Tampa Bay Lightning — 20:1
Here’s where I’ll note the Pittsburgh Penguins faced these odds at this point last season. Of course, the Pens were going through the process of hiring a new coach and eventually became a lot better than they had been.
The Lightning probably aren’t getting a new coach this season, but they should also probably be better than they have been. Tampa is five points out of a playoff spot, behind rebuilding Toronto in the standings.
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You have to look at the goaltending as a main concern. The Lightning can score a fair amount (2.83 goals per game), but they still have a negative goal differential thanks to allowing 2.95 goals per game. Ben Bishop (.907/2.79) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (.908/2.82) just haven’t been good enough in net.
Tampa’s odds also seem pretty strong compared to the team’s overall performance, but again, there are good pieces here for a playoff run. We’ve seen it the last few seasons.
Anaheim Ducks — 20:1
We might as well disregard the Ducks because they’re coached by Randy Carlyle, who regularly gets very little out of his teams in the postseason (minus the 2007 Cup win in Anaheim). But let’s pretend the Ducks will overcome their own coach.
They at least have to contend with the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers, who they’re currently plopped between in the Pacific with 50 points. They also have to contend with marginal goaltending from John Gibson (.913/2.48) and Jonathan Bernier (.897/3.06).
Beyond that, they have to contend with a “leadership group” that crumbles in the playoffs. Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are the only three Ducks with 30 or more points, and they constantly disappear in the postseason.
So there’s a lot going against the Ducks. Alas, Vegas isn’t looking so much at that as much as where the Ducks currently reside in the division and conference standings.