Predators Take the Lead in Cup Futures – for Now
Here’s something that’s never happened before: The Nashville Predators are Stanley Cup favorites. At press time, Nashville is on top of the NHL futures market at +275. Nashville has yet to win the Cup since joining the league in 1998.
How did this happen?
It’s simple: The Predators were the first team to make it out of the second round, eliminating the St. Louis Blues in six games with Sunday’s 3-1 win at the Bridgestone Arena.
It was still a very close series; Game 6 was the only game that wasn’t decided by one goal, and that happened because Calle Jarnkrok scored on an empty net with one minute left, putting the Blues away and covering the puck line for Nashville at +170.
Now they wait for the winner of Wednesday’s Game 7 (10 PM ET, NBCSN SportsNet) between the Edmonton Oilers and the Anaheim Ducks.
By the time Nashville takes the ice in the Western Conference Finals, someone else will be the Stanley Cup favorites.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were right behind the Predators at +300 on Monday’s odds list, even though they had yet to play Game 6 of their second-round series with the Washington Capitals.
Pittsburgh was up three games to two with a chance to eliminate their Metropolitan rivals at home, but Washington (–290 on the puck line) was dominant in a life-saving 5-2 victory, cashing in the over at +100 on the total of 5.5 goals. The Capitals were +600 to win the Cup before squaring their series with Pittsburgh; their Game 7 is Wednesday (7:30 PM ET, NBCSN) in DC.
The Preds are entering uncharted territory.
They’ve never been to the Conference Finals before, and as the second Wild Card team from the West, they weren’t expected to make it this far – Nashville was a +2500 outsider to win the Cup when the playoffs started.
Their plus-16 goal differential from the regular season doesn’t come close to Washington’s (plus-81) or even Pittsburgh’s (plus-48), but it’s the playoffs, and anything can happen once you’re down to a handful of games. Yes, even the Nashville Predators could win the Stanley Cup.
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