The New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks both hold down leads in their respective conference finals as the NHL playoffs resume on Wednesday night, so it's not a surprise that a series between those Original Six clubs is set as the favored matchup at the sportsbooks.
No surprise either that the defending champion Blackhawks hold down the top betting spot in Stanley Cup odds at shops such as Sports Interaction.
A Blackhawks vs. Rangers Stanley Cup final is listed as the -200 favorite on the matchup odds right now at the sportsbooks, followed by Kings vs. Rangers at +275, Blackhawks vs. Canadiens at +700, and Kings vs. Canadiens at +2000.
Chicago has a 1-0 lead on Los Angeles in the Western Conference final heading into Game 2 of that series on Wednesday night, while New York is up 2-0 on Montreal heading into their Game 3 on Thursday night.
And the Blackhawks and Rangers are also in a tight race right now for top spot on the odds to win the Stanley Cup at the sportsbooks, with the latest lines having Chicago at +120 and New York at +140. The Blackhawks topped the Kings 3-1 in the opener of the Western Conference final on the weekend and didn't have much trouble dispatching Los Angeles at this stage of the NHL playoffs last season.
The Rangers outscored the Canadiens 10-3 in Montreal in the first two games of the Eastern Conference final, and won't see Carey Price between the pipes for the rest of this series as the gold-medallist goaltender suffered a knee injury in Game 1.
With Price on the injury report the Canadiens have dropped to +1800 on the odds to win the Stanley Cup at the sportsbooks, and they're +600 underdogs to stage a comeback and beat the Rangers (-900) in the Eastern final. Los Angeles is at +500 to win the Cup and at +240 to win the Western final; the Hawks are sitting as the favorites at -280 on those series prices.
On the NHL betting trends as the conference finals resume, the Rangers have won three of their last four games against the Canadiens with the UNDER paying out seven times for totals bettors in the last eight games between the teams - with Game 1 the obvious OVER result.
Chicago is on a six-game winning streak against Los Angeles dating back to last year's playoff ouster of the Kings, with the UNDER now paying off in three of their last four meetings.