The two best teams in the Western Conference this season were the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks and they are the last two teams standing in the West in Stanley Cup betting.
The Sharks have home ice advantage in t his series but the Blackhawks have virtually equal Stanley Cup odds.
Stanley Cup betting odds in this series are going to be close for every game. These two teams were separated by just a single point during the regular season so the games in the Western Conference Finals should be close. The Sharks still need to win this series to once and for all get the monkey off their back in the playoffs. It helped that they beat Detroit in the last series but they really need to defeat Chicago to prove they are not a team that collapses in the playoffs.
Chicago is getting a lot of respect in Stanley Cup odds and for good reason. The Blackhawks have a lot of young talent and a very balanced team. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are two of the big names but they are not alone as goaltender Antti Niemi and forward Dustin Byfuglien can steal the spotlight. A number of players are capable of scoring for the Blackhawks and they definitely have more depth than San Jose.
San Jose has some big names as well with Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Marian Hossa. In the series against Detroit it was the big three of Thornton, Heatley and Marleau playing well. It was a long time coming for Joe Thornton who has the reputation as a playoff choker. The Sharks survived early in the playoffs because of Joe Pavelski who leads them in playoff scoring.
The defense in this series looks even with the biggest name being San Jose’s Dan Boyle. The goaltenders look even with San Jose being backstopped by Evgeni Nabokov while Chicago has Niemi. “We’re going to go as far as Nabby takes us. He’s been the backbone of this team all year long,” Thornton said.
The special team’s edge goes to Chicago as they are excellent on the power play and in penalty killing. The problem for Chicago is that they don’t always stay out of the box. They have been shorthanded 53 times compared to San Jose’s 38 times shorthanded.
Television coverage in the United States is split between NBC and Versus for the Western Conference Finals.