NHL Playoff Picture 2017 Postseason Updated Odds (March 28th)
We are down to the final few weeks of the NHL season, and the playoff picture is beginning to look a good deal clearer than it did a couple of weeks ago. Now is the time when teams need to start getting hot, as a good run to end the season can carry over and mean postseason success. All the playoff spots in the Western Conference appear to be set in stone, but there is still a battle for the final Wild Card spot going on in the East. We are going to take a look at both conferences to see how they might play out once the playoffs get started, and I will finish this whole thing up by making my NHL betting prediction for the Stanley Cup Final.
Analyzing The NHL Playoff Picture 2017 Postseason Updated Odds (March 28th)
Western Conference Playoff Picture
It looks as though the Chicago Blackhawks (+550) are going to land the #1 seed in the West, as they are currently 8 points up on the nearest challenger. They had a shot at the President’s Trophy for the best record in the NHL, but back to back losses have seen them fall off the pace. Regardless, they have real playoff experience and a couple of Stanley Cup’s in their recent history, so always a threat.
There is a real log jam for seeding after the Blackhawks, with no less than 5 teams separated by a mere 5 points. Two of those teams, the Minnesota Wild (+700) and the San Jose Sharks (+1600) are on a serious slide that could see them lose real ground if it continues. This opens the door for one of three teams to get the #2 seed. The Anaheim Ducks (+1800) would appear to be the front-runner, as they are atop the Pacific Division, but the Edmonton Oilers (+2000) and Calgary Flames (+2000) are in with a shot, too. The Flames seem the most likely to run down the Ducks, as their final games are all against Pacific Division foes, including a pair against Anaheim.
The Western Conference is wide open and incredibly tough to predict. The Flames and Ducks are hot right now, and you can never count out the Blackhawks. Let’s go with a Chicago/Calgary Western Conference Final, with the Flames moving on.
Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
We need to start by looking at the Wild Card, which has Boston clinging to the final spot. I believe they will be overtaken by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have gone hot at the right time. You can take your pick of 3 great Metropolitan Division teams – Washington Capitals (+450), Columbus Blue Jackets (+1200), Pittsburgh Penguins (+600) – to represent the East in the Stanley Cup, because I don’t believe that they will all fall in the.
I would immediately rule out the Capitals, simply because they always seem ill-equipped for the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins know what it takes to win in the postseason, and will be heading in as the defending champions.
I like the Penguins to head to the Eastern Conference Final versus the Montreal Canadiens (+1200), with the Pens moving on. This would mean that we would have the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup Final, which the Penguins win in 6.