The NHL playoffs are down to just four teams as the Stanley Cup semifinals are officially set.
West Virginia sportsbooks are now loaded with betting odds for these series, including updated futures.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights knocked off cup favorite Colorado in six games on Thursday night to solidify the last four teams.
Vegas will battle the surprising Montreal Canadiens in their semifinal, while the other matchup consists of the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning.
After trailing Toronto 3-1 in its opening-round series, Montreal reeled off seven straight wins to reach what would usually be considered the Conference Finals. Since the divisions were altered this year, teams weren’t really aligned by conference for the season or postseason bracket.
Tampa reached the other semifinal with relative ease. It beat in-state rival Florida in the first round, then proceeded to knock out Carolina in just five games.
The Lightning take on the Isles, who won seven of their last nine. They also trailed in the first round to Pittsburgh but rebounded to advance past the Penguins and then the Bruins.
Let’s examine both of the Stanley Cup semifinals and take a look at the odds posted at WV online sportsbooks.
NHL playoffs betting at WV sportsbooks
Knights vs. Canadiens betting preview
Montreal typically plays in the Eastern Conference, so this probably isn’t a Stanley Cup semifinal matchup that we’ll get to see again.
The Canadiens performed decently this year, but not many expected them to go far in these playoffs. They finished the regular season in fourth in the North Division, with just 59 points.
Your performance in the regular season only means so much, though. Since getting in a hole against the Maple Leafs, Montreal has been amazing.
A major reason for its recent success is veteran goalie Carey Price. He raised his game to new heights this postseason and has his side as confident as ever.
Price is 8-3 overall, with a 1.97 goals-against average. He’s stopping almost 94% of shots.
On the offensive side, right wing Tyler Toffoli leads the way in both goals and assists. He’s got 10 points, while center Nick Suzuki is second in the playoffs with eight.
Vegas had a great regular season but has been tested often in the playoffs. The Knights beat Minnesota in seven games in the first round before defeating the Avs in six.
They scored at least three goals in their last four contests and feature one of the NHL’s best offenses.
William Karlsson tops the rest of his teammates with 11 points thus far; however, eight skaters have at least seven points each.
Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is playing some quality hockey as well. He’s 8-4 this postseason, with a 1.91 GAA and a save rate around 92%.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook WV, Vegas is the heavy favorite to start the series. The online sportsbook shows the Knights at -400, while the Canadiens are available at +315.
Of course, Vegas is favored at home in the opener, too. DraftKings lists it at -265 to win the first game of the series Monday night. Bettors can take Montreal at +222.
The Knights now have the best odds to lift the Stanley Cup, at +115. Despite being sizable underdogs this round, the Canadiens have favorable odds of +900, considering just four teams remain.
Lightning vs. Islanders betting preview
The other semifinal is shaping up to be a little more competitive, at least on paper.
Tampa Bay is the defending champion, and it appears to have flipped a switch since entering the playoffs. It’s looked solid in both matchups thus far and hasn’t trailed in a series yet.
Nikita Kucherov has been on fire through 11 games. He’s accounted for 18 points, including 13 assists. Four other players have double-digit points in the postseason, including defenseman Victor Hedman.
The Lightning are tough to stop, and they’re difficult to score against as well.
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy looks formidable, posting an 8-3 mark with a 2.24 GAA. He’s also saving more than 93% of shots.
The Islanders trailed in both of their series but prevailed to reach the semifinals.
They’ve put in 15 goals in their last three games and are capable of scoring in bunches.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau is pacing this group with 13 points right now. Three others have at least 10 points, including center Brock Nelson, who scored twice in the series-clinching victory against Boston.
The Isles have split up who’s playing between the pipes, with Semyon Varlamov starting seven times and Ilya Sorokin taking the other five.
Varlamov started the previous five games, though, so bettors should expect to see him at least for Game 1. He’s sporting a GAA of 2.62 and saving around 93% of shots faced.
FanDuel Sportsbook WV lists Tampa as the favorite to move on at -250. The online sportsbook has New York at +200 to advance to the finals.
Naturally, the Lightning are also favored to win the opener. FanDuel shows them at -186 to win the first game, whereas the Isles are at +156.
As for odds to win the Stanley Cup, Tampa is just behind Las Vegas at +145. The Islanders are offered at +600 to win it all.