With the NHL playoffs now in the conference finals and just four teams remaining in the chase for the 2020 Stanley Cup Championship, it’s time to find out which teams are looking like potential conference winners – and which team stands head and shoulders above all others. Let’s get started so you can start planning ahead your bets against their Stanley Cup odds.
Stanley Cup Possible Matchups & Conference Final Matchups
Eastern Conference Finals
No. 7 NY Islanders (46-25-10-3) vs. No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning (53-24-5-1)
The Islanders took out Washington 4-1 in their first round matchup while putting four goals or more on the board three times and limiting the high-scoring Caps to two goals or less three times. New York then took out the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers in seven thrilling games, including an emphatic 4-0 shutout win on Saturday. The Isles finished the regular season ranked 22nd in scoring (2.8 gpg) and ninth in goals allowed (2.8 gpg), but they’ve picked up the pace in the playoffs by putting up 3.4 goals per game while shutting down the Caps and Flyers to the tune of limiting them to just 2.0 goals per game.
Tampa Bay avoided their second straight first round upset against Columbus by getting past the Blue Jackets in five games and then dispatching Boston in an identical five games. The Lightning finished the regular season ranked first in scoring (3.5 gpg) and eighth in goals allowed (2.8 gpg) and have averaged 3.3 goals per game in the postseason while allowing just 2.2 goals per game defensively.
The Islanders won two of three regular season matchups while putting five goals on the board in each of the first two meetings before being limited to a lone goal in their third regular season meeting.
Right-winger Josh Bailey has a team-high 17 points in the playoffs, based on his fantastic 15 assists. Left-winger Anthony Beauvillier has a team-high eight goals and 12 points while Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau have both scored an identical seven goals. In total, five Islanders have reached double figures in scoring this postseason. Goalie Seymon Varlamov has gone 9-4 this postseason while compiling a 2.00 goals-against-average while backup Thomas Greiss has gone 2-1 with a stupendous 1.08 GAA.
Superstar center Brayden Point has a team-high 18 points and six goals while fellow superstar Nikita Kucherov has added 16 points and four goals. Offensive-minded defenseman Viktor Hedman and left-winger Ondrej Palat have both scored five goals and a whopping eight Lightning players have tallied at least three goals this postseason. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has gone 10-3 in the postseason with a stellar 1.91 goals-against-average.
The Islanders are 9-4 in their last 13 games, but just 4-12 in their last 16 games as an underdog. Conversely, Tampa Bay has gone 5-1 in their last six games as a playoff favorite, 21-7 in their last 28 against a team with a winning record and 37-15 in their last 52 games overall.
- Game 1: Sept. 7, 8 PM ET
- Game 2: Sept. 9, 8 PM ET
- Game 3: Sept. 11, 8 PM ET
- Game 4: Sept. 13, 3 PM ET
- Game 5: Sept. 15, 8 PM ET
- Game 6: Sept. 17, 8 PM ET
- Game 7: Sept. 19, 7:30 PM ET
While the Islanders are flying high and scoring goals consistently, I still like Tampa Bay to get the job done in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning can score goals in the blink of an eye – or maybe you missed their jaw-dropping, seven-goal performance against Boston in Game 3 of their semifinals showdown. I loke the way the Islanders are playing and I believe they will definitely challenge Tampa Bay in this series, but in the end, I’ve got Tampa Bay advancing baed on their powerful offense and rock-solid net-minding.
Western Conference Finals
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights (50-29-6-2) vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars (47-31-5-3)
Dallas took out Calgary in six games in the first round before getting past Colorado in seven games. The Stars took Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals by beating Vegas 1-0 on Sunday as John Klingber scored the game’s only goal. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen has out a whopping 21 points on the board while scoring five goals. Right-winger Denis Gurianov has eight goals and seven assist while left-winger Jamie Benn has five goals and nine assists. In all, a mind-boggling seven players have reached double figures in scoring for Dallas this postseason.
Vegas made quick work of Chicago in dispatching the Blackhawks in five games in the first round before getting past feisty Vancouver in seven games, including their 3-0 Game 7 shutout on Friday. Defenseman Shea Theodore has a team-high 16 points and six goals while right-winger Mark Stone has added six goals and nine assists. Two more right-wingers, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch have scored 13 and 10 points respectively while center Jonathan Marchessault has added three goals and six assists.
These two rivals have split four meetings this season. Dallas is 4-0 in their last 4 games against team from the Pacific division while also going 8-3 in their last 11 overall. Vegas is 4-1 in their last five conference finals games, 22-7 in their last 29 games overall and 18-7 in their last 25 games as a favorite.
- Game 1: Stars 1, Golden Knights 0
- Game 2: Sept. 8, 8 PM ET
- Game 3: Sept. 10, 8 PM ET
- Game 4: Sept. 12, 8 PM ET
- Game 5: Sept. 14, 8 PM ET
- Game 6: Sept. 16, 8 PM ET
- Game 7: Sept. 18, 9 PM ET
The Knights might have dropped Game 1 against Dallas on Sunday, but I’ve had the Golden Knights as my Stanley Cup winner since just before the end of the regular season and I’m sticking with Vegas to get it done, based on their outstanding defense, net-minding and explosive offense.
Stanley Cup Finals
I’ve got Tampa Bay and Vegas meeting in the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Finals and you should too!
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