The 2019 NHL Playoffs have been highly entertaining thus far. In fact, it's the first time in NHL history that every division winner has been knocked out in the first round of the postseason. Alex Ovechkin and the reigning champion Washington Capitals lost a heart-breaking double-overtime Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who tied the NHL record for wins with 62, were stunned in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Columbus Blue Jackets swept them. The Lightning entered the NHL Playoffs 2019 as the 2-1 favorite to hoist the cup, but their shocking defeat, along with the early exits for the Penguins, Predators and Golden Knights, have shaken up the 2019 Stanley Cup odds in a massive way. The Boston Bruins are the new 2019 Stanley Cup favorites at 3-1 after seeing their NHL Playoffs odds drop from 12-1 a week ago. The Blues (9-2), Sharks (5-1), Islanders (7-1), Hurricanes (7-1) and Blue Jackets (7-1) aren't too far behind. With six teams getting 7-1 or lower to win it all, be sure to see the NHL playoff predictions from SportsLine hockey guru David Kelly before locking in your 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs picks.
Kelly, an esteemed NHL handicapper who returned almost $3,500 on his NHL picks last season, has been on some impressive NHL runs this season as well. He entered the playoffs on a 7-0 heater on all of his NHL picks and has also nailed 19 of his last 30 NHL picks against the spread overall. Anybody who has been following along is way, way up.
Now, Kelly has examined the updated odds of every team winning the NHL Playoffs 2019 and locked in his top targets and teams to avoid like the plague. He's only sharing them over at SportsLine.
We can tell you he's eyeing the Boston Bruins at 3-1, who won three of their last four games against the Maple Leafs to advance to the second round.
"The Columbus Blue Jackets aren't the Maple Leafs, but they are very similar," Kelly told SportsLine. "The Bruins, except for brief spurts of Toronto intensity, never looked like a loser in the series and they too simply don't quit. I fear that Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci are just too much to handle and Tuukka Rask seems on-point right now. The Bruins should win in five or six games." Look for the Bruins to continue rolling and advance past the second round for the first time since 2012-13.
One surprise: Kelly wants no part of the St. Louis Blues, who enter the second round with the second-best odds to hoist the Stanley Cup.
The Blues closed the season playing as well as any team in the NHL. In fact, St. Louis became the first team that was in last place in the league at the beginning of the calendar year to advance to the postseason. The Blues had just 34 points as of Jan. 2, but quickly turned things around and even set a new franchise-record for consecutive victories with 11.
However, the Blues will face one of the NHL's hottest goaltenders in the second round. Stars goalie Ben Bishop was stellar in the first round against Nashville with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. Those stats are better than his regular season totals of 1.98 and .934, both franchise records. The Vezina Trophy finalist had a career-high 47 saves in Dallas' close-out victory over the Predators and he'll look to continue his dominant play between the pipes against the Blues.
Kelly is also high on an under-the-radar team that was once a massive underdog to win it all. Anyone who backs this team could hit it big.
Who wins the Stanley Cup? And which undervalued team can go all the way? Check out the latest 2019 NHL Playoff odds to win below and then visit SportsLine to see who you should back to win the Stanley Cup, all from the Toronto-born analyst who has crushed his NHL picks.
Boston Bruins 3-1
St. Louis Blues 9-2
San Jose Sharks 5-1
Columbus Blue Jackets 7-1
New York Islanders 7-1
Carolina Hurricanes 7-1
Colorado Avalanche 8-1
Dallas Stars 9-1