Stanley Cup odds update: Avs remain heavily favored, Canes close the gap
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books. While enthralling, there wasn't much in the way of upsets. The Blues prevailing was probably the most unexpected outcome.
As such, there hasn't been a huge shift in the odds for most teams. Let's take a look at the alterations that were made entering the second round.
|TEAM||ODDS (May 16)||ODDS (May 2)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+650||+1100|
|New York Rangers||+1300||+1700|
|St. Louis Blues||+1600||+2200|
The Avalanche remain clear favorites entering the second round of the playoffs - and for good reason. They legitimately swept the floor with the Predators in the opening round. They won in four games, and the run of play was as lopsided as the series score indicated. Colorado outscored Nashville 21-9 while controlling a mind-numbing 67% of the expected goals across all game states.
Having taken care of business so easily, the Avalanche had the ability to get all of their players plenty of rest in advance of a date with a Blues team coming out of a hard-fought six-game series. Should the Avs prevail, as expected, they'll be heavily favored against whichever team is still standing following the much-anticipated Battle of Alberta.
In more ways than one, the Panthers were slow coming out of the gate against the Capitals. They dropped two of the first three games, trailed late in Game 4, and fell behind three goals before waking up in Game 5. Whatever the reason for their poor stars, the Panthers showed the skill level and determination necessary to erase those deficits against a veteran team with Stanley Cup pedigree.
The Hurricanes saw the biggest move of any team following the first round, with their odds cut in half after taking care of the Bruins. They got strong goaltending - the biggest question mark coming into the playoffs - and were untouchable on home ice en route to besting a Boston team with a wealth of experience and high-end talent.
With respect to the Rangers, the Hurricanes also have one of the easiest paths to the conference finals. New York really struggled to hang in at five-on-five against the Penguins, and dominance at even strength has long been Carolina's calling card. The Canes have the speed, skill, depth, and tenacity to attack you in waves of relentless pressure and wear you down. They'll no doubt be looking to overwhelm a good but flawed Rangers team by doing just that. We'll see if Igor Shesterkin can once again be the difference.
Don't let a seven-game opening-round series fool you. The Flames played far better than their counterparts in the Stars. No team left standing outchanced their first-round opponent more than the Flames. The ice was heavily tilted for the vast majority of the series, with Jake Oettinger's ridiculous .954 save percentage being the only thing standing in the way of the Flames and a date with the archrival Oilers.
Edmonton dealt with depth issues and some blue-line blunders against the Kings, but outstanding performances from Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, and Mike Smith helped the Oilers squeeze by. The health of star forward Leon Draisaitl looms large in this series. If he's not 100%, the Oilers will have a very difficult time winning this round - let alone contending for the Stanley Cup.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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