Posted on: May 4, 2023, 10:59h.
Last updated on: May 4, 2023, 11:35h.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers are attempting to become the first Canadian team to win an NHL championship since the Montreal Canadians won the Stanley Cup in 1993.
Eight teams are still alive in the 2023 NHL playoffs, with two squads from Canada. The Maple Leafs and Oilers head into their respective conference semifinals trying to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive.
The Maple Leafs are +500 odds to win the 2023 Stanley Cup, and are currently third on the DraftKings’ NHL futures board. The Leafs are +285 odds to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 56 years.
The Oilers are +550 odds to win the Stanley Cup and are fourth overall on the board. The Oilers are +260 odds to win the Western Conference and return to the finals for the first time since 2006.
Toronto Leafs Finally Win a Playoff Series
It’s been nearly two decades since the Maple Leafs made it out of the first round and advanced to the conference semifinals. The Maple Leafs were knocked out of the first round in six consecutive postseasons dating back to the 2016-17 season.
Fans in Toronto experienced hard times when the Maple Leafs qualified for the playoffs only once between 2005 and 2016. They had one decent team in the 2012-13 season, but suffered a first-round knockout by the Boston Bruins.
The Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of this year’s NHL playoffs to win their first series since 2004. The Lightning had advanced to the Stanley Cup finals for three consecutive seasons with back-to-back NHL championships in 2020 and 2021 before settling on a runner-up finish in 2022.
After a wild weekend of the NHL playoffs, the Maple Leafs woke up on Monday morning as the betting favorite to win the 2023 Stanley Cup at +350 odds. They squared off against the red-hot Florida Panthers in the second round after the Panthers upset the top-seeded Boston Bruins in the first round.
The Panthers picked up a road win in Toronto, 4-2, in Game 1 to take a 1-0 series lead. The Panthers are now the new favorite to win the series at -125 odds. The Maple Leafs were the series favorite prior to Game 1, but they’re now +105 odds after falling behind 0-1.
Oilers Down 0-1 in Western Conference Semis
The Oilers found themselves trailing the Los Angeles Kings in their opening-round series. Despite falling behind 2-1, including a pair of overtime losses, the Oilers won three games in a row and knocked out the Kings to clinch the series in six games.
All-Star center Leon Draisaitl scored seven goals and added four assists to help put away the Kings. The Kings kept Connor McDavid, the NHL’s scoring leader, in check and limited him to just three goals in six games. McDavid led the league with 64 goals and 89 assists this season.
The Oilers face a tough opponent in the Western Conference semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights struck first blood during a high-scoring Game 1 when they skated to a 6-4 victory. Draisaitl scored all four goals for the Oilers, and McDavid assisted on two of them, but it wasn’t enough to put them over the top.
The Golden Knights are now -140 odds to win the series and advance to the Western Conference finals. The Oilers are +120 odds to rally back and win another series after dropping Game 1.
Canadian Hopefuls: Toronto and Edmonton
It’s been a 30-year drought since the Stanley Cup champion hailed from Canada when the Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. Canada last dominated the NHL in the late 1980s when they claimed seven straight champions between 1984 and 1990. The Oilers won the Cup five times, and the Canadiens and Oilers each won the championship once in that span.
The Canadiens were the last team from Canada to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, but they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in 2021. Since the NHL lockout in the 2004-05 season, the Oilers (2006), Ottawa Senators (2007), and Vancouver Canucks (2011) were the only other Canadian teams to reach the finals. All three teams came up empty.
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Oilers in seven games in 2006. The Anaheim Ducks only needed five games to beat the Senators in 2007. The Canucks pushed the finals to seven games but eventually lost to the Bruins in 2011.
The Oilers last won the Stanley Cup in 1990, and it’s been 33 years since their last NHL championship.
The Maple Leafs have the longest active drought among former champions. It’s been 56 years since the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1967, which also marked their last appearance in the finals. They advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals five times in the 1960s and won three consecutive championships between 1962 and 1964 before adding the franchise’s 13th and final title in 1967.
Updated Stanley Cup Odds: Golden Knights, Hurricanes on Top
When the playoffs began in mid-April, the Boston Bruins were the consensus favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +330 odds. The defending champion Colorado Avalanche were +650 odds to win the Cup in back-to-back seasons. Both teams failed to advance past the first round after they made disappointing opening-round exits.
The Golden Knights are one of the betting co-favorites to win the 2023 Stanley Cup at +475 odds, according to a recent update by DraftKings. The Carolina Hurricanes are also +475 odds as a co-favorite after they won Game 1 of their second-round series against the New Jersey Devils. The Golden Knights and Hurricanes are ahead of the Maple Leafs (+500), Oilers (+550), Panthers (+650), Dallas Stars (+700), Devils (+800), and Seattle Kraken (+1300).
At the onset of the playoffs, the Oilers were +800 odds to win the Cup as the third-highest team on the futures board. The Maple Leafs were +900 odds, and right behind the Oilers as the fourth-highest team at the end of the regular season.
During the preseason, the Maple Leafs were one of the early Cup favorites at +700 odds, but the Oilers were only +1500.