Injuries, Suspensions Dramatically Swing NHL Playoff Odds
Suspensions, injuries, surprise new player additions -- those and other things can swing a playoff series, and these NHL playoffs may be no exception.
Let’s take a look at how some recent developments might affect the Stanley Cup betting odds of several current NHL series.
Hedman Absence Further Dooms Lightning
Probably the biggest story of these playoffs so far has been the collapse of the Tampa Bay Lightning. A 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 1 against the second wild-card Columbus Blue Jackets is now a 3-0 series deficit.
Victor Hedman, the Lightning’s best defenseman, couldn’t play in Game 3 Sunday because of an undisclosed injury. Hedman missed the final four games of the regular season, and didn’t play well in the first two games.
So, it’s clearly a bad situation right now. The Lightning - prohibitive favorites all seasonfor the Stanley Cup, a team that tied the all-time NHL record with 62 regular-season wins, are now +500 to win this series at SugarHouse and the Blue Jackets -770. The Lightning are a whopping +1500 to win the Cup.
If any team can win four in a row, it’s Tampa Bay, and it’s been done before. But without Hedman, the job gets that much tougher.
Kadri Suspension Hurts Toronto
Nazem Kadri already had a rap sheet with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, and it got longer on Monday. The Toronto Maple Leafs forward received an in-person hearing for cross-checking Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk in the head in Game 2 of their playoff series Saturday.
The NHL is expected to suspend Kadri, and there is no question that is likely to hurt the Maple Leafs’ chances in this series. Officially, the series is a toss-up, with each team at -110 at 888Sport. Kadri was the Maple Leafs’ third-line center, between Patrick Marleau and William Nylander.
I think the Bruins will win this series, and the Kadri suspension will play a role in that. Toronto earned home-ice advantage with a solid Game 1 win in Boston, but Kadri’s lack of discipline sets all that back now.
A New Player in Colorado
Cale Makar won the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA player of the year for the University of Massachusetts, taking his team to the title game before losing to Minnesota-Duluth Saturday night.
By Sunday morning, he was a newly-signed member of the Colorado Avalanche and he’s likely to play for the Avs starting in Game 3 Monday of a 1-1 series with the Calgary Flames.
Makar would have been a nice addition anyway, but maybe more so now, as top defenseman Sam Girard left Game 2 in overtime after taking a big hit from Sam Bennett. Makar, a right-shot, offensive defender with blazing speed, was the fourth overall selection in the 2017 NHL draft.
Calgary remains the favorite to win the series, at -215 at 888Sport, but the Avalanche is a lot more attractive play now at +170. The Flames still have home-ice advantage, but Makar makes the Avs a much better bet.
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