With half of the 2019-20 regular season complete, we’re getting a picture of the main contenders for the Stanley Cup this year. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are likely to be a closely fought contest between several teams with some of the NHL’s biggest teams putting in strong performances so far this year.
Last year’s champions, the St. Louis Blues, as well as the Washington Capitals, the Boston Bruins, and the Tampa Bay Lighting, all have similar points tallies as play resumes after the All-Star break. However, sitting near the bottom of the Central Division, the Blackhawks don’t look like they’ll be reliving their Stanley Cup success this year.
This close competition will make the outcome of the regular season and the playoffs unpredictable. This can, in turn, make it more exciting for fans who are looking to place bets on NHL games or the Stanley Cup.
Thanks to recent changes in legislation, hockey fans in the US can now place wagers on NHL games through online bookmakers. This can include the outright winner of the Stanley Cup, pre-game wagers like the winner of a particular game, or even proposition bets like which player will score the game’s first goal. These types of bets can add additional elements of excitement to the game by making them more engaging for fans beyond just the outcome of the game.
Here are the main contenders for the 2019/20 Stanley Cup.
The Boston Bruins are currently ranked favorites to win the Stanley Cup by several major bookmakers. Sitting on 70 points with 29 wins and just ten losses in their 51 games so far this season, it is easy to see why.
Although a couple of teams (the Capitals, the Blues, and the Penguins) have one or two more wins than the Bruins, their consistency has helped them to become the bookmakers’ favorite.
Much of their performance can be put down to David Pastrnak, whose season got off to a flyer, putting his difficult postseason behind him. Having scored 37 goals in 51 games, he stands a chance of doubling this tally with half the season still remaining. Last season, he scored 38 goals across the entire year, demonstrating just how much of a big step up he has made.
The Bruins’ defense is also strong. They’ve managed to achieve 70 points despite scoring fewer goals than several of their Atlantic Division rivals. They have done this by having the lowest number of goals scored against them (135), two better than the next best team in the Atlantic.
Close behind the Bruins in terms of favorability from the bookmakers is the Washington Capitals. Sitting at the top of the Metropolitan Division, they have achieved 33 wins in 49 games. Although they’ve had four more wins than Boston, they have 71 points after ending 11 games with a loss.
While the Bruins are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season, the Capitals are one of the best attacking teams. With 177 goals scored so far, they have the third-highest tally across all NHL teams.
Part of this is helped by John Carlson, who is the Capitals’ top point-scorer, with a tally of 60 points over 49 games. He is credited with 13 goals and 47 assists. While the number of goals may not be groundbreaking at this point in the season, his assists count is astonishing.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Currently, the bookmakers’ third favorite, the Tampa Bay Lightning, sits second in the Atlantic Division behind the Boston Bruins. They’ve also won 29 games, but with 15 losses so far this season, they’ve lost almost twice as many games as their Boston rivals.
They’ve been consistent on the ice, achieving a solid goal differential of plus-38, with the third-highest goals for and second-lowest goals against in the division. With many games left to play, they could very quickly overtake the Bruins and the Capitals.
The 2019-20 NHL season is proving to be a closely fought competition. For this reason, it is difficult to spot a clear favorite for the Stanley Cup. A lot could change by the time the playoffs begin, so all that is clear is that it’s going to be an exciting few months.