Will the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames both live up to their respective statuses as top seeds and prohibitive favorites to win their respective NHL conferences? Could both top seeds get upset by by second-seeded Boston and San Jose or could either fall to another conference counterpart in pursuit of this year’s Stanley Cup championship?
2019 Stanley Cup Conference Winners Odds & Picks
Saved the best for last!The final #SlowMoMonday of the regular season has arrived. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/7hMlsYaXnL— NHL (@NHL) 8 de abril de 2019
Thanks to the expert analysis and NHL predictions that you’re about to get, you’re going to have a great idea of just which title hopefuls have the best chances to win their respective divisions and which two teams are actually going to come out on top.
Odds to win 2019 Eastern Conference
- Tampa Bay Lightning 11/10
- Boston Bruins 9/2
- Washington Capitals 5/1
- Pittsburgh Penguins 7/1
- Toronto Maple Leafs 9/1
- Carolina Hurricanes 14/1
- New York Islanders 14/1
- Columbus Blue Jackets 25/1
I’m going with Tampa Bay (62-16-3-1) to easily get past Columbus Blue Jackets in a sweep in the first round before going on to beat Boston Bruins in six games in the second round. In the other half of the Eastern Conference draw, I like Washington Capitals (48-26-7-1) to dispatch Carolina Hurricanes is four games or five at most before going on to get past hated arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.
With the Lightning and Capitals meeting for the Eastern Conference championship, I’m going to say the Lightning are the pick to beat the defending champs to reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. Tampa Bay took two of three against Washington during the regular season by recording an emphatic 6-3 win on March 16 in their first meetings and a 5-4 in overtime four days later. Tampa Bay closed out the regular season series with a humbling 6-3 loss to the Caps on March 30.
Nevertheless, the Lightning are definitely the better team at both ends of the ice as they rank first in scoring (3.9 gpg) and seventh in goals allowed (2.7 gpg) while Washington ranks fifth in scoring (3.4 gpg) and an uninspiring 20th in goals allowed. While the Caps have the league’s top goal scorer in future Hall of Fame, left-winger Alex Ovechkin (51), Tampa Bay has had a record-setting season for the ages that I just don’t see anyone in the east being able to overcome an offense that can almost literally score at will.
Superstar winger Nikita Kucherov led the league in scoring with 128 points while center Steven Stamkos finished fourth in goals scored with 45 and center Brayden Point finished 12th in scoring and tied for sixth with Kucherov in goals scored. While Washington won an identical 24 games at home and on the road, Tampa Bay’s 62 wins tied the 95-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most in league history and their 30 road wins tied the 05-06 Wings league record as well.
With the way Washington can light the lamp, we should see some fireworks if these two meet in the conference finals, but in the end, Tampa Bay is just too good at both ends of the ice to lose.
Eastern Conference Finals Winner
Tampa Bay Over Washington 4-2
Odds to win 2019 Western Conference
- Calgary Flames 7/2
- San Jose Sharks 15/4
- Vegas Golden Knights 15/4
- Nashville Predators 5/1
- St. Louis Blues 11/2
- Winnipeg Jets 11/2
- Colorado Avalanche 20/1
- Dallas Stars 20/1
In the Western Conference, I’m going with top-seeded Calgary – and underdog Winnipeg Jets to reach the conference finals. Calgary (50-25-3-4) takes on Colorado Avalanche in the first round and the Flames are the easy pick to advance, even though the Avalanche have one of the stingiest defenses around. The Flames finished the regular season ranked second in scoring (3.6 gpg) while also ranking an encouraging ninth in goals allowed (2.7 gpg). In addition to that, Calgary just has more talent on their roster starting with team scoring leader Johnny Gaudreau (99 points) and centers, Sean Monahan (82 points) and Elias Lindholm (78 points).
After the Flames get past the Avs in the first round, I’ve got them narrowly getting past Vegas Golden Knights in the second round, even though San Jose Sharks is favored in that series. No matter who wins the first round series between the Sharks and Golden Knights, I don’t see either one being able to keep up with Calgary at the offensive end of the ice.
In the bottom half of the Western Conference draw, I’ve got Winnipeg (47-30-4-1) upsetting red-hot St. Louis Blues in the first round, although I will say that the Blues have been the hotter and far more impressive team over the last couple of months. In the other bottom half series, I’ve got Nashville Predators easily getting past Dallas in the first round before meeting – and falling to a Winnipeg team that has lost its way in recent weeks despite entering the season as one of the top favorites to win the west.
While Winnipeg has one of the most explosive offenses in the league in ranking seventh in scoring (3.3 gpg), the Jets have struggled at the defensive end of the ice in allowing 3.0 goals per game (16th). Calgary took two of three from Winnipeg during the regular season while outscoring their conference rivals 11-6 over the three games. In the end, I believe Calgary is too good at both ends of the ice to be beaten.
Western Conference Finals Winner
Calgary Over Winnipeg 4-1