All season long it has been the Tampa Bay Lightning ranked in the number one spot, having tied the record for fastest to 50 wins with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning look like a lock to win the Presidents’ Trophy, thus solidifying home ice advantage the whole playoffs, a place where they have posted a 29-6-2 record.
With the Lightning having a historically great season, this inflates the odds on the rest of the field and presents a lot of value to be found elsewhere.
Boston Bruins +1100
As of March 9, the Bruins 19 game point streak is still intact after a come from behind victory versus the Senators, with Krejci scoring the go-ahead goal at 19:15 of the third period. The Bruins have not lost a game in regulation since January 19.
Goaltending has been solid all year for Boston with Tuukka Rask posting a 24-8 record while saving 973 of 1057 shots faced for a .921 save percentage.
Offensively the Bruins have three scorers with 20 or more goals with David Pasternak at 31, Brad Marchand 28, Patrice Bergeron 25, and Jake DeBrusk 22. Having that many playmakers capable of finding the back of the net consistently, along with a goaltender you can count on, shows the depth and balance of this year’s Bruins squad.
Nashville Predators +1200
The Predators have a distinct home ice advantage due in large part to the stellar goaltending of Pekka Rinne, who has a .914 save percentage and a 2.32 goals against average. Last season he led the league in shutouts with eight, but is currently sitting with three.
In Nashville victories, Rinne has saved 687 shots and only let in 41, for a goals against average of 1.69 with three shutouts. When playing well he is a legitimate Vezina candidate, but consistency has been an issue.
On the defensive end, the Predators undoubtedly have the best core in the league with P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Matthias Edholm, and Ryan Ellis headlining the group.
After falling just short in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year, this team looks primed to make another deep run, and this time around might have a little bit of extra incentive.
Calgary Flames +1300
The Flames are coming off missing the postseason entirely last year after losing 17 of their final 24 games. This season the Flames have four scorers with 25 or more goals thus far, and six players with 40 or more points. They have the 10th ranked power play, and score the fourth highest goals per game averaging 3.46.
Defensively the Flames have Norris Trophy front runner Mark Giordano leading the way along with T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin to make up one of the league’s most underrated defensive units that have an ability to not only prevent goals, but help aid the Flames in scoring as well.
This defensive core are allowing the fourth-fewest shots per game with 28.8, and that has translated well as the Flames have split goaltending duties with Mike Smith and David Rittich ranking them 10th combined in goals allowed. Take a closer look into this Canadian team that could surprise many with a deep playoff run.