There wasn’t a lot of hope for the Ottawa Senators coming into the 2018/19 season; no one would have bet on them to make it to the playoffs.
So, their standing of rock bottom in the NHL past the halfway mark doesn’t come as a surprise.
As it stands, before the trade deadline, they’re also set to be sans selection in the first round of the draft, gifting what will likely be the first overall pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the Matt Duchene trade of early 2017.
Despite the season seemingly being lost for the Sens, there’s still an ever-growing hope in Canada that it may just be the year.
At the beginning of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs joint-led in the odds to win the Stanley Cup and now, 47 or so games on, more teams from Canada have emerged to win it all.
Hope is on the rise; it’s just trying to predict which team has the best chance.
How to bet on your favourite team
— theScore (@theScore) January 9, 2019
Puckooler, via Twitter
As of the middle of January, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, and surprisingly the Montreal Canadiens are all in playoff places, with the Edmonton Oilers close in tow.
So, naturally, Canadian fans of the sport have been seeking ways to capitalise on their knowledge and predictions, through betting.
In Canada, anyone can utilise Instadebit Canada to place a bet on the NHL at any top sportsbook that takes the popular deposit method, meaning that even more people can win if Canada finally breaks its 26-year Cup-less streak.
While the Tampa Bay Lightning, naturally, sit way ahead in the odds, the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets come in as Canada’s top teams at 8/1 and 9/1, respectively, to win the Stanley Cup – likely because they wouldn’t meet the Bolts until the Finals.
The formerly top-rated Maple Leafs have slid since their lightning start which saw them blitz NHL Win Efficiency rankings, and would most probably have to overcome Tampa Bay in the playoffs: thus they sit with 10/1 odds.
Conference in with a shot
— PUCKOOLER (@puckooler) January 7, 2019
theScore, via Twitter
If they can keep it up, the Winnipeg Jets look to enter the playoffs as the most defensively sound team while the offence of the Calgary Flames is by far the best of any team not playing out of the Amalie Arena.
Both teams look well-rounded enough to go deep in the postseason, and while there are great threats from down south – mainly the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators – they appear equipped to tackle any opponent.
Tampa Bay will most likely rule the Power Rankings for the rest of the season, perhaps even strengthening their team at the trade deadline, and they look too good to stop in the postseason.
In the Western Conference, it will be scrappy, especially if Connor McDavid carries the Edmonton Oilers in or the Vegas Golden Knights pull off some of their performances from last year, making the road to the finals treacherous for Canada’s best teams of right now.
The Lightning look nigh unstoppable, with the best hope being that the occasion of the Stanley Cup Finals stifles them.
If a Canadian team makes it from the Western Conference, they could reap the benefits of playing against a team that may be a bit weary from going gung-ho since October.