2013 Stanley Cup PlayoffsPlayoffs start Tuesday, April 30
The NHL playoffs are here, with the Pittsburgh Penguins coming in as the clear-cut favorite with 3-to-1 odds to win it all. The Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win the Western Conference with 7-to-2 odds, as they are the only team in the West with single-digit odds. The Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders are the biggest longshots at 50-to-1 to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup in June.
Odds to Win 2013 Stanley Cup
|St. Louis Blues||12-to-1|
|Los Angeles Kings||14-to-1|
|San Jose Sharks||16-to-1|
|New York Rangers||16-to-1|
|Detroit Red Wings||30-to-1|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||30-to-1|
|New York Islanders||50-to-1|
Teams to WatchBoston Bruins (8/1) - This club finished the year losing seven of its final nine games, but the B's have enough playoff-tested veterans to make a deep run for Lord Stanley. Although goalie Tuukka Rask hasn't started a playoff game since 2010, posting a 7-6 record, 2.61 GAA and .912 Save Pct. that postseason, he's had an outstanding regular season with a 2.00 GAA, .929 Save Pct. and a league-best-tying five shutouts. Like Tim Thomas in 2011, Rask is certainly capable of carrying this team on his shoulders. Also, it's really tough to win at TD Garden where the Bruins went 16-5-3 this season. Expect Zdeno Chara and 2011 Cup offensive heroes David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to carry this team to its second title in three years.
Vancouver Canucks (12/1) - The Sedin twins nearly took home the Stanley Cup two years ago, and after a 13-7 finish to the regular season, this could be another banner year in Vancouver. The Sharks will not be an easy first-round opponent, considering they had just two fewer points than the Canucks this year, but if Vancouver can get its defense to hold steady, it has the best chance of knocking off the Blackhawks and winning the West.
Detroit Red Wings (30/1) - There is still plenty to like about the Red Wings who enter the playoffs on quite a roll with four straight victories by a combined score of 15 to 3. Goalie Jimmy Howard has solid career playoff numbers -- 33 starts, 2.66 GAA, .913 Save Pct. -- and is eager to lead his team out of the first round of the postseason for the first time since 2011. Pavel Datsyuk (94 career playoff points) and Henrik Zetterberg (102 career playoff points) are proven big-time scorers, and if this team can get by the Ducks, it will have all the confidence to seek yet another Motown Cup.
Pittsburgh Penguins (3/1) - There are many reasons why the Pens are such overwhelming favorites to win the whole thing. C Sidney Crosby is still the best player in the world, as no playoff team had a player tally more than his 56 points this season, and Crosby logged just 36 games all season. Wingers Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz had the best plus/minus in the NHL at +31 and +30, respectively, and the club had an equal 18-6-0 record both at home and on the road this season. The problem is that Marc-Andre Fleury is not an elite netminder, posting horrific numbers of a 4.63 GAA and .834 Save Pct. in last year's playoffs. At 3-to-1, there is much better value on the board.
Ottawa Senators (40/1) - These odds are very favorable for such a tough club to match up against. The Sens always think defense first, as they led the NHL with an 88.0% penalty-killing unit, and goalie Craig Anderson has a league-best 1.69 GAA and .941 Save Pct. this season. Although Ottawa scored a paltry 2.33 goals per game (4th-fewest in NHL), it scored just as many power-play goals as Chicago (25) and has a good mix of veterans like 40-year-old RW Daniel Alfredsson and 39-year-old D Sergei Gonchar to help out budding star C Kyle Turris hitting his prime at age 23. If you're looking for a longshot, drop a unit on Ottawa.