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Ovechkin’s Capitals are the New Stanley Cup Favorites

Aaron Gray

by Aaron Gray in NHL Hockey

Updated Jan 4, 2023 · 3:23 AM PST

jonathan marchessault celebrates goal against tampa bay lightning
  • The Capitals stunned the Lightning on the road, and are the new Stanley Cup Favorites
  • Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy has come apart against Washington
  • After splitting the first two games in Winnipeg, the Jets and Vegas have the same average odds to win the Cup

The first two games of the conference are in the books, and they didn’t go how anyone would have predicted. Of course, this had a dramatic effect on the odds assigned to the four teams remaining in the hunt of for the Stanley Cup.

Read on to find out exactly how odds fluctuated for each team and check out our Stanley Cup futures guide for a more comprehensive look at how odds have risen and fallen throughout the course of the regular season and playoffs.

Do the Tampa Bay Lightning Have any Chance of Getting Back into the Series?

The sportsbooks we review certainly don’t think. Despite not having no. 1 center Nicklas Backstrom, the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in impressive fashion in Games 1 and 2.

Washington looks loose, quick and invigorated. They’ve had a ton of moments in the playoffs thus far that have brought their group together, from Braden Holtby’s return to the crease in Game 3 of the first round to rallying around what they perceived to be the unjust suspension of locker room favorite Tom Wilson. The Capitals are firing on all cylinders, and they look like a team on a mission.

In contrast, the Tampa Bay Lightning look completely ineffective and overwhelmed after looking so dominant against the Bruins.

Stud netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy has unraveled, their top line and depth scoring look sluggish and passive, and their defense looks unusually error-prone. Ryan McDonagh and Daniel Girardi have looked particularly terrible. They’re going to be in tough to claw their way back into the series, especially on the road.

Look for Washington to win the series and advance to the cup finals for the first time in franchise history. They’ve done everything possible to warrant the drastic shortening of their cup odds, and Tampa has done everything possible to deserve their significantly longer odds.

Vegas Withstood the Whiteout. Can the Young Jets Withstand the Electricity of the T-Mobile Arena?

Winnipeg came out surging in Game 1, but they were brought back to earth by the Golden Knights in Game 2.

Vegas, as they have all season long, showed their exceptional resiliency against Winnipeg. Capitalizing on some errors in the neutral zone, Vegas didn’t need too many chances to score to put the Jets down early. It’s a familiar refrain at this point, but the top line of Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith was once again lethal for the Knights. The undrafted Marchessault, who was dumped by several franchises (both at the NHL and AHL levels) before finding a home in Vegas, is making a strong case to be a Conn Smythe favorite – a truly remarkable feat for the Quebec City native.

The Jets have their work cut out for them heading to Vegas. They’re going to need a much better performance on the defensive side of the puck, and they’re going to need Connor Hellybuck to be a lot better than he was in game 3.

The average odds for these two teams are nearly even, but we like the Knights’ chances. There’s no stadium harder to win in than the T-Mobile arena.

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