The NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs are the best playoffs any of the four major sports have to offer and this year’s run for the Cup hasn’t been different. We have been treated to a roller coaster of excitement, punctuated by a pair of Game 7s over the weekend to decide the Stanley Cup finalists.
It’ll be Tampa Bay vs. Chicago in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series that begins Wednesday night, with the experience ladened, tradition-rich, original-six Blackhawks aiming for a third title in six years. The Blackhawks opened as -150 favorites on the odds to win the Stanley Cup and t he Lightning are the +130 underdogs on the latest Stanley Cup odds.
2015 Stanley Cup Finals Odds & Expert Picks
Here’s what you need to know about the Stanley Cup finals:
Television: NBC, NBCSN
Livestream: NBC Sports Live extra
- Game 1: June 3 – Tampa Bay 8 p.m. ET NBC
- Game 2: June 6 – Tampa Bay 7:15 p.m. ET NBC
- Game 3: June 8 – Chicago 8 p.m. ET NBCSN
- Game 4: June 10 – Chicago 8 p.m. ET NBCSN
- *Game 5: June 13 – Tampa Bay 8 p.m. ET NBC
- *Game 6: June 15 – Chicago 8 p.m. ET NBC
- *Game 7: June 17 – Tampa Bay 8 p.m. ET NBC
*Denotes if necessary
ESPN.com’s 2015 Stanley Cup Final Expert Pick By Pierre LeBrun
ESPN NHL columnist and TSN Hockey Insider, Pierre LeBrun has expertly picked the Chicago Blackhawks to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games with the deciding game going to OT. LeBrun picked the Blackhawks to win the Cup back in September and is sticking with his pick. Chicago is gunning for their third Stanley Cup in six seasons and are as close to a dynasty as the NHL has.
My Stanley Cup final preview, http://t.co/N7SpSsUlm2
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 31, 2015
Pierre LeBrun is one of the most trusted and influential hockey writers in North America.
My 2015 Stanley Cup Final Expert Pick
Chicago Blackhawks – 125
The Blackhawks are the favorites after beating Anaheim on the road 5 to 3 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Playoffs. There’s no reason why Chicago shouldn’t be the favorites. The franchise is as close to a dynasty that there is in hockey after winning championships in 2010 and 2013.
The handshake line. Because hockey. WATCH: http://t.co/UHhbElrdD9
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) May 31, 2015
Patrick Kane has continued to excel. Kane garnered 3 assists for Anaheim in Game 7. Jonathan Towes has been on fire as well. He scored 2 goals in Game 7. What’s more impressive about the Blackhawks is that they needed to beat Anaheim twice just to get here. That makes them a tough team to go against. They have the experience, two excellent goal scorers and a goalie in Corey Crawford who can really step it up when he needs to. Chicago is a deserving favorite to win it all. The biggest question is whether or not they’ll have the legs on the ice to deal with the terrific Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa Bay Lightning +105
Tampa Bay made it look easy in their Game 7 win over the Stanley Cup favorite New York Rangers. Goalie Ben Bishop provided yet another shut out win, like he did in Game 5 of the series, and Tampa Bay secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.
If Chicago wins tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be the first team in NHL history to play 4 Original Six teams in one playoff year
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 30, 2015
Bishop can be absolutely horrid, he gave up 5 goals at home in Game 6 of a 3 to 7 Lightning loss, or absolutely brilliant like he was in Tampa’s road victories in the Eastern Conference Finals. Bishop’s ability to play on the road gives Tampa Bay a huge shot to upset Chicago in this series. He never falters on the road. The Lightning just needs to make sure that he doesn’t falter at home. They also need to remember to play team defense in order to close the deal. When Tampa plays together on D, there isn’t a better defensive team in NHL.