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Red Hot Capitals Still Given +1500 Odds to Win Stanley Cup

Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals setting up for a one-timer.
Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals will look to join the 2017 Penguins as the only teams to repeat as Stanley Cup champions in the last 20 years. Photo by Michael Miller (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • The Washington Capitals are the reigning Stanley Cup champions and lead the Metropolitan Division by two points
  • The Caps have just the ninth-best odds to win the Stanley Cup
  • Is Washington worth it? Or is there a wiser investment elsewhere?

When it comes to the Washington Capitals, who wouldn’t want to revisit the “Summer of Ovie”?

Seriously, after last summer’s three month party, everyone should love the fact Washington is 14-5-1 since February 1st. Those 29 points have them two up on the Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.

But they still aren’t getting any Stanley Cup love.

2019 Stanley Cup Odds

Team Stanley Cup Odds at Bovada
Tampa Bay Lightning +300
San Jose Sharks +820
Boston Bruins +1000
Calgary Flames +1000
Toronto Maple Leafs +1100
Winnipeg Jets +1100
Vegas Golden Knights +1300
Nashville Predators +1400
Washington Capitals +1500
St. Louis Blues +1900

*Odds taken 03/13/19

The Caps have risen up the odds thanks to their hot play. They’ve gone from +2000 on February 26th, to the +1500 they sit at. It’s the highest they’ve been since January 8th.

Despite the swing, however, Washington still sits just ninth among the top ten in our 2019 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker.

Does it mean you should ignore them?

Capitals a Boom or Bust Stanley Cup Pick

You definitely shouldn’t ignore them. In fact, if things fall the right way, they could be one of the savvier picks.

But they could also fall flat on their face.

The key is winning the Metro division. If everything stayed the same over the last month of the NHL season, here’s Washington’s path to the Eastern Conference Final.

Washington’s Path to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final

Round Prospective Opponent Current Points Seeding Goal Differential PP% (NHL Rank) PK% (NHL Rank)
Eastern Conference QF vs Carolina Hurricanes 83 1st WC 17 17.4% (15th) 81.9% (7th)
Eastern Conference SF vs New York Islanders 87 2nd Metro 32 15.2% (27th) 81.0% (10th)
Eastern Conference Final @ Tampa Bay Lightning 110 1st Atlantic 89 28.5% (1st) 85.6% (1st)

For simplicity sake, this is assuming the highest seed in each prospective match-up wins.

With some tweaking, however, Washington’s path becomes harder.

Washington’s Worst Case Scenario Playoff Path

Round Projected Opponent Current Points Projected Seeding Goal Differential PP% (NHL Rank) PK% (NHL Rank)
Eastern Conference QF @ Pittsburgh Penguins 85 2nd Metro 17 25.3% (15th) 80.2% (18th)
Eastern Conference SF @ New York Islanders 87 1st Metro 32 15.2% (27th) 81.0% (10th)
Eastern Conference Final @ Tampa Bay Lightning 110 1st Atlantic 89 28.5% (1st) 85.6% (1st)

If the Penguins hold onto third in the Metro and the Caps fall to second, they’ll square off in round one. While that could happen, the teams are separated by just four points.

There’s a chance the Caps fall to third with the Pens jumping them for second and the Islanders winning the division.

That gives Pittsburgh home ice in round one. Wherever they are, those series are never easy. Granted, there is one oddity about Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby meeting in the playoffs.

Capitals vs Penguins Playoff Results

Playoff Season Round Winner Playoff Result
2009 Eastern Conference SF Penguins (4-3) Won Stanley Cup
2016 Eastern Conference SF Penguins (4-2) Won Stanley Cup
2017 Eastern Conference SF Penguins (4-3) Won Stanley Cup
2018 Eastern Conference SF Capitals (4-2) Won Stanley Cup

That’s right. The winner has always gone on to win the Stanley Cup.

Thing is, that has never happened in the first round. Even though they may have the better team, can the Caps run the gauntlet again after an early match-up with Pittsburgh?

It’s made even tougher because even if they get past the Pens, they’re on the road for the rest of the playoffs.

Capitals Remaining Schedule Determines their Fate

Washington is the hottest team in the NHL right now, but they will control their own destiny.

That’s because, of their 12 remaining games, they play the Lightning three times, the Hurricanes twice, and the Islanders once. They also have the Flyers twice and the Canadiens once.

Despite all of that, the Caps are still a solid pick. Last year’s experience will be massive for them, and they’re playing their best hockey at the right time.

They also have the easier path coming out of the Metro division.

And if we can’t convince you on the Caps? Try the Predators and Jets. Even though they’ll have to go through each other, the Cup favorites provide great value in the West.

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Bryan has spent the last decade working in the sports industry. He can be found conducting sideline interviews for SKY Sports and gathering post-match reactions for BBC. The sportcaster's broadcasts stream on CBC Sports, Game TV, and Premier TV in the UK.