Take notice: Leafs now have second-best odds to win Stanley Cup
The Toronto Maple Leafs just might be able to get the job done this year in the playoffs.
With a series of breathtaking overtime wins in back-to-back games — on the road, no less — over the juggernaut Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto has stormed out in front with a commanding 3-1 series lead.
And while the team itself knows there’s work ahead of them in their opening-round series, forgive the fanbase if they are feeling a little “Cup Crazy” right now, as it seems oddsmakers are feeling the same way.
The Leafs, at 6.26, trail just the Boston Bruins at 3.41 as the league’s second-best odds right now to win the Stanley Cup this season, as per Sports Interaction.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Colorado Avalanche has the third-best odds (8.63), while the Vegas Golden Knights (9.69) and Edmonton Oilers (9.77) round out the top five contenders in the league.
Toronto’s opponent’s in Tampa Bay have one of the toughest tasks ahead, with 86.90 odds to get it done, ahead of just the Florida Panthers (122.00), NY Islanders, (149.00), and Winnipeg Jets (166.00), all of whom also trail 3-1 in their series.
Toronto still has to win one more game in order to get through the Lightning, and would likely face the Bruins in the second round, who currently lead the Panthers 3-1 themselves and have a chance to clinch their own series tomorrow night on home ice.
But despite being arguably the sport’s most cursed franchise over the last several decades, there is an aura around the team that maybe — just maybe — things will be different this time around.
“Whether it is the guys who have been through it or the guys who have come in to add to the group, collectively, it feels different. I think that is why you end up on the right side of these things,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters following last night’s win. “But let’s not get carried away. We have a tough task ahead to finish this series off.”
Puck drop for Game 5 is set for 7 pm ET on Thursday night, with Toronto having the possibility of clinching their first postseason series victory since a 2004 win over the Ottawa Senators.