If the Stanley Cup really is going to head back to Canada this season, it’ll have to be either the Toronto Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers leading the charge.
While both franchises have seen their fair share of playoff heartbreak since last winning it all in 1967 and 1990, respectively, there is a sense that maybe — just maybe — this year could be the year it finally comes together for a team north of the border.
No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens topped Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings.
But fans everywhere are hoping, praying, and believing that this year could finally be the year that breaks the curse.
And it appears that both oddsmakers and analytics feel the same way, particularly after the shocking exit of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins on Sunday night.
MoneyPuck.com is giving Edmonton a 23.3% chance of winning it all, while Toronto comes in second place at a 19.3% chance, going 1-2 in the league.
— MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) May 1, 2023
Meanwhile, the Leafs come out on top of The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn’s rankings, having a 26% chance to win it all, compared to 16% for the Oilers (who are in second place).
— dom 📈 (@domluszczyszyn) May 1, 2023
As for the actual betting markets, Sports Interaction has Toronto leading the way, with Edmonton in second place.
Here’s how their full odds shake out:
- Toronto Maple Leafs, 4.60
- Edmonton Oilers, 5.10
- Dallas Stars, 7.00
- Vegas Golden Knights, 7.25
- Carolina Hurricanes, 8.50
- Florida Panthers, 11.00
- New Jersey Devils, 13.00
- NY Rangers, 14.60
- Seattle Kraken, 16.00
Per NHL.com’s Aaron Vickers, it’s the first time both the Oilers and Leafs have made it out of the first round of the playoffs since 1987.
I believe the last time both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers both won a playoff series in the same year was 1987.
— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) April 30, 2023
But it’s not just the fans feeling that this year could be special: the coaches of both teams appear to be locked in on the potential of their group.
“We had been talking about feeling different about our team. Feeling different doesn’t help us. It has to be different. It seemed like all series that it was different,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Saturday after Toronto’s first-round series win.
Facing off against two seasoned teams in the Los Angeles Kings and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Oilers and Leafs both were able to close out their series in dramatic fashion in Game 6s on Saturday night.
“We were playing one of the best defensive teams in the league,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said of the teams. “We had to do some things in order to beat this team, in order to meet this challenge.”
The Leafs and Panthers get Round 2 underway on Tuesday night, while the Oilers and Golden Knights are set to play their own Game 1 one night later on Wednesday.