The Tampa Bay Lightning coasted to the Presidents’ Trophy this season with a remarkable 62-16-4 record, finishing 21 points ahead of any other team in the league with 128 points. The Lightning will now try to carry over the momentum of this remarkable season into postseason success.
Tampa Bay is a -400 favorite to win its first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on the NHL playoff series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Columbus (+300 to win this series) finished the regular season on a 7-1 run to advance into the postseason. The Blue Jackets have never won a postseason series and have lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion in the first round each of the last two years.
The Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames tied for the second best records in hockey with 107 points apiece as Boston went 49-24-9 and Calgary went 50-25-7. Boston is a -160 favorite at online betting sites over the Toronto Maple Leafs (+140) in the first round while Calgary is a -200 favorite against the wild card Colorado Avalanche (+170). Colorado enters the postseason on a 7-1-2 run.
The defending champion Washington Capitals edged out their former coach Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders by a single point for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. As a result, the Capitals (-155) get the Carolina Hurricanes (+135) in the first round and the Islanders (+125) face the Pittsburgh Penguins (-145). Only five points separated Washington in first from Carolina in fourth in this division and these series should be very competitive.
In another close race, the Nashville Predators finished the regular season with 100 points to edge out the Winnipeg Jets and the St. Louis Blues with 99 points each in the Central Division. The Blues (-120) and Jets (+100) clash in the first round while the Predators (-180) will take on the Dallas Stars (+160). St. Louis is 24-6-4 over is last 34 games and 8-1-1 over its last 10, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
Rounding out the first round of this year’s postseason picture is a pick’em series between the San Jose Sharks (-110) and Vegas Golden Knights (-110). Vegas is 9-3-2 in its young franchise history against San Jose including a 4-2 series win over San Jose last postseason.
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