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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St. Louis Blues — 14:1

It’s still hard to know what to make of the Blues. They seem to be trying to shake their tough-guy image and play some real hockey, but they might not be adequately staffed to do so. As a result, they’re in so-so position with 47 points and the third spot in the Central.

The Blues could really benefit from a weak West this season. With a new captain in Alex Pietrangelo, they’ll be out to prove they aren’t playoff chokers anymore. Of course, they’ll need a scoring threat other than Vladimir Tarasenko (43) to make that a reality.

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The Blues do have options for that — six guys with 20 or more points outside Tarasenko. But new full-time starter Jake Allen needs to be better than .904/2.63 if St. Louis is going anywhere this postseason.

San Jose Sharks — 14:1

How do you like that? The Pacific’s top team, and the defending West champion, has the same odds as the Central’s third-place team and the East’s first wild card (as well as one more team, next on the list).

Alas, the Sharks haven’t pulled away in the Pacific, sitting tied with the Ducks at 50 points. You can’t really blame the goaltending, as Martin Jones (.917/2.21) has been entirely effective. Brent Burns (39 points) leads an offense that has created a plus-15 goal differential.

So what’s the issue? There really isn’t one. This is just what the Sharks are. It was a bit surprising when they won the West last season, as they’re just not an elite team. But they’re a plenty good team, so their odds seem fair right now.

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