Alex Ovechkin just can’t seem to win the big game. Chalk up another game 7 loss for the Capitals, as a 3-1 lead just wasn’t enough…again. Ovechkin, who led the league this year with 53 goals, all but guaranteed a game 7 victory, but it seems more times than not when a player guarantees a victory, in any sport, their team ends up losing. So now the New York Rangers (Founded 1926) will head back to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they won last year, this time against the Tampa Bay Lightning (Founded 1992). An original Six team vs. a fairly new expansion team. The same thing is happening in the West where the Original Six Blackhawks will take on a newer expansion team in the Anaheim Ducks.
I think most people would be rooting for a Stanley Cup Final with both teams being an Original Six team. Both series should be close, both with the potential to go 7 games. Chicago Black Hawks (Founded 1926) got here by beating Minnesota in a 4 game sweep. That earned them plenty of rest time, but with game one not scheduled to start until Sunday, they will have had 10 days off since then. So the argument comes into play regarding rest vs. rust. I think some rest if good, but 10 days is a lot of time off, especially when they were clicking and playing well. I’m sure they will come out looking sloppy for at least the first period, so I think game one will go to the Anaheim Ducks (Founded 1993), but the Hawks will earn the split and take the series in 7.
The odds right now are the Rangers are favored at 2/1. The Blackhawks come in next at 11/5 followed by the Ducks at 12/5, and rounding off with the Lightning at 19/5. Usually, fans like to bet on their favorite teams, and an Original Six team like the Rangers, in a big city like New York, has a lot of fans, so that in part plays a role in making the odds, but the first 3 teams are all really close; while Tampa would yield about 475 dollars on a 100 dollar bet. The Rangers-Lightning series starts right away- Saturday- so the Rangers in particular will have little rest, but they probably want to get at it right away and keep the momentum.
I think New York is the clear favorite in their series, and Chicago-Anaheim could just come down to who is more hungry, as both teams have had success recently, though the Ducks have a longer Cup drought. With Jonathan Toews being the best player left in the playoffs, I believe, the Blackhawks have the edge for the West and the Cup.