After disposing of the Boston Bruins in five games in their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series, the Tampa Bay Lightning have rocketed to the top of the 2018 Stanley Cup odds, where they are listed as +225 favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Lightning have looked in championship form during the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs. Tampa Bay effectively shut down New Jersey in the opening round, limiting the Devils to just 2.6 goals per game while powering to a five-game series victory.
After suffering a 6-2 loss to Boston as -160 home chalk in Game 1 of their series, the Lightning managed to find a higher gear, outscoring the Bruins by a 15-6 margin in four straight wins, capped by last Sunday’s 3-1 victory as -150 home favorites.
However, the Lightning have plenty of company near the top of the Stanley Cup odds. The Vegas Golden Knights’ historic run to the Western Conference final has lifted them to +300 on the futures while the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay’s Eastern Conference final opponent, sit at +425.
Backed by the stellar goaltending of three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury, the Golden Knights have recorded four shutouts so far in the postseason. Pegged as narrow -135 favorites on the NHL playoff series prices ahead of its first-round matchup with Los Angeles, Vegas held the Kings to just three total goals during a four-game sweep and added a pair of shutout wins while knocking off the San Jose Sharks in six games in the second round.
The Capitals will be making their first appearance in the Eastern Conference final in 20 years after ending the Pittsburgh Penguins’ hopes of a Stanley Cup three-peat by eliminating the defending champions in six games. In addition to ending a two-decade absence from the NHL’s final four, the Capitals’ second-round series victory marked their first playoff series win over Pittsburgh in eight tries since 1994.
However, in addition to trailing the Lightning on the Stanley Cup odds, the Capitals enter their Eastern Conference final tilt with Tampa Bay trailing as +165 underdogs on the NHL series prices, despite picking up the win in 13 of the past 18 meetings between the clubs. Washington also is a +155 road underdog on the NHL moneyline for Friday’s Game 1.
Further down the Stanley Cup odds, the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets are knotted at +500 ahead of their Game 7 matchup Thursday night. The Predators return home as -165 betting favorites in the final and decisive clash in their second-round series after avoiding elimination with a 4-0 win in Winnipeg as +138 underdogs on Monday.