NHL: Putting Odds on 10 Stanley Cup Favorites
Sidney Crosby finally returned back onto the ice, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are still at the top.
Are the current Stanley Cup holders, the Boston Bruins, favorites to win this year?
Here are the 10 Stanley Cup favorites in the NHL.
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The Buffalo Sabres have been a slight disappointment and can't seem to get a winning streak of more than two games going.
Their momentum has been on and off all season, but they are still a favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
Ryan Miller is out indefinitely with an injury, but there is a strong chance he'll return. The Sabres are 3-4-1 without him. He truly holds the team.
If they can get momentum going, there is no fear they will make the playoffs this year.
Los Angeles Kings
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The Los Angeles Kings have one of the best goaltenders in the league—Jonathan Quick.
He already has four shutouts this season. He has played strong in 20 games so far, resulting in a .933 saving percentage. He may be one of the top goaltenders by the end of the season.
They have a dangerous combo this year that could help this team make the playoffs with Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Dustin Penner and Anze Kopitar.
Detroit Red Wings
After suffering a seven-game losing streak after starting 5-0, the Red Wings are climbing their way back. They have won nine of their last 11 games.
The Wings still contain most of the same players as last year. Most of these players have experience and grit.
There is no doubt of the Wings' skills and determination. Now that the Wings have finally found what is making them click and are done with that losing streak, they will continue their winning ways toward the playoffs.
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The Chicago Blackhawks have strong offense that is works well together. They have scored 78 points on goal so far this season, which is the second best in the league and top in their conference.
If they can keep up the high scoring, it will overwhelm their opponents.
The only problem is the Blackhawks have 76 goals against them. If they can step up their defense, they will be a dominant team in the NHL. They are a strong favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
Both the Wings and Blackhawks will be fighting for the Central Division once again.
The Boston Bruins won the 2011 Cup and are eager to do it again this year.
The main reason they won last year was largely thanks to goaltender Tim Thomas. He posted a great record and was one of the best goaltenders last year.
They were able to keep mostly their entire team intact from last year.
It was argued their greatest flaw last season was in goal-scoring. It came out in the playoffs, that's for sure. This year, the Bruins have scored 72 goals, the fourth best in the Eastern Conference.
They are slowly becoming a stronger team than last year and are a favorite to win it again.
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The Vancouver Canucks are a team that has remained mainly intact from last year. They won the Presidents' Trophy and led the league in both scoring and goals allowed.
They were one game away from winning the Stanley Cup last year and are determined to win it this year.
While they are giving up more goals this year, they have kept up a strong scoring game. They are second in the Western Conference in goals scored.
If they step it up, they will make it this year. Hopefully, they won't be a game away but will actually win it all.
San Jose Sharks
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The San Jose Sharks made several acquisitions in the offseason to make their team a favorite for the playoffs again this year.
And hopefully this time around, they'll make a Stanley Cup appearance.
They have tweaked the dynamic of their team by acquiring All-Star defenseman Brent Burns from the Minnesota Wild and Martin Havlat, a talented right wing.
Their defense has improved—they are first in the Western Conference and third in the league in goals against with 48.
If their offense starts to click, they will reach the Stanley Cup.
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The Philadelphia Flyers lost the Stanley Cup in 2010 to the Chicago Blackhawks and were swept by the Boston Bruins in the conference semifinals last year.
This year is different.
Chris Pronger, who suffered all last season with injuries, is back and stronger than ever. He is one of the best defensemen on the team and truly aids that group.
Their scoring offense has been one of the best in the league so far this season, which should make the team a heavy favorite to win it all.
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The Washington Capitals have been the favorite to win the past few years. While they remain strong playoff contenders, this year the Capitals are different.
They are well known for their strong puck-possession game, and this year they are about to be known for their new defensive style. Now, they have a balanced team.
While it's disappointing the Capitals have lost 11 games, the season is still young.
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Even without Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a strong start and played well. They've been hitting the net and attacking their opponents fiercely on the ice.
They are also in a division with great teams, so they are in for a tough battle toward the end.
When Crosby, who has been sidelined since January 5, returned to the ice, it was like he'd never left. They are one of the most talented teams in the league and are the top favorites to win this year.
Even EA Sports picked them to win the Stanley Cup.