Eastern Conference Odds
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished with the NHL's best record by a wide margin and enter the Eastern Conference playoffs as the clear favorite to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Here's a look at the odds to win the Eastern Conference.
According to oddsmakers at BetNow.eu, the Lightning have 5/4 odds to win the Eastern Conference. The next-best odds go to the Boston Bruins and the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals at 5/1. The Toronto Maple Leafs are listed at 6/1, while the Pittsburgh Penguins are at 8/1. A full list of odds to win the Eastern and Western Conference can be found at our NHL Future Odds Page.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning did not mess around during the 2018-19 regular season as it finished with a 62-16-4 record, good for 128 points which is 21 more than the second-best Bruins and Flames in the NHL. Tampa Bay showed a little vulnerability in losing three of its final seven regular season games, but was basically going through the motions to get to the playoffs. Look for Tampa Bay to roll through its first round matchup versus the Columbus Blue Jackets before finding tougher opponents down the line. Nikita Kucherov had a dominant season with 41 goals and 87 assists, so expect him to have a major impact in the playoffs as well. In net, the Lightning will rely on Andrei Vasilevskiy (39-10-4, 2.40 GAA, .925 save pct.).
When the Bruins were healthy this season, they were often as good as anyone. While Boston was doubled up 6-3 at home by the Lightning in their regular season finale, it did win one of the four games against Tampa Bay this season and lost the other two by a goal each. The Bruins are led by Brad Marchand as he registered 36 goals and 64 assists over 100 games. David Pastrnak tallied 38 goals and 43 assists in 66 games, while Patrice Bergeron accounted for 32 goals and 47 assists in 65 games. The Bruins split goaltending duties between veterans Tuukka Rask (27-13-5, 2.48 GAA, .912 save pct.) and Jaroslav Halak (22-11-4, 2.34 GAA, .922 save pct.). Boston will look to take down the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.
The Capitals overcame previous years of playoff disapointments last spring as they won the Stanley Cup, adding another major feat to the Hall of Fame career of Alex Ovechkin. This season, Ovechkin hasn't skipped a beat with 51 goals and 38 assists in 81 games. Nicklas Backstrom (22 goals, 52 assists), Evgeny Kuznetsov (21 goals, 51 assists) and John Carlson (13 goals, 57 assists) also contribute heavily to the Washington offense. Goaltending duties go to Braden Holtby (32-19-5, 2.82 GAA, .911 save pct.), who stepped up in a major way in last year's playoffs. The Capitals completed the regular season with a 48-26-8 record. Washington begins its first round series at home against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs ended the regular season with a 46-28-8 record, but struggled down the stretch with losses in 11 of their last 16 games. Toronto has one of the most exciting young players in the game in Auston Mathews (37 goals, 36 assists, 68 games), while free agent signing John Tavares (47 goals, 41 assists) had a successful first season with the Maple Leafs. Leading Toronto in scoring this season was Mitch Marner (26 goals, 68 assists) as he was a big distributor in the high-powered offense. In goal will be Frederik Andersen (36-16-7, 2.77 GAA, .917 save pct.) after he competed in 60 games this season as a workhorse netminder.