We are getting closer and closer to the May 11 start of the NHL playoffs. As this picture slowly comes into view, the Stanley Cup odds continually adjust to the changing reality. The favorites continue to be the Colorado Avalanche, with last year’s winner nipping at their tail.
Carolina Hurricanes Blow into the Playoffs
With ease, the Carolina Hurricanes have clinched their berth in the 202 NHL playoffs. On Monday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, they just needed to score a point, which they did easily, by making it to overtime. This game them their 69th point in the standings.
Even though the Hurricanes lost their match against the Dallas Stars (3-4), they are cruising into the postseason. For the first time in franchise history, the Hurricanes have made it to the playoffs for three consecutive years.
The Canes currently sit atop the Central Division, and they could drop down to the fourth spot and still make it to the playoffs. This is how they have been able to clinch the playoffs so early. Currently, they would face off against the Nashville Predators in the playoffs.
They have a fairly easy schedule left in the regular season. After this weekend, they will not face the number two or three in the Central division. This will allow them to steer clear of dangers and rest up for the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins on the Rise
The Penguins are quickly rising in the odds to win the Stanley Cup. While the Penguins have not yet clinched their playoff berth, they currently sit atop the East Division, just a hair above the Washington Capitals.
The Penguins were considered longshots to make it all the way…until recently. They have won 14 of their lost 19 games, and earned points in an additional two. And they have done this with disruptions to their rosters. They have been successful both with and without Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen.
And this boost could be key for the Penguins. We expect them to clinch their playoff spot shortly, leaving home-ice advantage as the main goal. If the Penguins can play in Pittsburg, they could be nearly unstoppable. Their at-home record 20-3-2 is enviable and could help them glide all the way to the Stanley Cup.
Expect the Panthers to Clinch Soon
The Florida Panthers are right behind the Canes as we head into the final weeks of hockey’s regular season.
They even had the chance to clinch, but the Predators held them off, and held onto their fourth spot in the Central Division. With this, they blocked the Panthers from clinching and held onto their playoff prospects.
And they lost handily to the Predators. Saros made 39 saves, thus golding his opponents to just one goal. The first time in nearly a month the Panthers have only scored one goal.
The Panthers outshot Nashville, but their goalies were simply on point. The Panthers will have to do better if they hope to overcome the Canes and earn home-ice advantage.