by Dan Adkisson
The 2023 NHL Playoffs are finally here. The regular season saw a few surprises, a few disappointments, and a whole lot of scoring. As a matter of fact, this is the most 100-point scorers that the NHL has had since the 1995-96 season.
But what does it mean for the playoffs? In particular, what does it mean from a betting perspective? Before you start looking at NHL playoffs odds, it helps to know what to look for in this year’s playoffs. Here are four things to consider before betting on the playoffs.
Last year’s quarterfinals featured a tremendous matchup between the Leafs and Lightning. The Lightning, coming off of back-to-back Cup wins, were thought to be on the downside of their tremendous playoff run.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, that was not the case. The Leafs had the champs on the ropes, heading back to Tampa for a decisive Game 6 and the chance to move out of the first round for the first time since 2002. As the Leafs are wont to do, they lost both Game 6 and Game 7, shown the door in dramatic fashion yet again.
The two meet again this postseason with the Leafs looking like the decisive favorites. They are deeper than ever, more driven than ever, but also have more pressure than ever. Is this the year the Leafs get the monkey off their back?
Don’t sleep on the Kings
Everyone will have their eyes on teams like the Avalanche and Oilers in the Western Conference. That said, sleeping on the Kings is a bad idea. Though they are one of the younger teams in the league, the Kings have what it takes to make a deep run.
Not only do they have they added several key players in recent years, players like Anze Kopitar and Drew Droughty continue to play at an elite level and have played pivotal roles in the franchise’s playoff history. From top to bottom, LA has the qualities of a potentially strong playoff team. They play well in their own end, making it tough on the opposition. The Kings are also good in the faceoff circle, a crucial trait when the playoffs come around. The road ahead will be tough, but the Kings could be the team to shock many. Don’t be surprised if you look up and the Kings are suddenly in the Western Conference Final.
Can Boston run the table?
The Boston Bruins have had a season to remember. They set the record for most wins in the regular season with 64. They set the record for the most points as well, posting 133 points. They were the fastest to 10 wins, 20 wins, 30 wins, etc.
As the runaway Presidents Trophy winner, they are going to be favorites in each of their playoff matchups. But history is not on their side. The last time a Presidents Trophy winner won the Stanley Cup was back in 2013 when the Chicago Blackhawks achieved the feat. Can the Bruins overcome history and get back to the mountaintop?
The Year of McJesus?
Connor McDavid is the greatest player that we have seen since perhaps The Great One himself. Unfortunately, unlike The Great One, McDavid has yet to hoist the big trophy. This year, the Oilers have put together one of their best regular seasons in years.
McDavid and Draisaitl can score on anyone at any time. Do they have enough defense and goaltending to finally propel the Oilers to the Cup Final? Is this the year that McDavid decides he’s had enough and becomes so dominant that there is no stopping the Oilers? The path in the Western Conference is as open as it has been in years, though the Avalanche remain. This will be the best shot the Oilers have had in a long time.