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Ducks, Habs Season’s Real Surprise

Chicago ran its point-scoring streak up to 22 games on Sunday with a shootout win in Detroit.

The Blackhawks put on a resilient display to come back from a 1-0 deficit to tie the Red Wings with just 2:02 left in regulation, securing at least a point from the game for the 22nd time this season. Patrick Kane would go on to score the winning shootout goal, turning that one point into two

Whilst all eyes are firmly fixed on Chicago (19-0-3, 41pts) and newspaper and internet inches are being devoted to the side’s historic run, the Blackhawks are not the biggest surprise this season. In fact, although there’s no doubting the impressiveness of this run, it’s not the biggest surprise in the NHL. After all, Chicago was ranked second in the west and fifth in the league ahead of the season.

BettingSports.com has dissected the NHL futures to reveal some of the more surprising teams, beginning with an unlikely contender in both conferences.

Trending Up

Chicago isn’t the only team making noise out west. Anaheim (15-3-3, 33pts) has shrugged off preseason expectations of mediocrity to lead the Pacific Division and post the second best record in all of hockey.

Ryan Getzlaf and the Anaheim Ducks have already exceeded expectation this season and now look like a serious threat in the Western Conference.

Ahead of the season, the Ducks were expected to finish outside of the playoff picture for a second straight year and for the third time in four years. On opening day, odds of the Ducks winning the Western Conference and the Stanley Cup were set at 20/1 and 45/1 respectively.

The Ducks have lost a pair of shootouts to Phoenix over the past three days but prior to that the team had secured 13 wins in its last 15 games. Bookmakers were quick to note.

The latest NHL futures odds have Anaheim listed as 13/2 to win the Western Conference and 12/1 to lift the Stanley Cup. This shortening of odds has seen the side’s ranking go from 10th to third in the conference and 24th to fifth in the league.

In the Eastern Conference, Montreal (14-4-4, 32pts) has experienced similar success.

The Canadiens opened the season with odds of 16/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 35/1 to win it all, ranking the side ninth and 19th respectively.

Montreal opened the season with six wins from its first seven games, and more recently has taken seven games from 10. The result is a conference-leading 32 points, which edges preseason favorite Pittsburgh out by two points.

Impressive at home and on the road, the Habs have seen their odds slashed by bookmakers. The side is now considered 7/1 to win the conference and 15/1 to lift Lord Stanley’s cup, rankings of third and seventh respectively.

Both Montreal and Anaheim need to be on bettors’ radars now.

Trending Down

For every team that trends upwards, there are those that trend downwards.

Expected to fight for the Prince of Wales Trophy, both the Flyers and Rangers have struggled early this season.

This season, the most obvious of these is the New York Rangers (10-8-2, 22pts). Favorites to win it all when pucks dropped on Jan. 19, the Rangers haven’t been able to consistently put it all together just yet, and currently reside just outside the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.

Understandably, bookmakers have lengthened the team’s conference (from 4/1 to 15/2) and Stanley Cup (8/1 to 18/1) odds, but those number show Vegas hasn’t bailed on the team completely.

Another Atlantic Division side has felt the pinch this season also. Philadelphia (11-11-1, 23pts) was a hot pick back in January, with odds of 7/1 and 14/1 to win the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup respectively. Only the Rangers and Penguins were liked more on the right coast.

But like the Rangers, the Flyers have been inconsistent, splitting wins and losses evenly. Five wins from the last seven suggest that Peter Laviolette’s side may be ready to turn things around, but for now the team has seen its odds drop to 16/1 and 35/1 respectively.

Out west, Detroit (10-8-4, 24pts) is in a similar predicament.

Ahead of the season, bookmakers had the Red Wings ranked No. 5 in the Western Conference. As it stands, the side sits in 10th place, although that is somewhat misleading.

The Wings are actually just two points behind Vancouver in third and a single point behind Phoenix in third. In fact, there are nine teams in the conference separated by just three points. The West is gearing up to be one heck of a race this season.

Still, odds makers have shortened the Wings’ odds from 8/1 (conference) and 18/1 (league) to 18/1 and 35/1 respectively. History suggests though that Detroit – a team that has not missed the playoffs since 1989-90 – will be in the thick of it come the end of April.

Like Detroit, bookmakers have also taken a long hard look at Edmonton (8-9-4, 20pts) and decided they’re not enamored with what they see.

After being assessed odds of 9/1 to win the Western Conference and 18/1 to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the season, the Oilers find their odds slipping drastically. Those odds now stand at 20/1 and 40/1, while the team itself has tallied just 20 points.

With 11 loses over the last 15 games, Vancouver could struggle to make up ground, despite only being four points shy of a playoff spot. That being said, five of those 11 losses came in overtime or via a shootout, so the Canucks shouldn’t be stricken from the list just yet.


Current Odds to Win 2013 Stanley Cup

Odds to win conference in parenthesis

Chicago Blackhawks 17/4 (2/1)

Pittsburgh Penguins 15/2 (11/4)

Boston Bruins 8/1 (13/4)

Vancouver Canucks 11/1 (6/1)

Anaheim Ducks 12/1 (13/2)

St. Louis Blues 14/1 (13/2)

Montreal Canadiens 15/1 (7/1)

Los Angeles Kings 18/1 (9/1)

New York Rangers 18/1 (15/2)

San Jose Sharks 20/1 (10/1)

Minnesota Wild 25/1 (14/1)

Carolina Hurricanes 25/1 (11/1)

New Jersey Devils 28/1 (12/1)

Toronto Maple Leafs 30/1 (16/1)

Detroit Red Wings 35/1 (18/1)

Ottawa Senators 35/1 (16/1)

Philadelphia Flyers 35/1 (16/1)

Nashville Predators 40/1 (18/1)

Edmonton Oilers 40/1 (20/1)

Tampa Bay Lightning 40/1 (18/1)

Dallas Stars 45/1 (22/1)

Phoenix Coyotes 50/1 (25/1)

Washington Capitals 50/1 (22/1)

Calgary Flames 75/1 (45/1)

Buffalo Sabres 75/1 (40/1)

Winnipeg Jets 75/1 (40/1)

Colorado Avalanche 100/1 (60/1)

New York Islanders 100/1 (50/1)

Florida Panthers 150/1 (75/1)

Columbus Blue Jackets 500/1 (200/1)

All odds supplied by Bovada.

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