-to-day (lower-body injury)
Nashville: Viktor Arvidsson, day-to-day (undisclosed injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE HURRICANES AT -326: Carolina is a very trendy pick to hoist the Stanley Cup this summer. Special teams were a big reason why the Canes won a tough central division. Carolina had the second-best power play in the league at 25.6% and boasted the league’s third-best penalty kill at 85.2%. The Hurricanes also have three reliable options in goal — Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic and James Reimer could each potentially take this team deep into the playoffs.
WHY YOU TAKE THE PREDATORS AT +218: If you’re a believer in teams that are hot heading into the playoffs, Nashville is your team. The Predators finished the season on a 23-12-2 tear to qualify for the post-season for the seventh straight year. If Predators goaltender Juuse Saros can carry his great second-half play into the playoffs, Nashville could pull off the upset. Saros has won 16 games and notched three shutouts since mid-March after returning from a lower-body injury.
MY PICK: I think the Preds are a very live dog here. I’ll take a shot and select Nashville at +218.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: Carolina’s Sebastian Aho was a monster this season and led the Hurricanes with 24 goals and 33 assists and could easily lead this series in points. But what about taking a flyer on Canes centre Martin Necas? The 22-year-old had 14 goals and 27 assists in 53 games. He also had 11 points for Carolina’s second ranked power play.
No. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning
This is the first time that we’ll see the battle of the Sunshine State in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa is obviously the defending Stanley Cup champions, while the Panthers haven’t won a playoffs series since 1996.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Florida +102, Tampa Bay -140
HEAD TO HEAD: Florida won the series 5-2-1 and outscored Tampa Bay 31–24.
Florida: Sam Bennett, day-to-day (undisclosed injury), Jonathan Huberdeau, day-to-day (upper-body injury)
Tampa Bay: Victor Hedman, day-to-day (lower-body injury), Ryan McDonagh, day-to-day (upper-body injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE PANTHERS AT +102: The Panthers might just have the winning formula to beat the Lightning in the playoffs. Florida’s dynamic duo of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov combined to score 46 goals and totaled 119 points — including four goals and 11 points versus Tampa this season. Sergei Bobrovsky will also get the start in goal and will look to duplicate his performance from the 2019 playoffs when he back-stopped the Blue Jackets to a shocking first-round sweep of the Lightning.
WHY YOU TAKE THE LIGHTNING AT -140: The defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning will be getting a huge boost to their lineup. Nikita Kucherov is returning to the ice for Tampa after missing the entire regular season following hip surgery. Kucherov had seven goals and 27 assists in 25 playoffs games last summer to help the Bolts win their second championship in franchise history. Steven Stamkos should also be back for Tampa after missing the last 16 games of the season with a lower-body injury.
MY PICK: Maybe take the Stanley Cup hangover angle? I lean the underdog Panthers here at +102.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: There is plenty of firepower on both teams, but maybe Florida’s Sam Bennett is worth a look as an underdog play to lead the series in points? Bennett had six goals and nine assists in 10 games with the Panthers since being acquired in a trade with Calgary last month. Bettors will just need to watch the injury reports as he missed a few games on the shelf down the stretch.
No. 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues
The Avs and Blues will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the 2001 Western Conference Final and for just the second time ever.
SERIES-WINNER ODDS: Colorado -340, St. Louis +275
HEAD TO HEAD: Colorado won the season series 5-3-0 and outscored St. Louis 26-21.
Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon, day-to-day (lower-body injury), Brandon Saad, day-to-day (lower-body injury)
St. Louis: Vince Dunn, day-to-day (upper-body injury), Colton Parayko, day-to-day (undisclosed injury), Vladimir Tarasenko, day-to-day (lower-body injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE AVALANCHE AT -340: The Presidents’ Trophy winners won a very tough West division on a tie-breaker over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Avs also had the second-best goal differential in the NHL at +64 led by Nathan MacKinnon up front and Philipp Grubauer in goal. MacKinnon torched the Blues this season by scoring six goals and eight assists in eight games. Grubauer, meanwhile, had one shutout and posted a 1.68 GAA and .938 SV% versus St. Louis in three starts this season.
WHY YOU TAKE THE BLUES AT +275: The 2019 Stanley Cup will be leaning heavily on Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly and veteran David Perron. The pair combined for six goals and eight assists against Colorado this season, and will need to produce here if they’re to keep pace with the high-flying Avs. Can Jordan Binnington regain his Stanley Cup–winning form of 2019? Binnington was okay against Colorado this season. He went 3-4 with a 2.89 GAA and .909 SV%.
MY PICK: The obvious pick is the Avalanche, but getting a St. Louis team at that price is just too tempting to pass up. Take the Blues at +275.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: There is no question that Colorado is loaded up front, with MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog leading the way. But if you’re looking for an underdog play to lead this series in points, check out St. Louis’ Mike Hoffman. The forward scored four goals and had two assists in seven games against the Avalanche this season. He also scored three goals and added two assists in just four games the last time he played playoff hockey for the Panthers in the 2019.
No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild
These teams will meet for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In their short history, Vegas has never won a game in regulation in Minnesota.
SERIES WINNER ODDS: Vegas -278, Minnesota +190
HEAD TO HEAD: Minnesota won the season series 5-2-1, but were outscored 24–23.
Minnesota: No significant injuries
Vegas: Alec Martinez, day-to-day (undisclosed injury), Tomas Nosek, day-to-day (undisclosed injury), Max Pacioretty, day-to-day (undisclosed injury)
WHY YOU TAKE THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS AT -278: Vegas narrowly missed out on winning the Presidents’ Trophy and grabbing the top spot in the West division. The Golden Knights had the best goal differential in the NHL at +67. Vegas also boasts arguably the best one-two punch in goal with Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Fleury posted a 2.41 GAA and .919 SV% in six games against the Wild this season and should get the bulk of the work in this series.
WHY YOU TAKE THE WILD AT +190: This isn’t your Jacques Lemaire–led Wild anymore. Super rookie Kirill Kaprizov leads a Minnesota team that finished tied for eighth in goals for in the NHL. Kaprizov scored six goals and had two assists in eight games against the Golden Knights this season. Another Wild rookie could also be a difference maker in this series. Kaapo Kahkonen went 2-0 and posted a 1.51 GAA and a .943 SV% with one shutout against Vegas this season.
MY PICK: I’m not a big fan of taking a lot of juice, but I lean Vegas here at -278.
PLAYER PROPS TO WATCH: Kirill Kaprizov, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone will be the favourites to lead this series in points. What about picking one of these Vegas forwards as an underdog play? Alex Tuch, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson combined to score seven goals and 11 assists against the Wild this season.