The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds have been released as the first round is officially underway. Let’s dive into some picks and predictions concerning the East Division.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals both finished the regular season with 77 points, but the Pens won the division—recording just one more win than the Caps.
These two teams have been bitter rivals ever since Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin entered the league. Both of these superstars posted over 100 points in their rookie years, back in 2005-06.
Naturally, the pair have been compared under a microscope at every turn of their careers; however, both need to win their own first round series before worrying about the other.
The Pens have a tough opening-round opponent in the New York Islanders. The Isles are well-coached under Barry Trotz and often thrive playing the role of the underdog. Game one of this series featured some great back-and-forth action, with Pittsburgh absolutely dominating at certain points.
Unfortunately, they also didn’t capitalize on some key chances, allowing New York to hang around and force overtime. From there, trade deadline-acquisition Kyle Palmieri scored his second of the day to lift the Isles to an opening-game win.
On the other side of the coin, the Caps are set to take on the Boston Bruins. The two squads finished just four points apart in the standings. The Bruins likely could have finished higher, if not for a myriad of injuries that plagued them all season long. Can the B’s go on one last run before Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are too old?
If you’re new to betting please stay informed and check out our various sports betting guides before making any wagers. Now, let’s make some predictions!
2021 NHL Playoffs Odds
These odds were last updated on Sunday, May 16th, 2021:
Pittsburgh Penguins (2.13) vs. New York Islanders (1.77)
It was a rough playoff debut for the Pens the other night. They were certainly the better team for the majority of the game, but they just couldn’t get it done.
In Pittsburgh’s defence, they were without a key player in Evgeni Malkin, but excuses don’t win games. New York was also down a key member as their captain, Anders Lee is out for the season. That didn’t seem to stop them.
The Pens have a lot of positives to build on heading into the rest of the series, and this loss likely won’t cause them to stray from their initial game plan.
Motivation certainly isn’t lacking, especially since Pittsburgh was swept by New York when these teams last met in the playoffs back in 2018-19. They’ve yet to get revenge, and this time, they have a home-ice advantage.
One area of interest is the way these squads clash when it comes to a special team. The Pens had a fourth-ranked power play during the regular season, but the Isles’ penalty kill was ranked sixth.
New York’s power-play finished just above the bottom-10, but it still may be effective as Pittsburgh’s penalty kill was the fifth-worst in the league.
The odds now favour the Isles since they won the first game, but the Pens should still be able to win the round. So long as they stay out of the box, and score on the power play when it counts.
The Isles may have won game one, but pick the Pens to win the series.
Washington Capitals (1.84) vs. Boston Bruins (1.98)
This series features a handful of future HOFers who could be looking at their last chance to win it all.
On the Capitals’ side, 35-year-old Alex Ovechkin continues to defy father time looking more than fired up during game one. He was hitting, shooting, and skating at full speed—finishing the night with an assist and four shots.
Another Washington vet seeking one more chance with Stanley is former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. His footspeed and mobility have greatly deteriorated in recent years, but his ability to poke the puck and protect the house will play an important role in getting revenge on his old club.
From many angles, this series seems like Washington’s to lose, but the tides have greatly shifted since rookie netminder Vitek Vanecek left game one with an injury. He was replaced by 39-year-old Craig Anderson.
The veteran back stopper faired well all things considered, and eventually picked up the win; however, it’s been a few seasons since he was a consistently solid goaltender. Leaning on him for a playoff run is far from ideal, and greatly hurts Washington’s chances of advancing.
If the Caps hope to win this series, they’ll need to continue their dominance of the B’s penalty kill. Throughout this season, Washington owned Boston on the power play by scoring at around an impressive 25% clip. At the end of the day, however, the trick will be keeping the puck out of their own net until either Vanecek, or Ilya Samsonov is able to return.
The Caps looked strong in game one, but pick the Bruins to win the series.
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