As the 2021-22 NHL season approaches the halfway point, the pre-season favourites to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the Colorado Avalanche, are still the pick to end the season with their first Stanley Cup victory since 2001. With 35 games played, the Colorado club sits at the top of the Western Conference standings with 51 points and a record of 24-8-3. The Avalanche have played four fewer games than the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who are also in consideration to represent the West. Vegas is in fourth place in the Western Conference with 48 points.
The Eastern Conference is a bit more heated. Tampa Bay, who have won the Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons, are in the running to once again represent the Eastern Conference. However, the Lightning face stiff competition from their in-state rivals, the Florida Panthers. The two Florida clubs are tied for first in the NHL with 57 points, but the Lightning have played two fewer games than the Panthers. Tampa Bay’s record is 26-7-5.
As for Canadian clubs, the oddsmakers seem to think the Toronto Maple Leafs have a strong chance to end their drought of 54 years and raise the Cup for the first time since 1968. Toronto, who has played 36 games, has a record of 24-9-3.
2021-22 Stanley Cup Futures
|To Win Stanley Cup|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||8.45||8.60||9.00||8.50|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||9.00||8.00||8.50||8.00|
|Vegas Golden Knights||9.00||8.60||9.00||8.50|
|New York Rangers||19.00||17.00||17.00||17.00|
|St. Louis Blues||21.00||19.00||19.00||19.00|
|New York Islanders||41.00||70.00||67.00||67.00|
|Los Angeles Kings||63.00||60.00||61.00||61.00|
|San Jose Sharks||92.00||80.00||101.00||81.00|
|Detroit Red Wings||128.00||120.00||126.00||126.00|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||144.00||140.00||151.00||126.00|
|New Jersey Devils||225.00||200.00||151.00||201.00|
It’s about the offence in Colorado
The Colorado Avalanche are on a good run. Since the start of January, the Avalanche have put up a 7-0-1 record. Colorado has outscored their opponents 37-20 during that run. The team has not scored fewer than four goals in any of those games and put up seven on Winnipeg on January 6. The only loss on the team’s record in 2022 came on January 11, when the club dropped a 5-4 game to the Nashville Predators in overtime.
On average, the Avalanche have put up 4.29 goals per game during the 2021-22 season. The only other team that has averaged more than four goals is the Florida Panthers at 4.13. The next highest Western Conference team is the Minnesota Wild at 3.68 goals per game.
As much as Colorado is scoring, the team’s goaltending could be a worry during the playoffs, as it ranks 21st in goals-against average at 3.20.
Florida finds its groove
The Florida Panthers were red hot at the start of the 2021-22 NHL campaign. The team opened the season on a 10-1 run, but things went awry after that and the team struggled with consistency. Things have improved in a big way for the Panthers since a three-game losing skid in mid-December.
After four of the team’s games were postponed, the Panthers are on an 8-0-1 run and have been putting up goals at an incredible pace. During that nine-game stretch, the team has scored no fewer than four goals in a game and put up nine in two of their wins. Since December 29, the Panthers have outscored opponents 54-24.
The Panthers’ goals-against average is 2.84 for the season, which puts them in the No. 14 spot in that category.
Is this the year for the Maple Leafs?
The Toronto Maple Leafs did not have a good start to the 2021-22 NHL season. The team opened the season on a 2-4-1 run. Since October 27th the Leafs have been much better, putting up a 22-5-2 record. One big reason the Toronto club is winning and in the running for the 2022 Stanley Cup is the play of goaltender Jack Campbell.
Campbell is in the running for the Vezina trophy for best goaltender in the NHL — >check out the latest Vezina odds here — thanks to his 2.13 goals-against average (4th in the NHL), .931 save percentage (2nd in the NHL), 19 wins (tied for 3rd in the NHL) and four shutouts (2nd in the NHL).
Auston Matthews is another big reason the Leafs are hot right now. Matthews is tied for second in goal scoring with 25. Matthews has scored five goals in the Leafs past four games.
Our Canada Sports Betting 2022 Stanley Cup pick
With the offence they are putting up, it’s hard to pick against the Colorado Avalanche right now. However, if the team stops scoring at the pace it is or the goaltending slips, the Avalanche could lose their status as Cup favourites.
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