Blues now favored to win Stanley Cup
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - Once listed as 15/1 long shots, the St. Louis Blues are now favored to win the 2014 Stanley Cup as the NHL heads into its Olympic break.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Blues are 11/2 favorites to win this year's Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks and Penguins have the next-best odds at 6/1, respectively, while the Ducks are 7/1 and the Bruins and Sharks are 10/1, respectively.
The Blues are currently tied with the Blackhawks in the Central Division with 84 points apiece and their 39 wins is third to only Pittsburgh (40) and Anaheim (41). They also have the best point differential in the NHL at +61, which is a strong indicator that they're not just winning games, they're dominating opponents.
Still led by Ken Hitchcock's suffocating defensive style, the Blues have been a much more dangerous offensive club this season than in years past. Alexander Steen leads the club with 46 points, including 28 goals in 46 games played. T.J. Oshie has also stepped up his game dramtically, posting 14 goals and 32 assists over 57 games. Youngsters Jaden Schwartz (42 points) and Vladimir Tarasenko (34 points) have shown significant improvement in their second years as well.
The only things that have held the Blues back to this point are injuries and inconsistent play from goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. If Halak ever plays to his potential on a nightly basis, there's no reason the Blues can't win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They're one of the most balanced clubs in the NHL.
Continuing with the current Stanley Cup odds, the Kings are 16/1 to win, while the Avalanche, Rangers and Maple Leafs are all 20/1, respectively. The Flyers are 22/1, the surprising Lightning are 22/1, and the Canadiens are 28/1 to win this year's Cup.