We are past the halfway point of the 2018-19 NHL season, and chances are on which groups will collide in the Stanley Cup final, outside. In accordance with sportsbooks, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames will be the favorites to match in the tournament in June.
In 5Dimes, a Lightning-Flames Cup matchup is the front-runner in +1210, with Lightning-Winnipeg Jets (+1380), Lightning-Nashville Predators (+1410), Lightning-Vegas Golden Knights (+1515) and Lightning-San Jose Sharks (+1965) up on the oddsboard.
Plenty of surprises so far this year As of February 7, the quad (81 points), Toronto Maple Leafs (69) and New York Islanders (66) were topping the standings in the East, while the Flames (73), Jets (71) and Sharks (69) reigned supreme in the West.
The Flames were expected to be an improved group entering the campaign, but no one noticed them leading the Conference entering 2019. Calgary boasts the second-most targets in the league with 197, trailing just the Dragon (207 goals). The Philadelphia Flyers have been an afterthought for the majority of the campaign but have rattled off eight straight wins and were only a few points out of a playoff place as of the writing.
Parity is king in the NHL, as the 2018 Stanley Cup final between the expansion the perennially underachieving Washington Capitals was clearly one that virtually nobody could have predicted at the start of the effort and Golden Knights. It remains to be seen if we will see another matchup that is long-shot next June, though.