2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final Odds: Capitals New Favorites as Lightning Plummet

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2019

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, celebrates with defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) after overtime in Game 2 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Washington. The Capitals won 4-3 in overtime. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Washington Capitals are the current favorite to win the Stanley Cup and repeat as champions, coming in at +500 odds.

Hot on their trail are last year's runners-up, the Vegas Golden Knights (+700), and the St. Louis Blues (+700).

The previous favorites, the Tampa Bay Lightning (+1000), have dropped to a tie for eighth among the remaining teams after shockingly falling behind 3-0 in their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The rest of the odds can be seen below:

At this point, just escaping the first round would be quite the achievement for a Lightning team on the brink of elimination. But it's been a stunning development to see them struggle so massively to open the playoffs given they finished the regular season with 128 points, 21 more points than any other team.

They were truly dominant and wiped the floor with the Blue Jackets during the regular season, winning all three matchups by a combined score of 17-3. But now they are a game away from one of the more disappointing postseason exits in recent memory.

That's a lot of pressure, though Nikita Kucherov—who is returning from his Game 3 suspension—doesn't see it that way.

"There's no pressure," he told  of the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't know, we just want to take one point at a time and see what's going to happen. We're a confident group, and we have good players, good goalies and we're just going to have fun."

As for the Capitals, the Carolina Hurricanes have put up a fight against them. The Capitals won Game 1 and needed overtime to snag a Game 2 victory, but the Hurricanes pulled one back in Game 3, keeping themselves within striking distance.

The series has also had some bad blood after Alex Ovechkin fought Hurricanes rookie Andrei Svechnikov and knocked him out. 

But Ovechkin's focus remains singular—trying to win a second straight title.

"It's playoff hockey," he said, per Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. "Everybody plays to win and that's what it's all about."

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