Odds To Win Stanley Cup: 11/4
The Blackhawks got their test in Round 1, losing the first two games of that series to the St. Louis Blues in dramatic fashion. However, they got up off the mat and ended up winning six straight before losing to the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild aren’t really going to push the Blackhawks too much in this series as they simply don’t match up well. If that’s the case and the Blackhawks can take care of business quickly, they might have some more time to rest before the Conference Finals.
The Blackhawks are the reigning Stanley Cup champs and this year’s roster might be better than last year. As long as fatigue doesn’t get to them, they’re going to be a tough out at any point in the postseason. That’s why they’re the current Cup favorites.
Los Angeles Kings
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: 7/2
The Kings look like they’re on a collision course with the Blackhawks. That would set up a meeting of the last two Stanley Cup champs.
Los Angeles, similar to Chicago, slept-walked through the first few games in Round 1. At one point, they were facing an 0-3 series hole to the San Jose Sharks. However, once they woke up, they were unstoppable. They’ve since won six straight games, which includes the first two of their second-round matchup that were both in Anaheim. They are up 2-0 in the series with three of the next four games at home.
The key for the Kings is two-fold: goaltending and getting just enough offense to get the job done. Well, they’ve allowed just eight goals in their last six games including just three in two games against the Ducks, who were the highest-scoring team in the regular season. As for their offense, it looks like the version from two years ago where they started scoring at a healthy clip in the playoffs. Believe it or not but the Kings have scored three goals or more in eight of their nine playoff games. They are second in playoff scoring (only behind Montreal) with an average of 3.56 goals per game. Anze Kopitar leads all playoff skaters in points while Marian Gaborik leads all scorers with six goals. They look very good right now.
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: 11/2
While they still have plenty of work to do in the second round of the playoffs, they sure have looked Cup-worth in the first round-and-a-half. They disposed of the Tampa Bay Lightning with ease, sweeping them and in the second round, they hold a 2-1 series lead and have held 3-1 leads in every single game. Although Carey Price’s goals-against average might not look fantastic but make no mistakes about it, he’s anchored the Habs. He’s made huge saves time and time again, and has played as good as any goaltender in this postseason. As long as he plays like that, the Habs will have a shot at the Cup.