With the play-offs now underway, we turn our attention to the business end of the NHL season. Tampa Bay Lightning recorded back-to-back triumphs last year and with the same core roster still in place, they could well repeat the trick a third time… but we think that the Stanley Cup is heading somewhere else this year.
With that in mind, we’ve outlined our three biggest picks for who you should back when placing a wager on this year’s competition. To do so, we’ve analyzed their regular season form and their current injury list to arrive at our conclusions, so we’d recommend placing bets on one or all of these candidates, especially if you have access to free bets at your sportsbook of choice. Speaking of which, if you are looking for awesome promotions then be sure to check casino bonuses in Canada, which give the best possible value and the biggest bang for your buck.
On with the predictions!
To date, Colorado have just two Stanley Cups to their name – and the most recent of those arrived over two decades ago. However, we believe that 2022 could be the year they buck that trend and get their name up in lights once more. That’s largely due to the explosive front line they possess in offense and the defensive stability they’ve got at the back – as well as their fighting spirit this year.
In fact, it might come as a surprise to those who only glance at the Avalanche’s lofty place in the NHL standings this season, but they’ve suffered a bruising run of injuries throughout the campaign. Having lost Bowen Byram for over 50 games, Gabriel Landeskog for over 25 and star man Nathan Mackinnon for over 15, they’ve somehow found a way to overcome the odds and battle through. That same spirit could see them lift the Cup for the first time since 2001.
The gears are whirring into place at just the right time for Calgary. Having recorded a 10-game winning streak at the end of February, they have all the momentum with them going into the play-offs and their stats for the season are formidable, at both ends of the rink.
Up top, the power trio of Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau are blowing away the opposition, with Gaudreau in particular looking likely to surpass his excellent form of 2018-19 when he scored 99 points. At the back, Jacob Markstrom has been extremely stingy in the cage, having enjoyed the most shutouts of any team, while the steady hand on the tiller of veteran coach Daryl Sutter has been there and done that already when it comes to lifting the Stanley Cup. The smart money says he could well do it again.
It’s not just because the Panthers have clinched the Eastern Conference title that we’re backing them to go one better and win their first ever Stanley Cup this year. It’s also to do with the quality they boast in their roster across the board.
A strong candidate for the Hart Trophy this year, Jonathan Huberdeau remains criminally underrated and clinically precise in attack, while he’s ably supported by Sam Bennett, Aleksandr Barkov and Sam Reinhart. Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky is having a superb season in the sticks, so much so that the Panthers’ 2019 first round draft pick Spencer Knight can’t get anywhere near the team sheet. Together, they could just make history this time around.
Who do you think will raise the Stanley Cup this year? Get your predictions in now!