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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.

Watch Lightning vs. Islanders game online (livestream)

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The Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the New York Islanders in a Eastern Conference semifinals rematch.

The Islanders won the first game of last year’s playoff series before the Lightning won out to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in five games. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman each scored four goals over the series.

Here’s how to watch the game between the Lightning and Islanders:

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

Broadcast network: NBCSN

Live Stream: NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App

Flyers rise, Red Wings slide on updated Stanley Cup odds

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The red-hot Philadelphia Flyers claimed an impressive 3-2 victory over the defending-champion Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, lifting them past the Detroit Red Wings in the race for an Eastern Conference Wild Card spot and boosting their odds to win the Stanley Cup to 33/1 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Flyers have quickly emerged as the hottest team in the NHL, claiming victory in eight of their past 10 outings, and picking up points in 18 of the past 23 games.

Their current tear comes in marked contrast to their performance in the early going this season, when they posted just six victories over their first 20 games, a run that sent their Stanley Cup odds tumbling to 100/1.

Philadelphia faces another tough test this weekend when they battle Pittsburgh, but they have dominated their Metropolitan Division rival in recent years, taking an 8-1 record in their past nine meetings into Saturday afternoon’s matchup at Wells Fargo Center according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

With nine losses in their past 15 games, the Red Wings find themselves in the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and at real risk of missing the postseason for the first time in 25 years.

Detroit has also seen their NHL futures fade at the sportsbooks, tumbling to 40/1 to win the Stanley Cup after climbing as high as 18/1 just four weeks ago.

The Red Wings play six of their final 11 contests on the road and have six dates with teams currently ahead of them in the standings, including a crucial visit from the Flyers on April 6.

The Washington Capitals continue to lead the way atop the Stanley Cup odds as 4/1 betting favorites, while the Los Angeles Kings, winners in seven of their past 10 games, have vaulted to 6/1, passing the Blackhawks, who trail at 7/1, and the Anaheim Ducks at 15/2.

The Ducks have cooled off somewhat, losing four of five games after going on a torrid 20-3 run that briefly lifted them to the top of the Pacific Division standings, while Chicago is a dismal 4-10 in their past 14, dropping them to third place in the Central Division.

The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues continue to battle for top spot in the Central Division, but both have struggled to post wins, and have each seen their odds fade, to 12/1 and 14/1, respectively.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks also sit at 14/1, followed by the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins at 16/1, the Florida Panthers at 18/1, and the Penguins at 20/1.