The Predators (or was it the Ducks?) may have been the NHL betting favourites for a Stanley Cup of coffee, but that was before the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the Capitals – who really should change their names to Washington Generals when playing the Pens – in seven games in the second round of the playoffs. Like a Golden Eagle preying on a turtle, Pittsburgh allowed the Caps (and their fans who bet on hockey) to get their hopes sky high only to dash them against the rocks. The current reigning and defending champions will face the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Odds to win 2016-2017 Stanley Cup
Anaheim Ducks +240
Nashville Predators +340
Ottawa Senators +575
Pittsburgh Penguins +170
The Pens beat the Capitals 2-0 on Wednesday at the Verizon Center. Bryan Rust and Patric Hornqvist scored, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for his ninth postseason shutout (Matt Murray’s injury was certainly a blessing in disguise. Or should that be ‘disg-ice’?). Pittsburgh has won six straight Game 7s on the road. The Caps had a sort of buttered cat paradox thing going on – on the one hand they had Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams; on the other they had Mr. No Conference Finals Alex Ovechkin. Now, though, the Capitals are more like Schrödinger’s cat. Except they’re definitely dead.
The rest of the NHL betting field
The Ducks rebounded from a 0-2 deficit early in their series against the Oilers and won four of the last five, including of course game 7 – where Anaheim finally broke a skid of four losing Game 7s at home and reached the conference finals for the second time in the last three seasons and fifth in franchise history. Nick Ritchie scored the game-winning goal, with an assist by Sami Vatanen. Anaheim has the best postseason winning percentage in the NHL.
The Preds knocked out the Blues in six games in the second round and made franchise history by going through to their first ever conference finals. In your face, Alex Ovechkin! Roman Josi, Ryan Johansen, and Calle Jarnkrok all scored for Nashville in the 3-1 win on Sunday at the Bridgestone Arena. The Preds are 8-2 in the playoffs and have yet to lose a game when they have home ice advantage. Nashville’s postseason home ice winning streak dates back to April 25th, 2016.
The Sens are oblivious to how fans who bet on hockey perceive them, especially as they gear to face NHL betting faves Penguins in the conference finals. “As long as we’re dogs and fighting in the ring there, at least we’re there,” head coach Guy Boucher said. “Over or underdog, let’s leave it at dogs.” We’ll, the preferred nomenclature is favourite, not ‘overdog,’ but if LeBron James can make that mistake, then we can give Mr. Boucher a pass. The Senators defeated the Rangers 4-2 in their best-of-7 series. Erik Karlsson had a goal and an assist in game 6, and Mike Hoffman, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored as well. Craig Anderson allowed two goals but made 37 saves.