2011 NHL Playoffs Predictions: Updated Odds to Win the Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are always an exciting time of year. The officials take a bit of a break, goaltenders play beyond themselves and players generally give everything they have and then some.
If you had asked anyone at the start of the season who was the favorite to win the 2011 Stanley Cup, you would probably have heard the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals or the Detroit Red Wings.
If someone told you the Nashville Predators would be in the mix this year, would you have believed them?
With all 16 teams having played the first game of the respective series, it's time to have a look at what the oddsmakers are now saying about each team's chances of winning the Stanley Cup are.
Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks
During the regular season, the Vancouver Canucks led the league in several team categories. Points (117), goals per game (3.15), winning percentage (.713), goals against per game (2.20), power play percentage (24.3), face-off win percentage (54.9) and were second only to the Pittsburgh Penguins on the penalty kill (85.6).
This is a powerhouse team.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand, almost limped into the postseason thanks in part to a bit of a collapse by the Dallas Stars who manged only six wins in their final 15 regular-season games.
That being said, for an eighth place team, the Blackhawks posted some impressive numbers along the way, despite the loss of several of their key players from the playoffs of 2009/2010.
Finishing fourth over all in goals per game (3.07) and power play percentage (23.1) the Hawks had their troubles on the penalty kill (79.2 percent, 25th in the league), and 12-19-4 when scored on first.
The latest lines on the Chicago Blackhawks repeating as Stanley Cup Champions show the odds at 30-1 according to www.belmont.com after falling behind in the series 1-0 to the Canucks who are currently heavy favorites at 9-4 to go all the way this year.
Wahington Capitals vs New York Rangers
During last year's playoffs the Washington Capitals surprised everyone by falling in the first round to the Montreal Canadiens. Hockey experts pointed to several areas on the team that had fundamental flaws the biggest of which was overall team defense.
Though they were tops in the NHL last year in terms of goals per game (3.62), their goals against per game was a less than stellar 2.77 good enough for 16th overall in the NHL while their penalty kill last year was 25th in the league at 78.8 percent.
What a difference a season makes.
Thanks to an almost complete revamping of team defense, the Alex Ovechkin led Washington Capitals had during the 2010-2011 regular season the second best penalty kill in the league (85.6 percent) and the fourth best goals against per game with a respectable 2.33, but in the process dropped from first overall last year in goals for all the way down to 19th this year.
The New York Rangers are one of two teams in the Eastern Conference that last season were on the outside looking in when it came playoff time.
Though the Rangers are a team that no one expect much out of, it would be unwise to count the Rangers out just yet.
With one of the league's best between the pipes Hendrik Lundqvist, super pest Sean Avery and veterans Brian McCabe. Marion Gaborik and Ruslan Fedotenko among others the Rangers may not look like they could beat the Capitals, but neither did the Canadiens.
The Current line on the Caps is 5-1 while the odds the Ranger will hoist the Holy Grail of hockey is 40-1.
San Jose Sharks vs LA Kings
The first time in history the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings have faced each other in the playoffs has all the potential to be one of the best series in recent memory.
In San Jose, you have a team that although they've never made it to the Stanley Cup finals have been to the postseason 15 of their 20 years in the league and to the Western Conference Finals twice.
The men who move the lines currently have the Sharks as 4-1 favorites to win it all.
The LA Kings made their first postseason appearance in seven years last year and were dominated in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks four games to two.
This year promises to be a little different for fans of the Kings.
A little older, a little wiser, the Kings have what could be the perfect combination of fast skating skilled youth and a little veteran leadership to get them deep into the playoffs, although oddsmakers are only giving them a 25-1 shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres
Watching the Buffalo Sabres play hockey is a little like watching the NJ Devils play hockey.....only much faster.
Buffalo's stifling style is becoming the stuff of legend, and it could quickly find their first-round opponent Philadelphia in a place they don't want to be, on the golf course.
The two teams virtually split the season series with one game taking extra time to decide. The Sabres are a fairly balanced team overall and have the edge over the Flyers in both penalty kill as well as power play stats.
Those two areas combined with the fact that the Sabres tend to take fewer penalties overall should have the Sabres favored to win the series.
Alas, the oddsmakers have the Flyers favored to win the series by virtue of their 9-1 odds to win the cup compared to Buffalo's chances, which come in today at 16-1.
Detroit Red Wings vs Phoenix Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes must feel like a 'deer in the headlights' right now. Between facing perennial powerhouse Detroit, and reports breaking this week about an almost definite offseason move to Winnipeg.
Despite adding fuel to the re-location rumor 'fire', Sportsnets Nick Kypreos later clarified his position writes Globe Sports Bruce Dowbiggin.
“I didn’t say that it was happening,” Kypreos told Usual Suspects. “I said we were hearing the same thing from different sources. We had Wayne Gretzky on, and he said that it didn’t look good for Phoenix, too. Next thing, my e-mail is filling up like crazy.”
“We were just talking about it,” Kypreos lamented. “That’s why we didn’t call the NHL about it. We weren’t saying it was a scoop or anything.”
NHL Deputy commissioner Bill Daly was quick to react.
“The report is untrue,” Daly said in a statement. “No decisions have been made at this point in time, and there has not been a timetable set for making that decision. - Canadian Press
All of that being said, even without the outside distraction, the Coyotes aren't likely to make it out of the first round and the odds makers don't hold much hope either with the Phoenix' odds at 40-1 of winning the cup.
Detroit has much better odds at just 7-1 despite the fact that during the regular season against the Coyotes, three games went to extra time.
Boston Btuin vs Montreal Canadiens
Apparently the Montreal Canadiens didn't get the memo that said the Boston Bruins were to be the Stanley Cup Champions in 2011.
According to a computer run simulation on What If Sports.com, the Bruins will in fact defeat the Canadiens, Penguins and Flyers en route to defeating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the cup.
Already down 1-0 in the series thanks in large part to the continuing excellent play of Montreal goal tender Cary Price, the Bruins will be in tough if the lose the next game as well.
Oddsmakers are giving the Bruins better odds at winning the cup (9-1) than the Canadiens (25-1), although last season's edition of the Montreal Canadiens proved that the men who move the lines don't always know everything.
Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators
Clear favorite Anaheim was perhaps surprised by the Predators in a game one loss but given the regular-season success of Nashville versus the Ducks, perhaps not.
The Predators owned the Ducks in the regular season going 3-1-0 and finishing 7-2-1 in the last 10 games overall.
Perhaps the toughest first round series to call for most people, even the linemakers have the two pretty even with Nashville having a slight edge to win the cup at 18-1 compared to the Ducks at 20-1.
Of all the first round matchups, this may prove to be the most exciting and fast-paced. Hold on to your hats!
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Although you would think that the absence of both Crosby and Malkin would have spelled the end for the hopes of the Penguins aspirations of a Stanley Cup, the team finished fourth in the Eastern Conference Standings just one point behind the Capitals for first.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning having all kinds of question marks regarding size and grit, one would think that the Penguins will have a pretty easy time with them, but the season series between the two was a dead split with both teams going 2-2-0.
Oddsmakers aren't having as much difficulty picking a winner though, with the Pens 9-1 favorites to win the Stanley Cup compared to the Lightnings chances listed at 25-1.
The Quick List
- Vancouver 9-4
- Washington 4-1
- San Jose 5-1
- Detroit 7-1
- Boston 12-1
- Philly 12-1
- Pittsburgh 12-1
- Anaheim 15-1
- Tampa Bay 15-1
- Buffalo 18-1
- Montreal 20-1
- Nashville 25-1
- Los Angeles 50-1
- Phoenix 50-1
- Chicago 60-1
- New York Rangers 100-1
- Vancouver 7-4
- Washington 5-1
- Detroit 5-1
- San Jose 5-1
- Philadelphia 9-1
- Pittsburgh 10-1
- Boston 12-1
- Nashville Predators-1
- Anaheim Duck 20-1
- Montreal 20-1
- Tampa Bay20-1
- Buffalo 30-1
- New York Rangers 50-1
- Chicago 50-1
- Las Angeles 100-1
- Phoenix 300-1
- Vancouver 9-4
- San Jose 7-2
- Washington 9-2
- Detroit 5-1
- Pittsburgh 8-1
- Boston 10-1
- Philadelphia 12-1
- Anaheim 15-1
- Buffalo 25-1
- Chicago 30-1
- Montreal 30-1
- Nashville 40-1
- Tampa Bay 80-1
- Las Angeles 200-1
- NY Rangers 200-1
Be sure to check back here daily each morning for up-dated NHL Stanley Cup odds.
Last update April 16, 2011 2:15pm EST.
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