The Stanley Cup is the only sports trophy in professional sports where the name of every squad member of the winning team is inscribed on the trophy each season. This is why bands are retired, and the room is made for new names to be etched without increasing the size of the trophy each time. The million-dollar question is – what names are going to be etched on the cup at the end of this season?
The Stanley Cup is the championship series for teams of the National Hockey League and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The most recent winners of the Stanley Cup are the St Louis Blues, the Western Conference Champion and defeated the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins to clinch their first-ever championship.
This final was the same finals fixture as what transpired back in the year 1970, but the key difference being that in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins emerged victoriously.
Who will you put your money on?
The regular NHL season is now coming to an end, and as it draws to a conclusion, attention is starting to drift into the playoffs and potential contenders for the Stanley Cup. Going by what we have seen in the regular season, Tampa Bay Lightning looks like the team to beat. They have only won this competition once before, but the bookmakers seem to believe this year will be their second championship in the history of this franchise. Tampa Bay Lightning is the heavy favourites with odds of +700 going into the playoffs.
Second favourites as per the bookies are The Toronto Maple Leafs at +900. With +1000 odds, the Vegas Golden Knights are currently third favourites, and with +1100 and +1300 odds are the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche in 4th and 5th respectively. What about the defending champions St. Louis Blues?
Well, they are sixth favourites with odds of +1500. Taking a look at NHL Stanley Cup Odds for some of the underdogs – we have Dallas Stars at +1600, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks all come in at odds of +1800.
Toronto Maple Leafs have shorter odds than the Boston Bruins
The fact that the Leafs are favoured over last year’s finalists Boston Bruins could come as a surprise to many, but there are reasons for this. Leafs’ coach Mike Babock is under tremendous pressure to perform and this push might be exactly what the team needs to shift past second gear.
On the other hand, the Bruins are not exactly the youngest squad you will come across, and they seem weathered as the regular season comes to a close. Leafs’ right winger Mitch Marner has looked sharp in the regular season and this 22-year-old could be a player to look out for in the upcoming Stanley Cup.
Can anyone take on the Bolts?
The Bolts were in cruise mode during their regular season and clocked in their best regular-season record by a long stretch.
They certainly did not seem invincible in the playoffs and were swept out by Columbus Blue Jackets, but they certainly have the hunger and determination to bounce back and show what they are made of in the Stanley Cup. They led the NHL with 319 goals which are a whopping thirty goals over second-placed San Jose Sharks.
This shows that they have the talent, depth and leadership in their roster and winning the regular season was not sheer luck. The last time Tampa Bay won the Stanley cup was in 2004, they were finalists in 2015, but this is their golden opportunity to take the championship. You can rest assured that they are going to do everything it takes.
To answer the question, there are some teams that could beat the Bolts to get their hands on the title, just like how the Blue Jackets were able to pull one over them in the first round of the Playoffs. The main challenge could come in the form of the Maple Leafs.