Vegas Grabs Top Spot, Big Betting Favorite over Surprise Blackhawks

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The Vegas Golden Knights have earned the top overall seed in the NHL’s Western Conference playoffs by going a perfect 3-0 during the round-robin tournament. Vegas secured the top seed when they beat the Colorado Avalanche in an overtime thriller on Saturday.

Vegas began the restart by beating the Dallas Stars by a score of 5-3, then followed that up by beating the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-4. Colorado was also a perfect 2-0 during the restart before suffering the loss to the Golden Knights on Saturday.

The Golden Knights will now draw a matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks, who pulled off a stunning upset in the qualifying round. The 12th-seeded Blackhawks upset the fifth-seeded Oilers to earn their spot in the traditional playoffs.

Chicago would not have even been in the playoffs if it wasn’t for the expanded field, but this is a team that can do some damage. The Blackhawks will be facing a familiar face in this series, and Vegas’ goalie Robin Lehner was a member of the team up until the trade deadline.

Vegas was in the Stanley Cup Finals just two seasons ago, while the Blackhawks won their first playoff series since 2015 with the win over Edmonton.

Crawford Key For Hawks

nhl150The Chicago Blackhawks allowed more than three goals per game this season, and they gave up 15 goals during their series against the Oilers. Chicago will have to be a much better defensive team in this series, and there is plenty of pressure on Corey Crawford.

Crawford struggled mightily in the Game 2 loss for the Chicago Blackhawks, but he was solid overall in the series. The veteran stopped 89 percent of the shots he faced and was much better when the teams were at even strength.

Vegas Favorites in West

The Chicago Blackhawks will be massive underdogs in this series, but that was the case for them in the series against the Oilers as well. The official series betting prices are not yet announced, but the Golden Knights will be huge favorites.

FanDuel Sportsbook has the Golden Knights as the team with the second-best odds to win the Western Conference. Vegas currently has odds set at +285, while the Colorado Avalanche are set at +265.

Vegas has also now emerged as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights have jumped up to +650 after they began the playoffs listed at +1100.

Back to Traditional Playoff Format

Even though the NHL invited 24 teams to resume play in Canada, the playoff format is now back to the traditional format for the next round. This means that there are just 16 teams remaining, and each series will now be a best-of-seven scenario.

The Chicago Blackhawks have played four games so far during the restart, while the Golden Knights have played just three. Both teams should have all of the rust off by now, which could lead to an exciting series.