These Are the Most Likely 2019 Stanley Cup Matchups, According to Vegas

Some sports fans say that the NHL postseason is the best among the major sports because of the high level of play, the amazing plays, close games, and superstars having their best performances in the playoffs. The playoffs, in general, provide some memorable highlights, and the Stanley Cup Final does, too. The defending champion Washington Capitals are far removed from the highlights of their Stanley Cup parade, so now it’s time to look at the upcoming season, which starts Oct. 4. Here’s a look at the most likely 2019 Stanley Cup matchups, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.

The powers that be believe only a handful of teams have a shot of reaching the final, and one potential matchup at No. 5 will bring a lot of betting action north of the border.

13. Penguins vs. Sharks (TIE)

Vegas won’t be shocked if Sidney Crosby and the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final. | Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

Pittsburgh is the only team in the 21st century to win back-to-back titles, and one of those came at San Jose’s expense. The Penguins topped the Sharks 4-2 in 2016 for the first of those consecutive titles. The same two teams make the short list of likely 2019 Stanley Cup matchups.

Next: A repeat of another recent matchup.

13. Penguins vs. Predators (TIE)

Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators, NHL, hockey

Nashville’s Pekka Rinne is one of the best goalies in the game and gives his team a chance to go deep in the playoffs. | Jason Halstead /Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

Vegas must really love looking at recent history while coming up with its 2019 Stanley Cup matchups. Pittsburgh topped Nashville 4-2 in the 2017 final and Sidney Crosby, one of the most hated players in the NHL, got his third ring. Meanwhile, that series remains the lone finals appearance for the Predators and outstanding goalkeeper Pekka Rinne.

Next: Old guard vs. young guns.

13. Penguins vs. Jets (TIE)

Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets, NHL, hockey

Patrik Laine (No. 29) is one of the young guns leading the way for Winnipeg. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

At this points, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins represent the old guard in the NHL. They’ve played in four finals since the 2005 lockout season, winning three titles. Winnipeg, with young wingers Patrik Laine and Kristian Vesalainen, is one of the teams leading the NHL youth movement.

Next: This would be an enticing matchup.

13. Penguins vs. Golden Knights (TIE)

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins always seem to be title contenders. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

We’ve already discussed how the Penguins and star center Sidney Crosby are established winners. The Golden Knights are at the other end of the spectrum. They shocked the world when they reached the 2018 Stanley Cup Final as an expansion team, and they have favorable odds to get back there and contend for the title.

Next: Which animal reigns supreme?

13. Bruins vs. Sharks (TIE)

David Krejci and the Boston Bruins could represent the Eastern Conference. | Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

This is a showdown Planet Earth narrator David Attenborough would have loved to see. Which fierce animal reigns supreme? The burly bear or the savage shark? Boston has its share of Stanley Cup banners, including one from 2011 when it topped Vancouver. Meanwhile, San Jose lost in its only finals appearance.

Next: Vegas believes these teams will do better than in 2018.

13. Bruins vs. Predators (TIE)

Ryan Hartman #38, Miikka Salomaki #20 and Yannick Weber #7 of the Nashville Predators

Vegas likes Nashville’s odds of making the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. | Jason Halstead /Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

Both Boston and Nashville exited in the second round of the 2018 playoffs, but Vegas oddsmakers believe they’ll be better this time around. The Bruins were run off the ice by Tampa Bay while the Predators pushed Winnipeg to the limit before falling in seven games.

Next: Where have we heard this one before?

13. Bruins vs. Jets (TIE)

NHL, hockey, Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara and the veteran-laden Bruins could play for the Stanley Cup. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

Yes, another potential 2019 Stanley Cup Final matchup that features Boston coming out the Eastern Conference. There’s something to be said for veterans such as Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, and David Backes leading the Bruins, and seeing that experience against Winnipeg’s youthful exuberance would make for an interesting series.

Next: Making new history.

13. Bruins vs. Golden Knights (TIE)

2019 Stanley Cup matchups

High-fives all around if the Golden Knights play for the Stanley Cup in 2019. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Odds: +4000 (40-1)

The Bruins participated in some of the biggest playoff brawls in NHL history, including one against bitter rival Montreal on 1978. As the new kids on the block, the Golden Knights don’t have that same kind of history against Boston. However, seeing one of the league’s oldest teams playing its newest franchise would make for some interesting new history.

Next: A top-tier player searching for a Cup.

9. Capitals vs. Sharks (TIE)

San Jose Sharks NHL hockey Joe Thornton

Joe Thornton is one of the best players of his generation, but he’s made just one final. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Odds: +3500 (35-1)

Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals finally ended their playoff curse by reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 2018, and they went on to win the whole thing. Meanwhile, Joe Thornton, a top-tier veteran and one of the best centers of his generation, is still searching for his first Stanley Cup.

Next: One team could win its first title.

9. Capitals vs. Predators (TIE)

Washington Capitals

We don’t know if the Capitals will repeat, but they have good odds of making the finals. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Odds: +3500 (35-1)

Defending champ Washington and Nashville both made the finals recently, and Vegas believes it’s one of the most likely 2019 Stanley Cup matchups. If it happens, Nashville might have the edge for one reason: Teams rarely repeat in the NHL. Pittsburgh did it in 2016 and 2017, but before that, the last team to win two in a row was the Red Wings in 1997 and 98.

Next: More joy for one of the best ever?

9. Capitals vs. Jets (TIE)

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin’s smile would be even bigger if he wins a second straight title. | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Odds: +3500 (35-1)

Alexander Ovechkin is one of the best NHL players ever, and fans loved his joyous reaction when he finally won the title in 2018. Could we see Ovi don his toothless grin once again? Well, Vegas believes he and the Capitals have a chance to at least play for the title again, though the upstart Jets would provide still competition.

Next: Let’s do it again.

9. Capitals vs. Golden Knights (TIE)

Las Vegas Golden Knights-Shea Theodore 27-Reilly Smith 19 - Jonathan Marchessault 81- Nate Schmidt 88

The Golden Knights would have plenty to celebrate if they get back to the Stanley Cup Final. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Odds: +3500 (35-1)

Does this matchup look familiar? It should. The same teams played in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Even though its one of the more likely 2019 Stanley Cup matchups, at least based on the odds, we don’t see it happening because the same two teams rarely reach the final the following year. The Red Wings and Penguins did it in 2008 and 2009, and the previous time was 1983 and 1984 when the Islanders and Oilers did it.

Next: There will be lots of betting action north of the border for this one.

5. Maple Leafs vs. Jets (TIE)

Auston Matthews prepares for a face off.

Auston Matthews is the real deal and might finally help the Maple Leafs play for a title. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Odds: +3000 (30-1)

A Canadian team hasn’t made the Stanley Cup Finals since the Canucks in 2011, and the last time two teams from up north played for a title was 1989 when the Flames played the Canadiens. However, the Vegas oddsmakers believe Leafs-Jets (can we call it the Auston Matthews-Patrik Laine cup?) is one of the most likely 2019 Stanley Cup matchups.

Next: How the most valuable team can become more valuable.

5. Maple Leafs vs. Golden Knights (TIE)

2019 Stanley Cup matchups-Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights have a shot at redemption after coming up short in 2018. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Odds: +3000 (30-1)

The Maple Leafs already top the list of the most valuable NHL franchises, and the one way they can add to that value is by winning the Stanley Cup. The owners would love it, and so would the long-suffering fans who haven’t seen their team skate with the sport’s ultimate prize since 1967.

Next: One of these teams gets over the hump.

5. Maple Leafs vs. Sharks (TIE)

Joe Pavelski San Jose Sharks

Joe Pavelski (left) and the Sharks have great odds of playing for a title in 2019. | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Odds: +3000 (30-1)

Toronto is one of the founding Original 6 teams, while San Jose is one of the more recent entries in the NHL, in 1991. As we just mentioned, the Maple Leafs haven’t been at the top of the mountain for more than 50 years. San Jose has been one of the better teams in recent years. One of these teams will finally get over the hump if this matchup comes to pass.

Next: A newcomer reaches a final.

5. Maple Leafs vs. Predators (TIE)

2019 Stanley Cup matchups

Now that John Tavares is out of New York, he might finally make a Stanley Cup Final. | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Odds: +3000 (30-1)

Longtime New York Islander John Tavares ditched a team no one wants to watch anymore and headed to play in front of Toronto’s rabid fan base. The Islanders had limited playoff success when Tavares was there, but Vegas believes he could play for a title his first season in Toronto.

Next: An interesting side note to this potential matchup.

2. Lightning vs. Sharks (TIE)

Victor Hedman is a key defenseman for Tampa Bay, which is a favorite to make the finals. | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Odds: +2800 (28-1)

Inflammatory and hated head coach, who guided the Lightning to the 2004 title, is long gone, but Tampa Bay’s odds of playing for there 2019 title are very short. Interestingly, this potential matchup pits two teams who entered the league at the same time against each other.

Next: We’d expect a lot of scoring in this series.

2. Lightning vs. Jets (TIE)

Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos powers Tampa Bay’s high-powered offense. | Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Odds: +2800 (28-1)

The Las Vegas powers that be think the odds are good that the Lightning and Jets play for the title, we think there’d be a lot of scoring if that’s the case. Tampa Bay was the NHL’s highest-scoring team with 296 goals in 2017-18, and the Jets tied for second with 277. Defenses seem to get tighter in the playoffs, but we’d still expect lots of fireworks.

Next: A finals appearance put one team in a category all its own

2. Lightning vs. Golden Knights (TIE)

The Vegas Golden Knights (foreground) stand for the U.S. national anthem before a game. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Odds: +2800 (28-1)

By making the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, the Golden Knights immediately became one of the most successful expansion teams ever. If they return to the promised land, they will stand alone as the best sports newcomer of all time. According to the Vegas oddsmakers, the hometown team has an outstanding chance to make it two finals in a row.

Next: Have you been paying attention?

1. Lightning vs. Predators

Stanley Cup matchups Evgeny Kuznetsov Washington Capitals Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy yields a lot of goals, but he could still play for a title. | Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Odds: +2600 (26-1)

If you’ve been paying attention the last few minutes, you know the Lightning vs. TBA is one of the most likely 2019 Stanley Cup matchups. It would strength against strength this matchup. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy surrendered 167 goals in 2017-18, which was the fifth-most in the league, but his offense made up for it. Meanwhile, Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne’s 2.31 goals against average was fifth-lowest in the NHL.

All matchup odds courtesy of Sportsbook.ag as of Sept. 21, 2018. Stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference.

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