NHL Stanley Cup and Conference Futures: Capitals Chances are Rising

There is a 30% gap between the Lightning and the Capitals. The Tampa Bay Lightning lead with a 35.1 percent chance of winning the East and the Washington Capitals are at 26.9%. The difference between these teams is widening as the Capitals chances are down from 28.8 percent. While 3.63 may not seem like a lot of points, that amount of difference between the team with the #8 best record and the #9 best record is pretty large. This is a top heavy conference with just 6 teams with at least a four percent chance of winning it.

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Tampa Bay Lightning114.364.8%100.0%7/2 (22.2%)35.1%
Washington Capitals107.074.5%99.5%6/1 (14.3%)26.9%
Toronto Maple Leafs110.533.3%99.8%7/2 (22.2%)19.3%
Pittsburgh Penguins96.911.5%87.9%6/1 (14.3%)6.4%
Boston Bruins97.71.8%90.6%6/1 (14.3%)5.5%
Columbus Blue Jackets96.410.2%86.5%10/1 (9.1%)4.1%
New York Islanders91.22.9%63.9%20/1 (4.8%)1.2%
Florida Panthers88.80.0%49.6%50/1 (2%)0.9%
Philadelphia Flyers85.20.5%28.4%40/1 (2.4%)0.3%
Ottawa Senators80.10.0%9.8%150/1 (0.7%)0.1%
Carolina Hurricanes80.90.1%11.9%30/1 (3.2%)--
New Jersey Devils81.70.1%14.9%30/1 (3.2%)--
New York Rangers82.30.1%15.7%40/1 (2.4%)--
Buffalo Sabres85.20.0%27.7%15/1 (6.2%)--
Montreal Canadiens80.30.0%9.8%30/1 (3.2%)--
Detroit Red Wings76.80.0%3.8%150/1 (0.7%)--

The percentage difference at the top of the West is small at 10%. The Nashville Predators at 26% trails the Winnipeg Jets at 28.5%. The difference between these teams is widening as the Predators chances are down from 36.6 percent. There is a 3.86 difference in projected points between the #8 best record and the #9 best record in the West. This is a pretty significant difference even if it does not seem to be at first glance. In terms of having a realistic chance of winning the West, there are 7 legitimate contenders (those with >=4% chance).

Winnipeg Jets108.443.6%95.6%5/1 (16.7%)28.5%
Nashville Predators109.147.2%95.9%7/2 (22.2%)26.0%
Las Vegas Golden Knights99.445.5%89.0%4/1 (20%)17.4%
Minnesota Wild96.63.5%82.3%6/1 (14.3%)10.7%
Colorado Avalanche98.64.8%86.0%15/1 (6.2%)4.6%
Calgary Flames97.329.2%84.4%8/1 (11.1%)4.4%
San Jose Sharks94.417.3%75.4%6/1 (14.3%)4.2%
Dallas Stars92.70.8%69.1%25/1 (3.8%)2.4%
Edmonton Oilers88.83.9%48.6%30/1 (3.2%)1.0%
Anaheim Ducks88.63.9%46.6%25/1 (3.8%)0.5%
St. Louis Blues82.50.0%17.3%40/1 (2.4%)0.2%
Arizona Coyotes77.60.1%5.3%40/1 (2.4%)--
Los Angeles Kings73.00.0%1.4%50/1 (2%)--
Vancouver Canucks70.30.0%0.6%50/1 (2%)--
Chicago Blackhawks74.80.0%2.3%150/1 (0.7%)--

There may be 16 playoff teams but there are only 9 true Stanley Cup contenders (at least a 2% chance). At #2, the Capitals have a 16 percent chance of winning the Stanley Cup, which is 7 percentage points behind the Lightning. At the bottom of the contenders list, 1.9 percentage points separate the Wild from the Bruins.

Tampa Bay Lightning7/112.5%22.7%--
Washington Capitals12/17.7%16.2%--
Winnipeg Jets10/19.1%14.7%--
Nashville Predators7/112.5%11.6%DOWN
Toronto Maple Leafs7/112.5%10.9%UP
Las Vegas Golden Knights8/111.1%8%.0--
Minnesota Wild12/17.7%4%.0DOWN
Pittsburgh Penguins12/17.7%2.8%DOWN
Boston Bruins12/17.7%2.1%DOWN
Columbus Blue Jackets20/14.8%1.5%--
San Jose Sharks12/17.7%1.4%DOWN
Colorado Avalanche30/13.2%1.2%DOWN
Calgary Flames16/15.9%1.2%DOWN