Offseason Moves Boost Bolts, Preds on 2017 Stanley Cup Odds

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The fates of stars Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban have effected change to the pecking order on the 2017 Stanley Cup futures board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While the Pittsburgh Penguins captured the silver chalice in June, the runner-up San Jose Sharks might have provided a lasting illustration during the playoffs. In an era with a hard salary cap and historically low scoring rates, any solid playoff team with a strong nucleus is bound to make a run at the Stanley Cup if it earns enough chances.

Thus it is not surprising to see the Stanley Cup odds on the Nashville Predators, who made a blockbuster trade with the Montreal Canadiens last week to get Subban, drop to +1400, from +1800.

Likewise, thanks to GM Steve Yzerman re-signing former 60-goal scorer Steven Stamkos as soon as free agency began on July 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning are at +1000 after opening at +1400. The Lightning are the only team which has reached their conference final in two consecutive seasons.

Although the NHL had not had a repeat champion since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins maintain top odds at +900. With Sidney Crosby, Nick Bonino and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh is as deep as any NHL team at center, and it could gain some roster flexibility by moving on from high-paid veteran G Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Chicago Blackhawks remain second favorite, albeit at +950. Salary-cap restrictions are not going to allow Chicago to add major pieces to complement league MVP Patrick Kane and two-way center Jonathan Toews, but they are nonetheless the organization that has won three of the last seven Cups.

Led by Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals have superior three-line scoring punch, especially after adding center Lars Eller via a trade with the Canadiens. That somewhat underrated addition could help Washington, which is listed at +1000, become more geared for the playoffs after years of being unable to get by Metropolitan Division rival Pittsburgh.

Getting out of the Central Division quadrant of the playoffs will almost be an accomplishment on its own this season. Along with the Blackhawks, the St. Louis Blues are listed at +1200 and the Dallas Stars are level with Nashville at +1400.

Speaking of the Sharks, their +1400 odds is the lowest among Pacific Division teams, with their state rivals, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, each listed at +1600. Sharks GM Doug Wilson has quietly reloaded early this summer with the value signings of fleet-footed winger Mikkel Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko, who each have experience playing for San Jose coach Peter DeBoer.

The NHL is celebrating its centennial in 2017, but it is highly doubtful it will involve a Canadian team winning the Cup for the first time since 1993. Both Montreal and the Edmonton Oilers are listed at +3300. Montreal received star defenseman Shea Weber in return for Subban and also added hard-nosed RW Andrew Shaw in a trade with Chicago. Edmonton has also added a tough guy with a Stanley Cup pedigree, picking up Milan Lucic, but traded away Taylor Hall.

Favored Rangers seek end to home-ice hex against the rival Islanders

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While the teams’ records can be thrown out when the NHL’s two city rivals meet, the New York Rangers do take a strong record in back-to-back games into their clash against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

The Rangers, who are relying on goalie Antti Raanta to hold the fort with superstar Henrik Lundqvist (lower body injury) sidelined, are only 2-7 straight-up in their last nine home games against the Islanders, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

However, the Rangers should have some motivation after an overtime defeat on Tuesday against the also-ran New Jersey Devils. In fact, the Rangers, home favorites for Wednesday’s game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, are 7-3 in their last 10 games when they were playing the second of back-to-back contests.

The Islanders, who are 33-26-12 on the season, should be ready to play desperate hockey since they have had a three-day break and are only 1-4 in their last five games. Coach Doug Weight has shuffled his lines to stimulate some offense, reuniting captain John Tavares (nine points over his last 10 games) with his regular left wing, Andrew Ladd.

The Islanders, who should have fresh legs, could also get a spark in the offensive zone from recent rookie call-up Josh Ho-Sang.

The break might also be a boon for Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who has an unsightly 3.46 goals-against average and .893 save percentage so far this month. Some of that can be put down to the recent play by the Islanders, who are also 3-7 in their last 10 divisional road games.

The Rangers are 45-24-4 on the season, but just 5-7 across their last 12 games, which has dropped them into fourth in the Metropolitan Division. Veteran winger Rick Nash ended a nine-game goal drought against the Devils, but has been shut out so far this season against the Islanders. The Rangers also finished the New Jersey game strongly, leveling 16 shots on goal in the third period.

Raanta is having a strong month with a 2.13 GAA and .924 save percentage. The Rangers are 1-4 in their last five divisional home games.

The total has gone under in three consecutive Islanders’ games for bettors on the NHL odds. The total has gone over in six of the last nine games where the Rangers were favored at home against the Islanders.

Ovechkin, Capitals Road Favorites Against Flyers on Wednesday Night

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The law of averages and both teams’ recent play would suggest Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are due for a better fate in Philadelphia.

The Capitals are a -165 betting favorite against the +135 underdog Philadelphia Flyers with a 5.5-goal total in their NHL betting matchup on Wednesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Washington won 5-0 on January 15 when the Metropolitan Division rivals last met, but that was at the Verizon Center and the Flyers are 8-2 straight-up in their last 10 home games against the Capitals with any moneyline, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Presumptive starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth has often fared well against Washington, particularly during the 2016 playoffs.

The Flyers are also 7-3 in their last 10 games at home as an underdog of +135 to +500 on the moneyline. Their price on the moneyline offers much more value than the Capitals’ does.

Washington, which is 39-12-7 this season, will be aiming to avoid its first three-loss skid of the season. Ovechkin has traditionally had the Flyers’ number over his career, as the future Hall of Famer has 31 goals and 18 assists for 49 points in 43 career games against Philly.

Washington is one of the NHL’s deepest teams offensively and, in Braden Holtby, are well spoken for in goal.

The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 games on the road as a favorite of -135 to -500 moneyline.

Philadelphia, which is 28-24-7, is at a point of the season where it needs to play desperate to stay in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot. The Flyers, who are only 3-7 in their last 10 home games against their division, have several key players itching to bust out offensively. Captain and No. 1 center Claude Giroux has only two points in his last 10 games and offensive defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has only six over his last 15, three of which came last Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

If Neuvirth is sharp, the Flyers have a chance.

The total has gone over in six of the Capitals’ last 10 divisional road games, but has gone under in four of their past six away contests (with one push). The total has gone under in six of the Flyers’ last 10 home games overall.