=There is no road to a championship more grueling than the one that leads to the Stanley Cup. Hockey is fast and physical, and the 82-game regular season is a test of strength and determination that you just don’t get in any other sport. Many players are running on empty by the time the postseason comes along, yet they all find a way to dig deep into the reserves to make on final push. We are now finally at the final series of what has been a very long season, and there are more than a few NHL fans who are surprised to see the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins as the two teams vying for Stanley Cup glory. These are a pair of teams that know how to score goals, so be sure to check the online betting numbers to see the OVER/UNDER, as I expect we will see some fireworks in this one. Rather than looking at individual game odds, let’s take a look at the NHL series odds, and try to determine who might come out on top.
Taking A Closer Look at the Updated 2016 Stanley Cup Betting Odds
Game 1: May 30
Game 2: June 1
Game 3: June 4
Game 4: June 6
Game 5*: June 9
Game 6*: June 12
Game 7*: June 15
— #StanleyCup Final (@NHL) May 24, 2016
A brief look at the Pittsburgh Penguins
If someone had told you in the early part of the season that the Pittsburgh Penguins (-115) would be part of the Stanley Cup Final, you would have been well within your rights to laugh in their face. The Penguins were a mess, but a coaching change that saw Mike Sullivan land behind the bench seemed to change everything. The Penguins, who had been struggling offensively up to that point, suddenly started to flourish under the new man in charge. The offense turned into the juggernaut that we expected, and they also played defense at a surprisingly high level. They have had an incredibly tough path to the Final, knocking off the Rangers, Capitals, and Lightning, with the series win against Washington being the one that established them as the favorites to win it all this year. The Pens split their 2-game series with the Sharks this season, although both games came in the early part of the year before the Pens really found their feet.
A brief look at the San Jose Sharks
If you want to talk about the ultimate redemption team, then you need to talk about the San Jose Sharks (+135). Last season the Sharks were considered to be one of the favorites to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, but problems on and off the ice saw them miss the playoffs altogether. There was something of a quiet determination about this group heading into this new season, and they have gone about their business in a truly professional manner. The numbers that they posted in the regular season were eerily similar to that of the Pittsburgh Penguins, which suggests that this team might not be that huge of an underdog. Their road to the final took them through LA, Nashville, and St. Louis, which is another tough road.
My 2016 Stanley Cup Final Prediction
Though the stats of these two teams are similar, you have to look at the number of potential game changers on each team. It is there where I believe the Penguins have the edge. I will be visiting my favorite online sportsbook and taking the Penguins to win in 6.