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Capitals, Lightning Overtake Bruins as 2020 Eastern Conference Favorites

Alex Ovechkin staring
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are now the +429 favorites to win the NHL's Eastern Conference. Photo by Michael Miller (Wiki Commons).
  • The Washington Capitals are +429 favorites to win the NHL’s Eastern Conference
  • In second spot are the Tampa Bay Lightning at +458
  • The Boston Bruins, favorites since Nov. 12, have dropped to third spot at odds of +461

The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning have both capitalized on the struggles of the Boston Bruins.

Across the leading sportsbooks, the latest averages see both the Caps and Bolts surging past the Bruins in the odds to win the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

Washington is the chalk to take the East at +429. Tampa Bay is next at +458, just ahead of the Bruins at +461. At BetOnline, the Capitals and Lightning are the co-favorites at +450 to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup final.

2020 NHL Eastern Conference Odds

Team Odds at BetOnline
Tampa Bay Lightning +450
Washington Capitals +450
Boston Bruins +500
Toronto Maple Leafs +700
Pittsburgh Penguins +800
Carolina Hurricanes +1000
New York Islanders +1000
Florida Panthers +1200
Philadelphia Flyers +1600
Buffalo Sabres +2500
Columbus Blue Jackets +2500
New York Rangers +5000
Montreal Canadiens +15000
New Jersey Devils +15000
Ottawa Senators +25000
Detroit Red Wings +250000

Odds taken Jan. 9th.

Boston had been favored in the Eastern Conference odds since Nov. 12th. The Bruins were as low as +407 as recently as Nov. 27th.

A Capitals Idea

Washington was the first NHL team this season to record 30 wins. It marks the second time in franchise history the Capitals have recorded at least 30 wins within the first 44 games of the season. They won 30 times in the first 40 games in 2015-16.

The Capitals lead the NHL in goals this season (163) and are tied for second in goal differential (+30). Washington is 14-5-1 in the past 20 games.

Defenseman John Carlson is on pace to be the first NHL defenseman to register 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers in 1991-92.

Lightning Finally Striking

The Lightning sat 9-7-2 on the season following a 3-1 loss to the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Nov. 18th. In essence, the team that won an NHL record-tying 62 games a season ago was treading water, playing .500 hockey.

They haven’t suffered consecutive regulation losses since that date. Their current nine-game win streak is two shy of the club record set last season.

Vancouver came to Tampa Bay this week riding a seven-game win streak and the Canucks were dispatched 9-2 by the Lightning. The Bolts equalled a team mark with six second-period goals. They tallied three times in a span of 56 seconds.

Bruins Backing Up

That beeping sound you’ve been hearing in Eastern Conference rinks is the sound of the Bruins reversing toward the rest of the East.

Entering play Thursday, Boston was 5-1-5 in the last 11 games and 2-2-5 in the last nine home games.

Injuries have greased the Bruins’ slide following an impressive 11-1-2 start to the season. Boston has lost 189 man-games to injury. Captain Patrice Bergeron (nine games), defensemen Torey Krug (eight games) and Charlie McAvoy (three games), and forwards David Backes (13 games), and Jake DeBrusk (five games) all spent time on the shelf.

Consistent Caps Worth A Wager

If Boston gets healthy, the Bruins will prove a tough out for anybody in the playoffs. The Lightning are coming on strong, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are15-5-1 since Sheldon Keefe took over as coach.

The team that just keeps on rolling, though, are the Capitals. They were the NHL’s most successful team of the past decade.

Washington owns a Stanley Cup pedigree and rates in the top 10 of almost every major statisical category this season. Alex Ovechkin is closing in on his 15th straight 30-goal season, Carlson will win the Norris Trophy and the Caps go two deep in quality goalies in Vezina winner Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov.

Pick: Washington Capitals (+450).

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