Lightning heavy favorites on Stanley Cup odds at all-star break

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The NHL has a team far out in front in the overall standings as it heads into its all-star break – and that might serve to goose the value of other Stanley Cup contenders.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, who have been first overall for most of the season, are the +260 favorite on the latest Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Lightning, with a deep offense led by Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos and a premiere defenseman in Victor Hedman leading their back end, lead the NHL in points, wins, goals scored and goal differential.

The top of the futures board also includes the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames (+550), San Jose Sharks (+750), Toronto Maple Leafs (+800) and Winnipeg Jets (+800).

As loaded as the Lightning are, the top team in the regular season rarely lifts the Stanley Cup in the spring. The 2008 Detroit Red Wings are the most recent team to finish first overall and go on to win the whole thing in a full 82-game season. Only eight of 33 Presidents’ Trophy winners have also won the Stanley Cup.

Calgary is a solid second favorite, with left wing Johnny Gaudreau and defenseman Mark Giordano being among the NHL’s best at their positions. As a western Canada-based team, the Flames are also likely to fly under the radar of public bettors. Their question mark revolves around goalies David Rittich and Mike Smith having almost no Stanley Cup playoff experience.

Sticking in the Pacific Division, San Jose is a springtime-seasoned team, having made the final in 2016, and their current standing has come with dynamic defenseman Erik Karlsson working his way back to peak form after adapting to a new team.

At this stage of the game, bettors looking for value in a league that prides itself on parity should consider teams with greater than 10/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. The cluster of teams that includes the Nashville Predators (+1400), Vegas Golden Knights (+1500), New York Islanders (+1600), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1600) and defending champion Washington Capitals (+2000) includes plenty of playoff experience.

The Penguins are always a threat with Sidney Crosby and have weathered injuries, including one to No. 1 goalie Matt Murray, during the first four months of the regular season. The Predators and Golden Knights are the two most recent Western Conference finalists and are both strong puck-possession teams, while the Islanders are under the command of head coach Barry Trotz, who steered Washington to its first Stanley Cup in 2018.

It might be best to fade the Capitals, though, until such time that No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby shows he can recover his past form.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

How to watch Boston Bruins vs NY Rangers: Live stream, TV channel, puck drop time for tonight’s game

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It’s the Bruins vs Rangers tonight on NBCSN. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. with NHL Live. See below for additional information on how to watch the game. Click here for the latest stats, scores, and division standings.

The Boston Bruins (8-1-2) currently lead the East division after sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers last week (Feb. 3 and Feb. 5). David Pastrnak has helped the Bruins climb to the top spot since returning to the lineup on January 30, after undergoing a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16. The Bruins’ forward already has 5 goals and 3 assists in the 4 games he’s played in this season, making him third on the team in goals scored behind Brad Marchand (7 goals) and Patrice Bergeron (6 goals).

The New York Rangers (4-5-2) are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Islanders on Monday night. The Rangers made 30 shots on goal but just could not get past Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov. Artemi Panarin currently leads the team in goals (5), points (15), and assists (10). Mika Zibanejad, who led the team with 41 goals last season, is still struggling to find the back of the net. The Rangers forward has just one goal on the season and one assist in his last eight games.

                                 RELATED: Rangers’ rebuild — Good, bad, and the Lafreniere

Tonight will be the first of eight meetings between the Bruins and Rangers this season and will mark the 700th all-time meeting since these Original Six rivals first played against each other in 1926. Watch live online or with the NBC Sports App.

How to watch Boston Bruins vs New York Rangers:

              RELATED: 2021 NHL Season: How to watch, new format, key dates, and schedule

Be sure to check out ProHockeyTalk for more on the 2021 NHL season including game previews, recaps, news, rumors and more. Click here for the 2020-2021 NHL on NBC regular season schedule.

Ewan wins Stage 11; Conti keeps pink jersey in Giro

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NOVI LIGURE, Italy (AP) Caleb Ewan of Australia sprinted to victory on the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, while Italian cyclist Valerio Conti remained the overall leader.

Ewan, who rides for Lotto-Soudal, edged out Arnaud Demare and Pascal Ackermann in a bunch sprint at the end of the entirely flat 221-kilometer (137-mile) route from Carpi to Novi Ligure.

Conti remained 1 minute, 50 seconds ahead of Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic, who is one of the favorites, and 2:21 ahead of Nans Peters of France.

It was the second victory at this year’s Giro for the 24-year-old Ewan, who also won the sprint at the end of the eighth and longest stage on Saturday.

The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports