The time has finally arrived — the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are here and you can just feel the excitement in the air. The top 16 teams are set and ready to push toward the Final.
With crazy upsets and twists among the qualifying round and round robin tournament, let’s take a look at the odds for each series on Day 1, per DraftKings.
CBJ +185 — TB -225
It’s a reunion in the first round for the Blue Jackets and Lightning, as this will be the second consecutive season where the teams are meeting in the first round.
As one of the biggest upsets in the 2018-19 playoffs, the President Trophy recipients were sent packing by a wild card team in sweeping fashion. The Lightning aren’t going down without a fight this time around and are looking for revenge in the sweetest way possible, a series win.
The Blue Jackets lost numerous assets in the offseason, but that hasn’t stopped them from making yet another push in the playoffs. Will this new-looking squad be able to pull off another upset against one of the best in the league that has Nikita Kucherov and Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy?
CGY +100 — DAL -118
The Stars bumped up their seeding by one in the round robin, finding themselves third in the west, while the Flames breezed by the Jets in four games in the qualifying round.
Tyler Seguin, one of the Stars’ top players, is considered day-to-day after missing the final round robin game against the Blues. His return would be significant, but only if he finds a way to start contributing offensively. While that’s a fairly obvious statement, Seguin hasn’t recorded a point dating back to Feb. 29, so it’s important for him to start connecting.
The Flames’ edge in this series looks to be special teams. They connected on the power play five times in the qualifying round (29.4%) and have been equally as impressive on the penalty kill (88.2%).
CAR +135 — BOS -159
A team that entered the return-to-play setting as the top in the east is now preparing to face the Hurricanes as the fourth seed. While a best-of-seven series is a much different scenario than the round robin tournament, the Bruins looked nothing short of lost in their opening three games — going 0-3 and only finding the back of he net four times.
On the other hand, the Hurricanes are about to be a force. Granted, they had some time off following a sweep of their series against the Rangers, but it’s nothing much to worry about. The duo of Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho have been a force, combining for 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in only three games.
If the Bruins can’t get that ‘perfection line’ of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak brewing early on, it’s going to be trouble for Boston.
CHI +225 — VGS -315
The Blackhawks become a different team once the playoffs start — even entering them as the 12th seed in the west. After sending the 5th-seed Oilers packing after four games, it’s clear that they shouldn’t be overlooked — even though the odds in the first round make the Golden Knights look pretty favorable.
Truth be told, Chicago just knows how to handle the playoffs — and that’s mainly due to the ample amount of experience over the past decade, with three Stanley Cups to show for it.
The Golden Knights, though the most recent expansion team in the league — certainly hasn’t played like one. In the three seasons of their young franchise history, they’ve made it to the playoffs, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in the inaugural season. With unfinished business, they look as driven as ever to add the Cup to their already impressive résumé.
Day 2 odds coming soon ...
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