The Stanley Cup Playoffs have reached the Conference Finals stage. And in the West, the Colorado Avalanche have been in dominant form, crushing their opponents in the first two rounds. In round one, it was a blowout of the Nashville Predators (4-0), a series in which the Avalanche outscored their opponents 21-9. Next up was the St. Louis Blues, whom they dispatched to the offseason by a tally of 4-2.
This is nothing but good news for all involved in Colorado sports betting, from fans to sportsbooks.
Western Conference Finals
In the Western Conference Finals, the Avalanche face the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers figure to be more competitive opponents having just cruised past the Calgary Flames 4-1 in the Western Conference semi-finals. Even more impressively they did so by winning the last 4 games in a row after an epic 9-6 loss in Game 1 of that series.
During the regular season, Colorado claimed the better head-to-head record against the Oilers at 2-1, losing one game at home. If the Avalanche has an advantage in the Conference Finals it’s their ability to strongly defend home ice. During the regular season, they had an incredible record of 32-5-4 at home. They are 3-2-0 during the playoffs. Importantly, they will have the home ice advantage in the Conference Finals. That bodes well for the chances of Colorado making it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Eastern Conference Picture
Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers demolished the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 in Game 7 of the semis to win the series 4-3. They move on to face the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning made it to their third straight Eastern Conference championship by crushing the Florida Panthers 4-0 in their semi-finals matchup. The Panthers had entered the Stanley Cup playoffs with the best regular season record in the NHL at 58-18-6. They did not back that record up against the Lightning. With the Panthers now on the sidelines, it would appear to be a toss-up between the Rangers and Lightning.
If the Lightning are to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals for a chance at a three-peat, they will have to find a way to score against the best defense in the NHL. During the regular season, the Rangers only gave up 207 goals. During round two against the Hurricanes, the Rangers only allowed 13 goals over the 7-game series.
In head-to-head competition between the Rangers and Lightning, the Rangers dominated with a record of 3-0, allowing only 4 goals in the process. But dismissing the chances of the two-time returning champs would be foolish. They clearly know how to win big games.
Which Opponent Would The Avalanche Prefer?
Should the Avalanche make it past the Oilers, do they have a favored matchup against either of the Eastern finalists? Well they beat the Rangers twice (against no losses) during the regular season. In those two games Colorado’s offense had no problems figuring out the Rangers’ defense, scoring a total of 11 goals.
Against the Lightning during the regular season, Colorado also went 2-0 while scoring 7 goals against 5 goals allowed.
It’s obviously a small sample but it appears that Colorado stacks up well against both possible Eastern Conference foes. If they have to play the Rangers, they will have to keep scoring against that lockdown defense the Rangers employ. If the Lightning get the call, the Avalanche will have to beat a team that seems to really come to life when they make it to the Finals.
With home ice advantage against both teams in a potential finals matchup, the Avalanche would probably prefer to try to dethrone the Lightning.
Here are the betting odds to win the Stanley Cup heading into the Conference championships:
Colorado Avalanche +220
Tampa Bay Lightning +330
New York Rangers +600
Edmonton Oilers +650
Odds change daily and vary by sportsbook so it’s worth shopping around for the best price. It’s a good time to be a Colorado sports betting fan but the path to Stanley Cup glory is rarely a smooth one.