Stanley Cup Playoffs 2014: Latest Bracket Predictions and Championship Odds

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2014: Latest Bracket Predictions and Championship Odds
Chris Szagola

The first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs was expected to be a mix of elite speed, intense physical action and unparalleled competition, and hockey fans have been treated to everything they could have asked for and more.

Several series have wrapped up already—the Boston Bruins already put away the Detroit Red Wings, and the Montreal Canadiens swept the Tampa Bay Lightning—but with the competitive juices flowing in the other first-round matchups, NHL fans will be treated to even more entertainment.

Here are the latest bracket predictions for the entire remainder of the first round and championship odds for every postseason franchise.

 

First-Round Matchups and Predictions
Eastern Conference
First-Round Matchup Current Series Results Predicted Winner
Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings Boston won 4-1 Boston
Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Montreal won 4-0 Montreal
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pittsburgh leads 3-2 Pittsburgh
New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers Series tied 2-2 Philadelphia
Western Conference
First-Round Matchup Current Series Results Predicted Winner
Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars Anaheim leads 3-2 Anaheim
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings San Jose leads 3-2 San Jose
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild Colorado leads 3-2 Colorado
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks Chicago leads 3-2 St. Louis

Source: NHL.com

 

The Bracket

For an updated NHL playoff bracket, check out NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.

 

2014 Stanley Cup Odds
Teams Odds
Boston Bruins +275
St. Louis Blues +1600
Pittsburgh Penguins +800
Chicago Blackhawks +500
Anaheim Ducks +750
San Jose Sharks +550
Los Angeles Kings +6600
Colorado Avalanche +1800
Philadelphia Flyers +2200
Detroit Red Wings +7500
Montreal Canadiens +700
New York Rangers +1800
Tampa Bay Lightning +25000
Minnesota Wild +3300
Dallas Stars +6600
Columbus Blue Jackets +5000

Source: OddsShark.com. Odds as of April 27 at 8 a.m. ET

 

Sunday’s Best Matchup: New York vs. Philadelphia

The best game on Sunday’s schedule is the 12 p.m. ET battle between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. After Philadelphia stunned New York and won Game 4, the teams enter Game 5 with the series tied 2-2.

Despite the Flyers dealing with an injury to starting goaltender Steve Mason, the team managed to keep the series close while he was recovering. As hockey fans saw in Game 4, Mason returned to the lineup and still had the ability to steal the show for Philadelphia. After making 37 of 38 saves in the last battle against New York, it is clear that he is back to elite form.

One player who hasn’t snapped out of his streak of futility is Flyers captain Claude Giroux.

Giroux talked to Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer about his lack of offensive success—he has totaled just two assists through the first four games—in the postseason thus far:

Obviously I want to score goals. Everybody wants to score goals. The goal is to win the game and play smart, and I think we did that last game.

It's the playoffs and why it is so interesting, and it is the best part of the year. That is why you play hockey, because you want to play in the playoffs and go as far as you can, and you have to be able to enjoy it.

While the Flyers looked to be in serious trouble against the Rangers, SportsCenter shared on Twitter that Philadelphia’s hard-fought win in Game 4 may have shifted the momentum in this series:

New York won’t go out without a fight, though.

Which team will win this series?

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Led by forwards Rick Nash and Brad Richards, as well as newly acquired scoring machine Martin St. Louis, the Rangers have been consistent in the offensive zone with a constant pressure on the Flyers defense.

As well as New York has played in the offensive zone, the Rangers can do a much better job in their own zone protecting goalie Henrik Lundqvist. The team beat Philadelphia when New York’s defense blocked shots, and the defenders must get back to basics.

The series has shifted back to Madison Square Garden, but with Game 6 from Philadelphia guaranteed, the Flyers will be looking to win Game 5 and seal the series victory at home.

Fortunately for hockey fans, this series has all the earmarks of going seven games.

Series Prediction: Philadelphia wins 4-3

 

*Stats via NHL.com.

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