Five NHL teams remain in the hunt for the 2014 Stanley Cup. That number will be whittled down to four after Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks face off in Game Seven on Friday night.
Less than 24 hours before the conference finals are scheduled to begin, the defending champs are considered to have the best chance of winning it all. The Chicago Blackhawks have 7/4 odds of winning their third Stanley Cup in five seasons.
The Blackhawks needed six games to get by the St. Louis Blues in the first round, and six more to defeat the Minnesota Wild in the conference semifinals. They are the only team remaining that hasn't had to play a deciding seventh game.
The Montreal Canadiens are considered to be the Blackhawks’ biggest competition. Their title odds have been set at 11/4. Not only did they sweep the Tampa Bay Lighting in the opening round, but they defeated the top seeded Boston Bruins in the second round.
Montreal has home-ice advantage in their series with the New York Rangers. New York, whose odds sit at 7/2, might actually benefit from being forced to play more games on the road. They led the East with 25 road wins in the regular season, and had success away from MSG, on their way to the Eastern Conference finals. Three of their four postseason victories against the Penguins came in Pittsburgh.
The Ducks (11/2) and Kings (11/2) have the worst odds of any remaining team, because one of them will be knocked out of contention on Friday night. Anaheim is a slight favorite to advance.
The Blackhawks won the championship last year, and the Kings took it in 2012. The Canadiens and Rangers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 and 1994, respectively.
All betting odds are courtesy of Bovada.lv.