NHL Betting Futures: Ducks & Blackhawks Lead the Western Conference

David Lawrence

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 11:59 AM GMT

Take advantage of our updated Futures Odds analysis for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, focusing here on the Western Conference with top contenders Anaheim Ducks & Chicago Blackhawks.

On The Rise: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks should be going deeper in the playoffs than they have in recent seasons and that’s great news. Goaltender Frederik Andersen has been unconscious in the playoffs as he’s only had one off game. He gave up four goals in Game 3 against the Winnipeg Jets but he’s allowed a total of five goals in the other five playoff games so far. On top of that, the Ducks are leading all playoff teams with 4.17 goals per game.

However, the downside is that Anaheim has had some relatively easy competition so far with Winnipeg and Calgary. They’re on a collision course with the Chicago Blackhawks and in that series, we’ll see whether the Ducks have actually grown or whether they’ve merely faced cupcake opponents to get to the conference final.

 

On The Rise: Chicago Blackhawks
Thought the Blackhawks were vulnerable? Think again. After having some goaltending issues in Round 1, the Blackhawks have really settled in during Round 2. Corey Crawford is again the main man and he’s getting plenty of support at the offensive end. The Blackhawks are third in terms of postseason goals per game, averaging 3.38 so far. They have been forced into a number of high-scoring games but they continue to find ways to execute and win, such as the overtime games in Round 1.

With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane playing at such a high level, it’s tough to see anyone in the Western Conference taking this team down. They’ve been there before and they’ve done that; no one else in the conference has that pedigree; so keep this in mind when looking at the NHL betting odds.

 

On The Decline: Minnesota Wild
The Wild still have a chance to subdue the Chicago Blackhawks but they have to show something in Game 3. Their main advantage in this second-round series was supposed to be goaltending but they’ve given up eight goals in two games so far. Devan Dubnyk is supposed to be the man that carries this team deep into the playoffs but unless they can figure out how to stop Chicago, their postseason journey will end shortly.

The problem is that the Blackhawks are so tough to beat at home and Minnesota hasn’t been able to do it so far. If Chicago steals one in Minnesota, this series is over. Even if they don’t, they are playing so well right now that they probably advance.

 

On The Decline: Calgary Flames
The Flames look like they’re in trouble. They’re a young team who clearly doesn’t look like they belong. They’ve been outclassed by the Anaheim Ducks through the first two games while being outscored 9-1. Yes, they have two games coming up at home but the truth is they are too young, too raw and too inexperienced to really make a difference. One way or another – likely sooner rather than later – they are going to be exiting the playoffs.