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2015 Odds To Win Stanley Cup – Futures Odds & NHL handicapping predictions

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The first round of the NHL playoffs were typically epic but void of any real upsets setting the stage for some quality Round 2 tilts. Vegas has released the updated Stanley Cup Future odds to win it all and after the first round of games – they look to have it right.

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So who ya got? Let’s take a look at why each of the eight remaining teams will/will not hoist Hockey’s Holy Grail in about six weeks time.

New York Rangers +275

The Rangers entered the playoffs as the favorite to win it all – they did nothing to knock them off their perch in their series against Pittsburgh. They will have to get by a confident Washington team for the fourth time in five years and down the line they may have to play the Montreal Canadiens – the team they beat to advance to the Final last year.

New York has had some time off after dispatching the Pens in relatively easy fashion in five games, Henrik Lundqvist is healthy and back to form and the depth of this team was on full display in Round 1.

Of concern is the fact that Rick Nash seems to be back to his disappointing playoff ways – he had just one goal (but three assists) against Pittsburgh and will need to get going as we get deeper into the postseason. Simply out there is nothing NOT to love about this team.

The Rangers should be able to ride a relatively easy path to a Cup Final where King Henrik should be able to backstop his team to his first Cup.

Anaheim Ducks +450

The West was always going to be harder to win than the East but the Ducks look as though they have a relatively easy path to the West Final. Not so fast says the Calgary Flames! Anaheim has talent, they have experience (Stanley Cup and Olympic) and they have owned the best record in the West almost all season long.

That said goaltending is still a bit of an issue – those who win the Cup possess elite caliber keepers. Do you consider Frederik Andersen elite? Me neither.

Chicago Blackhawks +450

The Hawks will play the Wild in the second Round for the third year in a row and will have to do what virtually no team has been able to do the last 12 weeks – solve Devan Dubnyk. Patrick Kane has some games under his belt now, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and the rest of the supporting cast are also playing very well right now. Chicago has the experience, the roster and most importantly the will to get another Cup.

The only question mark is goaltending – their starter for Game 1 against Minnesota Corey Crawford was absolutely dreadful in Round 1. But if any guy can rebound it is the uber-experienced, calm and cool Crawford.

In a seven game series I like the Hawks over the Ducks – they are my pick to represent the West and once in the Final absolutely anything can happen.

Minnesota Wild +550

The Wild could surprise because of Devan Dubnyk alone. He has been absolutely remarkable since coming over from the Coyotes in January. Zach Parise has been special so far in the playoffs as well. Do I see Minnesota making a bit of noise in the second round? Yes! Do I see them getting by both the Hawks, the Ducks and eventually the Rangers? No.

Tampa Bay Lightning +650

The Lightning looked totally out of sync at times in the first round and they looked remarkable at others. Now they draw the Montreal Canadiens – a team that they absolutely dominated during the regular season. But you can throw all of the stats out the window – Montreal is going to be a tough out!

Simply put I don’t think the Lightning get by the Habs in Round 2 – Montreal is the more rested squad and that are likely the hungrier team as well. Did I mention that Steven Stamkos failed to score in seven games against Detroit? I know – he picked precisely the wrong time to slump!

Montreal Canadiens +700

The Habs are the best value on the board – period! Scoring remains a concern – they only scored five goals in the final four games against Ottawa and Tomas Plekanec and PK Subban scored just once in the first Round.

The power play clicked at a lousy 5% against Ottawa – not a good sign of things to come.

But and that is a BIG BUT, I am willing to give Montreal a mulligan. They are bound to improve. They also have some guy named Carey Price who is without a doubt the best keeper in the game.

Motivation and the fact that they have a healthy Carey Price could be enough to carry the Habs past the Ducks in a rematch of the East Final. They are 1B while New York is 1A.

Washington Capitals +1100

I don’t like the Caps to get by the Rangers in the next round so I can’t recommend them winning the Cup! Depth, goaltending and the fact that New York has their number will likely work against the Capitals in the next Round – Washington is a few pieces short.

Calgary Flames +1400

I love a good Cinderella story but the clock will strike midnight sooner rather than later fir the Flames. Simply put, the best teams generally win in the playoffs and there are three better teams left within their own Conference.

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