NHL Favorites Struggling in Playoffs, Driving Bettors Crazy

on April 18, 2017

It’s tough to be a Chicago Blackhawks or Washington Capitals fan right now. The two top teams are not acting like it and in turn are frustrating people who have wagered on them to win the Stanley Cup.

NHL Playoffs

The Chicago Blackhawks entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the favorite to win it all, but are facing elimination by the Nashville Predators. (Image: USA Today)

The Capitals and the Blackhawks were the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences, but both have struggled so far in the opening round of the playoffs.

Before the playoffs began, both teams were strong favorites to meet in the Stanley Cup finals, but now fans, and those who bet on them, are questioning whether they will even get past their initial opponent.

Chicago Facing Elimination

The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference was the Blackhawks and for good reason. The team finished a tight divisional race and was three points better than the Minnesota Wild. The Anaheim Ducks, who finished first in the Pacific Division, were four points behind.

Chicago was a plus-400 choice to win the Cup, but has acted anything other than the favorite in the first round. Facing Nashville, who finished fourth in the same division, they find themselves on the brink of elimination, trailing the Predators 3-0.

After losing in overtime Monday night, Patrick Kane said he realizes his team is in trouble.

“It’s tough right now,” Kane said. “Let this one sting a little bit tonight. We have two [days] in between, so get rested, come back feeling good. Take it one at a time. I know that’s cliché and things you have to say, but at the same time win one game. See what happens after that.”

Washington in Trouble

The Capitals, who were plus-450 to win the Cup, were the dominant team in the regular season, but find themselves struggling against the young and inexperienced Toronto Maple Leafs. They are down 2-1 in the best of seven series.

Unfortunately this is familiar territory for Washington. Last year they entered as a favorite and lost in the second round to the eventual champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Until we change the narrative, that’s going to be the question,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “So it’s up to us to change it. You can’t talk about it, you’ve got to just go out and do it.”

They don’t have much time to turn their fortunes around. They face another match up on the road Wednesday and are without defenseman Karl Alzner for the second consecutive game.