The Stanley Cup is one of the most coveted prizes in all sports. It is certainly the most coveted prize when it comes to the NHL. It is difficult to gauge who will likely end up as the Stanley Cup winner this season since a lot of teams have shown inconsistent form over the year. With SugarHouse sports betting PA starting to see more people making their own predictions, we have looked over the top contenders at this point to see what they have to offer. Who is likely to take the biggest prize in hockey this season?
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning was the top pick of many at the start of the season. The team has performed to a good level this season so far and is definitely in with a shout to take away the Stanley Cup. However, the Bruins and Panthers have been running Tampa Bay close in the Atlantic Division. If the Lightning is unable to pull away from the pack, it could see the team getting a lesser seed or even missing out on the playoffs completely. The Lightning definitely has the quality to push for the Stanley Cup, but it looks like they look will be just falling short this season. However, if they make the right moves in the offseason, then next season could see them dominate the sport.
The Bruins have been strong this season. Although they do seem to be slightly behind the Lightning in terms of what they offer, they should still make the playoffs this season. Whether they have a chance at lifting the Stanley Cup is a different matter. The Bruins should make the playoffs, but we think lifting the trophy is beyond them, which will undoubtedly upset their demanding fans.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues won the Stanley Cup last season. They are dominating the Central Division at the moment and look to be a sure-fire pick to make the playoffs. However, even with all that, they could be just a little behind some of the other teams when it comes to retaining the trophy. The Blues definitely have the quality and a winning mentality, but whether they can pull it out of the bag for a second season in a row is a different question. They might make the final, but winning the Stanley Cup for a second year should be just a step too far for the Blues.
The Penguins have been up and down all season this time out. There are a lot of question marks about whether they have the consistency to be able to challenge for the Stanley Cup. It goes without saying that they have the ability within their roster to win it. If they play at their best, then they are a match for anyone. The problem is playing at their best over a long period of time, as they seem to be unable to maintain their top level of performance. This does not come as a surprise, as very few people predicted them as Stanley Cup winners at the start of the season. This season has not changed anyone’s minds. The Penguins should make the playoffs, but that is probably as far as they will go.
New York Islanders
The Islanders are a stark contrast to their neighbours the Rangers. They seem to be making a late push to grab a wild card place in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders are a strange team to watch. When in peak form, they are one of the best teams in the league, but at their worst, they look like they would struggle to beat a team of school children. They have an outside chance of making the playoffs, and once they are there, there is always the possibility that they will pull off a shock. However, it is very unlikely, and if the Islanders do make the playoffs, expect to see them for just one round.
The Capitals have been a dominant force in the Metropolitan Division this season. They were an outside choice at the start of the season, but they have confounded critics all through the year. This could well be the year for them. They look certain to make the playoffs, and once they are there, they can go toe to toe with anyone in the league without any fear. If the Capitals can take their regular season form into the playoffs, then expect them to dethrone the Blues and be living the Stanley Cup come the season’s end.