As mentioned in previous article here at SBR Forum, in the last six years only one top seed has lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As of this writing, both are trailing in 2017 first-round series and one is all but dead.
How could these upset be happening and what have Nashville and Toronto been able to do to shock Chicago and Washington, respectively, thus far?Nashville Believing & Chicago Off Its Game
The Predators have a 3-0 lead in the series and have at least for now shed their inconsistent ways. Nashville speed-wise has kept up with Chicago and that has been the biggest difference in the series, not allowing the Blackhawks to control the open ice where they are so dangerous.
Besides goalie Pekka Rinne, defenseman Roman Josi has been the best player on the ice in all three games and fellow blueliner P.K. Subban has added the toughness and grit to this team.
Chicago's late-season collapse was ignored (0-4 SU) as most making NHL picks just assumed the Blackhawks' pedigree would show up, but, unless a miracle happens, Chicago is finished.
Toronto Youngsters Have No Fear Of Washington
Toronto is a franchise on the rise and given the burgeoning talent on the current Maple Leafs team and in the minors, this will soon be a regular Stanley Cup contender.
After taking Washington to a third straight OT and having won twice, Toronto might be ready to shock the world. In spite of the Capitals again being the best team in hockey, the Maple Leafs' young players have zero fear of Washington and have played the Caps even.
Since taking a 2-0 lead in Game 1, Toronto players seemed to realize they can out-work Washington, which is not exactly known by those of us who follow the NHL odds daily as clutch in the postseason.
The Leafs still might not win the series, but BookMaker has cut their odds from opening +250 to -105.Bet On Stanley Cup Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks