Blackhawks open as underdogs against Blues

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The Chicago Blackhawks will be looking to halt a two-game losing streak against the St. Louis Blues when the teams open their first-round playoff set on Wednesday, with Patrick Kane and company opening as slim -105 underdogs on the series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The defending Stanley Cup champions travel to St. Louis for Wednesday night’s Blackhawks vs. Blues betting matchup at Scottrade Center as +105 Game 1 underdogs, but maintain solid 15/2 odds to win the Stanley Cup this spring.

The Blackhawks posted an uninspiring 11-15 record over their final 26 games, including a pair of losses to the Blues, and are 2-5 in their past seven against their Central Division rivals. The Blues ride a 14-4 hot streak into the postseason, but wrapped up their campaign two points short of Dallas in the battle for top spot in the Western Conference.

Strong regular-season performances are nothing new for St. Louis, who have tallied over 100 points in four of the past five seasons. However, early playoff exits have become just as commonplace for the Blues, who have been bounced in the first round in each of the past three years.

But their checkered history has not hurt them at the sportsbooks, where the Blues opened as -115 chalk to knock off Chicago in the first round and sit at 10/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.

Over in the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be gunning for their 15th win in 17 outings when they open their first-round series against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

The Penguins were one of the best teams in the NHL in the second half of the season, powering to the second-best record in the conference following a moribund start that dropped their Stanley Cup odds to a distant 22/1 by mid-December.

Pittsburgh has been playing without injured stars Marc-Andre Fleury and Evgeni Malkin, but remains a solid -155 favorite on the series prices against a Rangers squad that is a middling 7-9 in their past 16 games. The Penguins have seen their Stanley Cup odds rise during their current tear, joining the favorites at a healthy 9/1.

The Washington Capitals continue to lead the way on the Stanley Cup odds at 4/1, followed by the Los Angeles Kings at 7/1, while the Stars are joined by the Anaheim Ducks at 8/1.

The Rangers and San Jose Sharks each sport 16/1 odds to win the Cup heading into the playoffs, followed by the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning at 20/1, the Nashville Predators and New York Islanders at 25/1, and the Minnesota Wild at 28/1, while the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers each trail at 33/1.