Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven

Bodog tabs the Vancouver Canucks as the favorites to win the 2012 Stanley Cup


Chin up, Vancouver Canucks fans.

Sure, your team came just one win short of their first-ever Stanley Cup victory. OK, your city is reeling from the ugly riots that broke out last night (although at least one couple had some shameless fun, I guess). And yes, you might be doubting your franchise goalie and those talented Sedin twins, who sported identically ugly -4 ratings in Game 7.

That being said, the odds are on your side, at least if you ask the people at Bodog. They gave the Canucks the highest odds of winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 (5/1) and placed the defending champion Boston Bruins in second place (8/1 – feel free to share your agreement or disagreement with that prediction in this poll). The Washington Capitals (17/2), Philadelphia Flyers (9/1) and Pittsburgh Penguins (9/1) rounded out the top five.

Here’s the full list, if you’re the curious and/or betting type. (Sorry Panthers fans.)

Odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup

Vancouver Canucks                    5/1
Boston Bruins                              8/1
Washington Capitals                  17/2
Philadelphia Flyers                    9/1
Pittsburgh Penguins                  9/1
San Jose Sharks                         9/1
Detroit Red Wings                     12/1
Tampa Bay Lightning                12/1
Chicago Blackhawks                   15/1
Los Angeles Kings                      16/1
Anaheim Ducks                           22/1
Montreal Canadiens                    22/1
Buffalo Sabres                              25/1
Nashville Predators                    25/1
New Jersey Devils                      30/1
Phoenix Coyotes                         35/1
Calgary Flames                           35/1
Carolina Hurricanes                   35/1
Dallas Stars                                 35/1
New York Rangers                     35/1
St. Louis Blues                            45/1
Toronto Maple Leafs                 60/1
Ottawa Senators                        60/1
Colorado Avalanche                   65/1
Edmonton Oilers                        70/1
Minnesota Wild                          70/1
New York Islanders                  70/1
Winnipeg                                     80/1
Columbus Blue Jackets             90/1
Florida Panthers                       125/1

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?

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You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.