Round 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs certainly provided hockey fans with the kind of action you'd like to see in the postseason. Now the remaining contenders have started making Round 2 just as memorable.
With the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks and three of the No. 1 seeds still on the hunt for Lord Stanley's Cup, there's plenty of star power remaining in the field.
Here's a look at the remaining schedule for the four series as well as an updated look at every team's title chances.
|1||Canadiens at Bruins||May 1||Canadiens 4 Bruins 3||Canadiens 1-0|
|2||Canadiens at Bruins||May 3||Bruins 5 Canadiens 3||Series tied 1-1|
|3||Bruins at Canadiens||May 6||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Bruins at Canadiens||May 8||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5*||Canadiens at Bruins||May 10||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Bruins at Canadiens||May 12||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Canadiens at Bruins||May 14||TBD||TBD|
|1||Rangers at Penguins||May 2||Rangers 3 Penguins 2||Rangers 1-0|
|2||Rangers at Penguins||May 4||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Penguins at Rangers||May 5||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Penguins at Rangers||May 7||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5*||Rangers at Penguins||May 9||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Penguins at Rangers||May 11||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Rangers at Penguins||May 13||TBD||TBD|
|1||Wild at Blackhawks||May 2||Blackhawks 5 Wild 2||Blackhawks 1-0|
|2||Wild at Blackhawks||May 4||3 p.m.||NBC|
|3||Blackhawks at Wild||May 6||9 p.m.||CNBC|
|4||Blackhawks at Wild||May 9||TBD||TBD|
|5*||Wild at Blackhawks||May 11||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Blackhawks at Wild||May 13||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Wild at Blackhawks||May 15||TBD||TBD|
|1||Kings at Ducks||May 3||Kings 3 Ducks 2||Kings 1-0|
|2||Kings at Ducks||May 5||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Ducks at Kings||May 8||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Ducks at Kings||May 10||TBD||TBD|
|5*||Kings at Ducks||May 12||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Ducks at Kings||May 14||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Kings at Ducks||May 16||TBD||TBD|
|NHL.com; *Denotes if necessary|
With a full first round and parts of the second round in the books, the title picture is becoming more clear. As a result, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are continually adjusting the odds to reflect who has the best shot at raising the Cup when it's all said and done.
Here's a look at the latest odds for the field via Odds Shark.
|2014 Stanley Cup Odds|
|Los Angeles Kings||+705|
|New York Rangers||+810|
|OddsShark.com as of May 3|
The Favorites: Stanley Cup Rematch?
If the odds are any indication, all of the exciting, overtime-laden hockey that fans have been treated to could culminate in a Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.
Both teams have the best odds to win the tournament this year. Both have proven that they have the tenacity and experience to survive the battle of attrition that is the Stanley Cup playoffs with their stellar performances last season.
So it stands to reason that even though we are still weeks and rounds away from the final, you can't help but feel these two teams are already sizing each other up:
Should both teams continue their recent hot streaks and make it to the final there won't be much complaining from fans. The six-game series gave fans five overtimes' worth of action as the Blackhawks got the final say in a memorable Game 6.
Interesting Dark Horse: Anaheim Ducks
If the regular season meant anything to oddsmakers, it would seem that the Ducks are being severely undersold as a Stanley Cup contender. However, their 116-point regular season has very little to do with their surprisingly long odds at winning the Cup.
That would be most likely be due to their season-long record against the Blackhawks. They went 0-3 against the Western Conference favorites and lost the last two encounters by two goals apiece.
Their record against the Kings, however, is one that should have fans relaxed after losing Game 1 in Anaheim:
Looking at how the Ducks' top stars have played in the postseason provides evidence they are prepared to take on the Blackhawks, though.
At a time in the season where strong goalie play can mean all the difference, a switch to Jonas Hiller may be just what the Ducks need to get over the hump. In his limited time on the ice for the Ducks, he is tied for the playoff lead in save percentage for goalies with more than one appearance at .939.
On the offensive side of things Ryan Getzlaf has emerged as a dependable playoff playmaker. Fresh off the announcement that he's a Hart Trophy finalist he's ranked fifth in the league in playoff points with nine.
With a track record of beating the team they are playing in the conference semifinal and a goalie with the potential to catch fire as the playoffs progress, the Ducks just might be the team to ruin the Stanley Cup Final that most are expecting at this point.
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