The Colorado Avalanche dominated the Western Conference this season, piling up 119 points to easily top the Central Division. They’ll look to capitalize on that success by winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in over two decades, though it’ll be far from an easy road in the playoffs.
The Avalanche enter the postseason as the +320 favorite to win the Stanley Cup at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Colorado longing for Stanley Cup Playoffs success
That puts Colorado far ahead of even the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers (+550), who topped the league with 122 points. Florida also led the league in goal differential at +94.
The Panthers are now the second choice at most sportsbooks, a significant rise from their preseason odds. But Colorado has essentially run the table as the Stanley Cup favorite.
|2022 Stanley Cup Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Colorado Avalanche: +320||Florida Panthers: +550|
|Calgary Flames: +700||Carolina Hurricanes: +850|
|Toronto Maple Leafs: +850||Tampa Bay Lightning: +1400|
|St. Louis Blues: +1700||New York Rangers: +1700|
|Edmonton Oilers: +1900||Boston Bruins: +2000|
|Pittsburgh Penguins: +2000||Minnesota Wild: +2100|
|Washington Capitals: +3400||Los Angeles Kings: +4200|
|Dallas Stars: +5000||Nashville Predators: +5000|
The Avalanche have enjoyed talented teams for years, but haven’t found much postseason success as of late. While this is the fifth straight Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance for Colorado, they’ve only won three series in that time. Colorado is currently coming off of three straight second-round exits.
“I think everybody realizes what a team we have [in the locker room] and what an opportunity this is,” Avalanche winger and captain Gabriel Landeskog told The Denver Post. “I’m sitting here in my 11th season and [Nathan MacKinnon] is in his ninth. You don’t get that many cracks at the can, especially with a team like this.”
With that in mind, the Avalanche are entering the playoffs with a Stanley Cup or bust mentality. That begins with an opening series against the seemingly overmatched Nashville Predators. Colorado comes into the series as a massive -650 favorite, suggesting the true tests will come in later rounds.
Panthers secure home-ice advantage
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Panthers will hold home-ice advantage in every series they play, including in any potential Stanley Cup Finals matchup. Florida has been dominant at home, winning 33 of 41 games there, a mark that’s tied for third-most in league history.
“There is a lot of excitement, lots of smiles,” Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar told reporters. “We have known our place for a while now. Down the stretch, it might be tough to get into those games because your mindset was thinking about the playoffs so long ago, but there is lots of excitement. Maybe some nerves, but good nerves.”
Like the Avalanche, the Panthers will start off as heavy favorites in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, though they face a slightly trickier foe. Florida starts as a -350 favorite over the Washington Capitals (+275) in the first round.
Other Stanley Cup contenders are also in the mix, some of whom started their playoffs journeys yesterday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs (+850 to win the Stanley Cup) started their postseason with an emphatic 5-0 victory over the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning (+1400) on Monday. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes (+850) also got off to a quick start, beating the Boston Bruins 5-1. The third overall choice, the Calgary Flames (+700) will start their postseason on Tuesday when they host the Dallas Stars.