The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, prohibitive favorite Colorado Avalanche and a handful of other teams like Vegas, Philadelphia and Boston are all legitimate favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup Trophy. However, there are a handful of dark horse and long shot title contenders that all look like they’re going to have a decent chance to upset each of the aforementioned favorites. Let’s find out which teams fit that description so you can start planning ahead your bets and place your bets against their Stanley Cup odds.
NHL 2021 Playoffs: Dark Horses and Long Shots That Can Surprise
The Top Dark Horse
- Montreal +1100
The Canadiens (6-1-2) aren’t necessarily a dark horse as they sit at +1100, but that’s because they’ve gotten off to a fantastic start after starting off the season as a more, middle-of-the pack dark horse. No matter the case, Montreal looks like a team that could upset the entire apple cart right now.
The Canadiens sit in second place in the North Division behind Toronto, but lead the NHL in scoring by averaging a stunning 4.1 goals per game. The Canadiens rank second in shot attempts per game (33.9) and 13th in power play percentage (25.8).
Defensively, the Canadiens rank an encouraging 10th in goals allowed (2.6 gpg) and 11th in shots allowed per game (27.9). Winger Tyler Toffoli is tied for second in goals scored (7) while goalie Jake Allen ranks third in goals against average (1.68) and seventh in save percentage (.933). Montreal is currently 4-0-2 on the road and looks like a club that won’t be dispatched out of the postseason easily – if at all.
Top Long Shot Title Hopefuls
- Edmonton +3000
Let me start by saying that the Oilers (5-6) are absolutely maddening. Despite having two of the league’s very best players in reigning Hart Trophy MVP winner Leon Draisaitl and 2017 winner Connor McDavid. As a matter of fact, McDavid leads the NHL in goals (8) and points scored (22) while Draisaitl is second with 21 points and tied for fourth in goals scored (6). Despite the stunning success of its two star players, Edmonton ranks a modest 14th in scoring (3.0 gpg) and an awful 29th in goals allowed (3.6 gpg). The Oilers are perennial postseason underachievers, but McDavid and Draisaitl are so gifted I believe they could very well pull off an upset or two over a more complete team in the postseason.
- NY Islanders +3500
The Islanders (3-4-2) aren’t off to the best start as they sit in last place in the loaded East Division, but I’ve got a lot of hope that New York can make a run at the Stanley Cup after doing so just last season. The Isles reach last season’s Eastern Conference Finals before losing to eventual champion Tampa Bay and I believe they will challenge for fourth place at the least in the East Division.
New York needs to improve offensively as they head further into the new week ranked an abysmal 29th in scoring (2.1 gpg), but the Islanders are elite defensively in limiting the opposition to just 2.7 goals per game to rank 13th in goals allowed. Goalie Semyon Varlamov ranks 10th in goals against average (2.00) and I fully believe New York’s stingy defense will help them get in the Stanley Cup mix at some point.