With the 2020 NHL postseason off to a thrilling start following Tuesday’s trio of absolutely thrilling opening slate of matchups, it’s time to take a look at six ‘under the radar’ Stanley Cup title hopefuls. While sit outside the top six prohibitive favorites to win this year’s Stanley Cup Trophy, each team is offering their own championship value for very specific reasons. Now, let’s take a look at three possible Stanley Cup finals pairings that could all happen, even if they are something of a longshot so you can start planning ahead your bets against their NHL Playoffs Odds.
NHL Stanley Cup – Possible Matchups – Six Under the Radar Title Contenders In The Spotlight
Columbus Blue Jackets (33-37-15) vs. Dallas Stars (37-32-8)
The Blue Jackets (+3000) have the look of a dangerous team after dispatching Toronto in five games in their East Qualifying series and playing top-seeded Tampa Bay to a historic 3-2 overtime loss in their playoff-opening round matchup on Tuesday night. Columbus ranks an uninspiring 27th in scoring (2.6 gpg), but the Blue Jackets are phenomenal defensively in limiting the opposition to just 2.6 goals per contest to rank fourth in goals allowed. Columbus was rock-solid at home (20-12-4) and they were above average on the road as well (13-10-11).
Dallas (+1600) tied for the fourth most wins in the western conference while going 19-12-3 at home and 18-12-5 on the road. Like the Blue Jackets, the Stars are mediocre offensively in averaging a modest 2.6 goals per game (26th), but Dallas has been outstanding defensively in ranking second in goals allowed (2.5 gpg). After falling to red-hot Vegas and Colorado in their first two restart games, Dallas got past the defending champion Blues in their last match before the start of the playoffs, While the Stars opened up their postseason run with a narrow 3-2 loss against Calgary on Tuesday, this team’s defense is so good, they could very well surprise moving forward.
Carolina Hurricanes (38-30-5) vs. Vancouver Canucks (36-33-6)
Carolina (+1200) recorded the sixth most win in the Eastern Conference while ranking an identical 11th in scoring (3.2 gpg) and goals allowed (2.8 gpg). Not only that, but Carolina recorded an identical 19 wins at home (19-12-2) and on the road (19-13). Eight players have reached double figures in goals scored, though only two (Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov) have scored more than 20 goals. Carolina hits the postseason riding the wave of an impressive six-game winning streak.
Vancouver (+2000) tied for the fifth most victories in the Western Conference. The Canucks were fantastic at home (22-9-4), but struggled on the road (14-18-2) while ranking a modest 20th in goals allowed (3.1 gpg). The good news is that Vancouver has an elite offense that ranks eighth in scoring (3.2 gpg) and is one of the most versatile clubs in the league at that end of the ice with a phenomenal five players all scoring at least 20 goals and eight players in total reaching double figures in goals scored. After sweeping Minnesota in their western conference qualifying series, Vancouver looks dangerous at the very least.
Washington Capitals (41-28-8) vs. Calgary Flames (36-34-7)
The Caps (+1300) aren’t getting mentioned very often as a legitimate Stanley Cup favorite, but I’m thinking the 2018 champs probably should be seeing as how they racked up an impressive 41 wins to tie for the second most victories in the Eastern Conference. Washington has been mediocre defensively in ranking 18t in goals allowed (3.1 gpg), but as always, the Caps are downright explosive at the other end of the ice in putting up 3.4 goals per contest to rank second in scoring. Then, there’s the fact that the Capitals have gone 18-10-5 at home and an even more encouraging 23-10-3 on the road. Future Hall of Famer and perennial all-star Alexander Ovechkin tied for the league lead in goals scored (48) while eight of his teammates have all reached double figures in goals scored. After losing to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia in their first two restart games, Washington managed to get past Boston 2-1 the last time out as they await their series opener against the Islanders on Wednesday.
The Flames (+1800) are another team that might be getting overlooked after finishing with just six fewer wins that conference-leading St. Louis and Colorado. Yes, Calgary ranks in the middle of the pack in both scoring (2.9 gpg, 20th) and goals allowed (3.1 gpg, 17th), but they won two of three restart contests and took out favored Dallas 3-2 in overtime in their playoff opener on Tuesday night to record their third straight victory. The Flames also recorded winning record at home (16-13-4) and on the road (20-14-3) while watching seven players record double figures in goals scored and three record at least 22 goals.