All four teams left in the 2015 NHL playoffs have an equal chance of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, as both conference finals will be decided in Game 7. But the oddsmakers have pegged one team as the favorite to win the championship.
After finishing the regular season with a league-leading 113 points, the New York Rangers (+200) still have the best betting odds to win the Cup. They’ve been the best hockey team for most of the season, and New York is in the best position of any team to win Game 7.
The Rangers have been terrific in elimination games this season, going 4-0 when facing the prospect of having their playoff run ended. New York survived a 3-1 series deficit against the Washington Capitals, and they took Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road. Having won Game 7 seven consecutive times at Madison Square Garden, New York is favored to beat Tampa Bay and reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
Because they have such a tough task in front of them in Game 7, the Lightning (+450) have the worst championship odds of any team remaining. They managed to beat the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 in the first round, though that game was at home. Tampa Bay upset the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
In the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks (+225) have been given the slight edge over the Chicago Blackhawks (+250). Game 7 will be played in Anaheim, where the Ducks went 26-12-3 during the regular season. Home-ice advantage has been more important in this series than it’s been in the East, considering both the Ducks and Blackhawks have gone 2-1 at home.
The games in the Western Conference Finals have been extremely close, and Game 7 could go either way. Chicago has won a game in triple-overtime and double-overtime, and Anaheim got a single-overtime victory in Game 5. Game 3 didn’t go beyond regulation, but it was decided by one goal.
The most likely Stanley Cup Finals matchup would put New York against Anaheim (+200), while a Tampa Bay-Chicago (+400) final is the biggest longshot. Even though the Rangers and Blackhawks are both part of the Original Six, the two franchises have never faced off in the Stanley Cup Finals.
None of the four potential matchups have ever occurred in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in their only trip to the finals, while Anaheim has faced the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators.
All betting odds are courtesy of Bovada.lv.