At the beginning of this season, if you had told anybody outside of Carolina’s front office that the Hurricanes would have made the playoffs, they would have been surprised. If you told them they would win a playoff series, they would have laughed. If you told them that series would have been against the Capitals, they would have told you that you were crazy.
But, here we are, a series and a half into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Hurricanes are the favorites. Here is a complete list of odds along with a summary of the top four:
Blue Jackets 5/1
After defeating the defending champion Capitals in seven games in their first series, they have proceeded to beat the Islanders twice in as many games. However, they have injury issues to deal with. Their starting goalie, Petr Mrazek, is day to day with a lower-body injury. Former Blackhawk Trevor Van Riemsdyk is out as well, and Saku Maenalanen will miss the rest of the series against the Islanders. If Carolina can find a way to end this series early, their banged-up roster will get a chance to heal. If it gets dragged out, they could be in trouble.
The Bruins split both of their first two games against Columbus in Boston, with both of them ending 3-2. Boston is known for their stifling defense, having allowed only 212 goals all season, ranking fourth in that category. Now, as they move on to playing in Columbus, their defense will be faced with the tall task of keeping Nationwide Arena’s cannon quiet.
More of an offensive team, the San Jose defense will absolutely have to show up now that they are playing at the Pepsi Center. Normal road playoff rules will apply: keep the crowd quiet, or you re going to get hurt. If they give up a couple of early goals, they will likely not be able to climb out of that hole.
The Blue Jackets have been able to be aggressive all season, as they have the number one penalty kill in the league, giving up goals on just 15% of opponents’ power plays. However, even after beating Tampa Bay, they will not be able to take Boston lightly. If this becomes a defensive series, it could slip away from Columbus, even at home. They will need to score goals, play fast and aggressive, and get the crowd into it.