Bruins

Vegas: Bruins' odds to win Cup worse in 2018 than in 2017

Vegas: Bruins' odds to win Cup worse in 2018 than in 2017

The Vegas oddsmakers don’t think the Boston Bruins are one of the heavy favorites to win a Stanley Cup next season, and that’s probably not a huge surprise for anybody around the Black and Gold scene. But the Bruins have actually lost ground from last season, according to Bovada as Boston sits at 33-to-1 odds to win the Cup next season after things were decided between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

The Bruins were at 25-to-1 odds to win the Cup at this time a year ago, and stand with the same odds entering the offseason as a couple of fellow playoff teams, the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators. It feels a bit odd for the Bruins to have longer odds next season after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, and doing so while introducing exciting young players like David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo into the lineup while reloading their NHL roster.

But then again the Vegas numbers guys have the Tampa Bay Lightning at 12-to-1 to win the Cup next season, and that means Vegas thinks there will be at least an Eastern team or two hops past the B's next season.    

Not surprisingly, the reigning Cup champ Pittsburgh Penguins are the Vegas favorites to win it all again at 9-to-1 odds to hoist the Cup at the end of the 2017-18 season.

The Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators in six games and became the first NHL team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back titles with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin driving the bus for the Pens in a big, big way. Here are the complete odds for all 31 NHL teams with the Vegas Golden Knights included as a 150-to-1 longest-of-longshots as an NHL expansion team joining the mix out West next season after this month’s expansion draft:

 

Pittsburgh Penguins                              9/1

Chicago Blackhawks                             12/1

Edmonton Oilers                                   12/1 

Tampa Bay Lightning                             12/1

Washington Capitals                              12/1 

Anaheim Ducks                                     14/1 

Nashville Predators                               14/1 

Dallas Stars                                          16/1 

Minnesota Wild                                     16/1

Montreal Canadiens                               16/1 

New York Rangers                                 16/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                             16/1 

Los Angeles Kings                                18/1 

Columbus Blue Jackets                         20/1 

San Jose Sharks                                   22/1 

St. Louis Blues                                      28/1 

Boston Bruins                                       33/1 

Calgary Flames                                     33/1 

Ottawa Senators                                    33/1 

Florida Panthers                                    40/1 

New York Islanders                                40/1 

Philadelphia Flyers                                40/1 

Winnipeg Jets                                       40/1 

Arizona Coyotes                                    66/1 

Buffalo Sabres                                      66/1 

Carolina Hurricanes                                66/1 

Detroit Red Wings                                 66/1 

Colorado Avalanche                              75/1 

New Jersey Devils                                 75/1 

Vancouver Canucks                               75/1

Las Vegas Golden Knights                    150/1

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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