Analysis

NHL Stanley Cup Odds Favor Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild

By Colin Likas
Jan 6, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Los Angeles Kings — 25:1

The Kings have been very quiet this season, it seems. After Jonathan Quick went down in net in his team’s first game, there just hasn’t been much to talk about with the Kings. While that might indicate they’re having a bad season, they currently hold the last West wild-card spot with 44 points.

So they’re not having a great season (they’re fifth in the lowly Pacific Division), but these are the Kings we’re talking about. A lot of pieces exist from their two championship runs.

Still, their offense has to be better. Jeff Carter has 36 points, and no one else has more than 22. Questions were brought up about the Kings’ identity under new captain Anze Kopitar (who has struggled mightily), and it’s no certainty they’ve all been answered.

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  • You’d have to think things will get better when Quick returns (whenever that is), the Kings will see an uptick in points. And then they can become dangerous. After all, they won the 2012 Cup out of the eighth spot in the West.

    Philadelphia Flyers — 22:1

    One of two teams on this list definitely in the wrong division, the Flyers have an entirely reasonable 47 points in 41 games. That’s the same number of points as St. Louis has in one more game. But while the Blues are third in the Central, Philadelphia is fifth in the Metropolitan.

    So the Flyers hold the second wild card spot in the East as a result. As usual, this team will only go so far as its defense and goaltending can stand up. Philly has given up a crazy 127 goals already (3.10 goals per game), most in the East and second-most in the league (Colorado, 130).

    And since the Flyers aren’t about to move on from the tandem of Steve Mason (.903/2.82) and Michal Neuvirth (.867/3.35) in net, and aren’t about to find another capable defenseman behind Shayne Gostisbehere, that means the offense will need to carry the day. Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds are familiar with that.

    I think the Flyers’ odds are currently too strong with all of these factors considered. But maybe the goaltending and defense can do just enough to make things work.

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