We are officially into the second half of the 2022–23 NHL regular season, which means one thing: we’re inching ever closer to the 2023 playoffs, the hockey that matters most to players and fans alike. Despite hockey players wanting to play through injury just to get time on the ice, several contenders have suffered significant lost man games this season, and will be looking for a healthy roster to ignite a late season push. But before we get to the fun stuff, there is still a lot more regular season hockey to come.
This season has had no shortage of entertaining storylines. With teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs starting off super slow but then getting their game in gear to comfortably hold home ice advantage in the East, to the Montreal Canadiens who, despite the hype around their top line and Martin St. Louis behind the bench, are absolutely the anchor of the Atlantic division. Today we’ll be taking a look at two of the stand out teams in the Atlantic Division, and why the experts are pointing at the Atlantic as the most significant threat to go all the way this season and lift the Stanley Cup.
Starting with the team many of the sportsbooks favorites to take it all, the Boston Bruins.
Boston Bruins +500
It has been mostly smooth sailing for the Boston Bruins this season. It took three months for them to lose their first game at home in regulation (a game against the Seattle Kraken that ended 3–0), they sit top of the Atlantic division and boast the best record in the NHL so far. It is interesting seeing the Bruins doing so well, however, as many experts prior to the season believed they wouldn’t be very good this season. The Bruins have exceeded a lot of the expectations set for them before the season started, especially considering they were missing Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand due to injury in the early stages of the season.
Pastrnak in particular is having a monster season with 36 goals and 65 points in total so far, second and fourth in the NHL respectively. Since his return from injury Charlie McAvoy has managed to put up 29 points in 33 games, too. Across the board they have had contributions from every member of the roster, all leading to a fantastic season on the ice.
Toronto Maple Leafs +950
In the early stages of the season and in recent seasons gone by honestly, the Toronto Maple Leafs have found themselves truly struggling to win games when it really matters. This season, the biggest critique was on the goaltending tandem, with Kyle Dubas not opting to have a top tier name between the pipes and instead roll out a true 1A/1B tandem. However, with a 28–11–8 record and 64 points in 47 games, the third most in the league, the Leafs would probably argue they’re doing just fine. This team has an outrageous amount of attacking talent and are a lock for the playoffs once again. Their defense does need work, but so far they’re keeping pace and can look to bolster the blueline at the trade deadline.
When it comes to pushing forward, however, there have been a few players in particular who have been lighting it up on the ice. While Auston Matthews may not be scoring for fun like he has done in previous seasons, he still has 24 goals in 45 games, still a very impressive 43 goal pace. The play of the rest of Toronto’s big four (Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares) has been incredible, and no doubt the reason they are hot on the Bruins’ tail for first in the Atlantic Division.
Teams with the best odds
The top five teams on Stanley Cup future odds are:
- Boston Bruins +500
- Colorado Avalanche +700
- Carolina Hurricanes +750
- Toronto Maple Leafs +950
- Vegas Golden Knights +1100
The Boston Bruins, are currently billed as the favorite team to lift the Stanley Cup and the odds are pretty solid, you can get the Bruins at +500, which would see a $30 return from a $5 stake.
Fourth place on the list are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Taking a look at some of the recommended sportsbooks in Ontario for odds, here we found you could get around +950 for the Leafs to go all the way which would return $47.50 from a $5 stake. But let’s face it, the Leafs are pretty cursed. If they make it past the first round then maybe we could see history in the making with the Leafs and their first Stanley Cup since the 1966-67 season.
So, who else is in the running? In second place we find the Colorado Avalanche at +700, which would return $35 from a $5 stake. In third place are the Carolina Hurricanes at +750, which would return $37.50 from a $5 bet. And in fifth place are the Vegas Golden Knights at +1100, which would return $55 on a $5 bet.
How is your team performing this season? Do you think your team is going to make the playoffs? How do you think they will perform if they make the playoffs? Could they seriously go all the way and lift the Stanley Cup? Or will you be spending the postseason in misery, watching from the sidelines as other fans fight amongst themselves? Sometimes, it’s easier to enjoy hockey as a neutral, isn’t it?