Editorials

NHL: Stanley Cup Odds For 16 Contenders

By Mike Brennan
Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 9, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 5: Montreal Canadiens, 12/1

Record: 23-17-3, 49 points

Coming in at No. 5 is my favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs jumped out of the gate to a 9-0-0 record to start the year, but suffered a long-term injury to their most important player in Carey Price. With only 12 games under his belt this season, Price was allowing 2.06 goals per game and had a .934 save percentage. Those numbers are the main reason why the Canadiens came out of the gate flying, and why they will come out flying once again when Price comes back. However, they will have to wait a little while, as he is not expected back from his lower-body injury until after the All-Star Game at the end of the month.

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The front end for the Habs is stellar this season. Last season, this team was built from Price out, and that was evident as they had trouble putting goals on the board during the postseason. Not this Canadiens team. Their first line of Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher is one of the most underrated lines in hockey, and one of the best lines in hockey. Combined, they have 36 goals and 57 assists, with Pacioretty having the most goals. Looking down to the third line, David Desharnais is the center who could pass for a second or even first liner on many other teams.

The defense is led by one of my favorite players in the league P.K. Subban. He has 27 assists and two goals and a plus/minus rating of 11. He dominates ice time for the Habs and is a big reason why the Canadiens still have the ninth-best goals against total, even while the team has gone through some major slumping as of late. He also has some of the best celebrations in hockey.

Even through everything, I am sticking with my preseason prediction of the Canadiens winning the Cup.

Next: No. 4: Chicago Blackhawks

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