- The Colorado Avalanche (+125) are favored to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals this June
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers (+1000) have an impressive 24-8-3 record under new coach Jay Woodcroft
- Calgary (+390), Minnesota (+800) and St. Louis (+900) all have the scoring and toughness to win the West
The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway a week from today – and as we are all aware by now, anything can happen in the most unpredictable tournament in professional sports.
Colorado once again cruised to the best regular-season record in the Western Conference, but the Avalanche haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since their last championship in 2001.
Let’s analyze all the contenders out West and make our picks on who will capture the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and play for Lord Stanley in June. Here’s also where you can find the top betting sites for NHL hockey in 2022 and smart wagering tips in our 2022 Stanley Cup betting guide.
Western Conference Winner
Can anyone stop the Avs?
With nothing to play for, the Avalanche (+125) had lost three straight heading into Sunday night’s action. But this should be a confident team heading into May despite its recent postseason failures. Even though star players such as Gabriel Landeskog (27 games), Nathan MacKinnon (16) and Nazem Kadri (11) missed significant time with injuries, Colorado skated to the second-best record in hockey this year.
Additionally, their most-likely first-round opponents — the Dallas Stars (+2000) and the Nashville Predators (+2000) — have each played barely-.500 hockey over their past 10 games.
Nathan MacKinnon in the shootout: Pure filth. pic.twitter.com/0vtxUJQ5mS
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 10, 2022
The fly in the ointment
While they won’t have to face the golfing-bound Golden Knights, the team that eliminated them from last year’s postseason, the Avs will be in for a slugfest no matter who they face in the second round. The Wild (+800) and the Blues (+900) have been among the hottest teams in hockey since the trade deadline.
St. Louis hasn’t lost a game in regulation since March 26 and Minnesota had won seven of eight contents heading into Sunday night. Furthermore, both Central-division rivals play the type of heavy, hard-hitting hockey that could give Jared Bednar’s club trouble.
The Battle of Alberta
While there hasn’t been a Battle of Alberta playoff matchup in five seasons, Canadian hockey fans should get their way this year. Led by Hart Trophy candidate Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames (+390) have dominated their opponents throughout the 2021-22 campaign while Edmonton (+1000) has been reinvigorated under coach Jay Woodcroft with a 24-8-3 record through 35 games.
Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, and Elias Lindholm combined for 12 points in a 9-1 win against the Coyotes tonight 😳 pic.twitter.com/pQXs624vhq
— BarDown (@BarDown) April 17, 2022
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were surprisingly swept out of the first round by Winnipeg last year. However, the Oilers probably have the easiest Round 1 draw this postseason given that Los Angeles (+3000) will be without franchise defenseman Drew Doughty.
Speaking of the Kings, Darryl Sutter coached the franchise to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014 and this Calgary team could be his most talented yet.
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: