The Tampa Bay Lightning have finally recovered from their sluggish start to the season that saw them pick up just eight wins in their first 20 contests, and their Stanley Cup odds tumble from a preseason high of 9/1 to a distant 33/1 by Christmas.
Following seven straight wins, including a 2-1 victory over Chicago on Thursday, that have lifted them into second place in the Atlantic Division standings, just one point back of the Florida Panthers, the Lightning have stormed back to 14/1 on the odds to win the Stanley Cup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Thursday night’s clash between Tampa Bay and the Blackhawks marked the second meeting of the season between last year’s Stanley Cup finalists and a showdown between the NHL’s two hottest clubs.
Chicago took a 12-game winning streak into action against the Lightning, which has lifted them near the top of the Stanley Cup odds at 5/1.
The defending Stanley Cup champions also struggled with consistency early on, falling to fourth place in the Central Division in early December while watching their NHL futures dip as low as 12/1.
However, the Blackhawks have claimed victory in an impressive 17 of their past 22 games, surrendering more than two goals in just six of those contests, and enter the weekend with a comfortable lead atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.
While the Blackhawks soar at the sportsbooks, the Dallas Stars find themselves mired in their first slump of the season that has dropped them back of the Stanley Cup betting favorites with 10/1 odds.
Dallas opened 2016 with seven losses in eight games, including their first back-to-back losses of the campaign, surrendering an average of four goals per game in those defeats.
The Montreal Canadiens’ current five-game losing streak has also eroded their support at the sportsbooks. The Canadiens opened the season with nine straight wins, lifting them to 15/2 betting favorites. But after failing to record consecutive victories since late November, Montreal’s Stanley Cup odds are now on a slide, finishing the week at 25/1.
The red-hot Washington Capitals, owners of an 18-point lead in the Metropolitan Division standings, maintain their position as Stanley Cup favorites, with 4/1 odds, while the Los Angeles Kings remain close behind Chicago at 13/2.
The Lightning are joined at 14/1 by the St. Louis Blues, followed by the Florida Panthers at 16/1, and the New York Rangers at 18/1, while the struggling Minnesota Wild sit alongside the Detroit Red Wings at 20/1.
The New York Islanders remain stalled at 22/1, while three teams join Montreal at 25/1, including the Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, and San Jose Sharks.