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Vegas likes Chicago to repeat, not high on the Caps


Vegas likes Chicago to repeat, not high on the Caps

Before Chicago fans could even recover from their Stanley Cup party hangover, Vegas already released their Stanley Cup odds on Tuesday for who would win the Cup in 2016. But don't worry Blackhawks fans, the wiseguys think the party is going to go on for another year.

According to the odds released by Bovada, the Blackhawks are the favorites to hoist the Cup yet again in 2016 at 7/1 followed by the New York Rangers at 8/1. Considering what the Rangers have given up in recent years to build a championship contender and the fact that the Rangers have not had a first-round draft pick since 2012, many pointed to this season as make or break run for New York. Evidently Vegas believes reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

As for the Caps' turnaround in Washington, Vegas isn't buying it. The Caps fell all the way to 12th with 18/1 odds to win. Considering that the team came within one goal of reaching the conference finals, that seems a bit harsh, but with numerous expiring contracts there is a lot of uncertainty over what this roster may look like in the fall. This could be a very different team come October.

Still, it is hard to understand how a team like Pittsburgh can be favored over the Caps.

That's right the Penguins were tied for 6th at 14/1 with Los Angeles, Minnesota and Montreal. Somehow, despite losing to the Rangers in five games in the first round and rumors of the team seeking to trade Evgeni Malkin, Mike Johnston's squad still looks like the better bet to Vegas.

RELATED: Grubauer 'really happy' to get one-way deal

Boston also sits ahead of the Caps at 16/1. After not making the playoffs in 2015 and a quiet start to the offseason that included firing their general manager, the Bruins are evidently more likely to hoist Lord Stanley's chalice than the Caps.

To be fair, captain Alex Ovechkin is growing older and will be 30 at the start of the 2015-16 season. It is easy to see how the oddsmakers could be more confident in a Boston team led by the youthful 38-year-old Zdeno Chara.

Despite initial rumblings that former Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau could be canned in Anaheim, the Ducks came in at third on the list with 10/1 odds, followed by St. Louis and Tampa Bay at 12/1. Connor McDavid fever has spread to the desert as the hapless Edmonton Oilers were given 33/1 odds, tied with Detroit and Columbus for 15th.

Mike Babcock will have his work cut out for him in Toronto as the Leafs were given only 66/1 odds. All the way at the bottom at 100/1 are Buffalo, Carolina and Arizona. Perhaps a more interesting bet would be on where the Coyotes will call home next season after the city of Glendale ended the team's lease at Gila River Arena.

So grab another slice of deep-dish pizza and a Polish sausage, Chicago fans! The dynasty will stretch into 2016.

MORE CAPITALS TALK: End of season review: Justin Peters

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby.

Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty-handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.

It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.