It will not be a surprise to see the teams that are currently in the top-eight in the NHL’s Eastern Conference make up the list of clubs that make the 2021-22 Stanley Cup playoffs. From a points perspective, there are six points separating the top seven clubs – Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington, NY Rangers, Carolina, Toronto and Pittsburgh.
There is then a nine-point falloff between the No. 7 Penguins and No. 8 Bruins. The odds to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2021-22 Stanley Cup finals show how close the top teams in the conference are as the midpoint of the schedule nears. Please check out our guide for betting on the 2022 NHL Awards and don’t forget to take a look at the best NHL betting sites.
2021-22 NHL Eastern Conference Futures
|Tampa Bay Lightning||4.59||4.50|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||5.07||5.00|
|New York Rangers||9.64||9.00|
|New York Islanders||34.18||36.00|
|Detroit Red Wings||47.54||46.00|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||63.00||51.00|
|New Jersey Devils||66.40||81.00|
Tampa Bay looks for three in a row
The Tampa Bay Lightning, the winners of the past two Stanley Cups, are once again the favourites to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. The last team to win three Cups in a row was the NY Islanders dynasty, which hoisted the Cup in four consecutive years between 1980 and 1983. Tampa Bay has an excellent chance to win again this year.
However, if the Lightning lose starting goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, they could be in big trouble. Each of the team’s three losses in December came without Vasilevskiy between the pipes. The team was outscored 17-3 in those games, including a 9-3 loss to the Panthers and a 4-0 shutout to the Ottawa Senators. Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins with 19 right now, but he has only played over 53 games in a season once in his career, so his workload is something to monitor as the season progresses.
Florida Panthers are poised
The Florida Panthers began the 2021-22 NHL season on a 10-1 run. Things got a bit rocky after that and the team could not string together any more than four wins in a row. That wouldn’t have been terrible had the team also not had two very rough patches where they lost four straight and three in a row.
The Panthers carried another four-game winning streak into January, but once again failed to win five in a row when they dropped a 6-5 game to the Dallas Stars in the shootout. The Panthers outscored their opponents 24-10 during that winning stretch. If Florida can avoid prolonged losing skids, they will be a team to watch throughout the 2021-22 NHL campaign.
Could this be Toronto’s year?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the best goaltender in the NHL right now in Jack Campbell. Campbell has the lowest goals-against average in the NHL at 1.87 and best save percentage at .939. As long as Campbell, who is second in the NHL in shutouts with four stays hot, the Leafs will be a team to watch in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
The Leafs also have some potent scoring with William Nylander, John Tavares and Auston Matthews all among the top-18 players in points in the NHL.
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Our 2022 NHL Eastern Conference futures pick:
With two Stanley Cup wins in a row and a top goaltender, the Tampa Bay Lightning look poised to become a dynasty. We’re going with the Lightning to make it three years in a row as the top team in the Eastern Conference.
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