The Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche clinched playoff berths early and held on to win their respective conferences. The two franchises will go into the NHL playoffs as No. 1 seeds, and DraftKings Sportsbook has them listed as the top two favorites to win the Stanley Cup, giving the slight edge to Colorado heading into the postseason.
Eastern Conference: Florida Panthers (58-17-6)
The Panthers have never won a Stanley Cup in their franchise history, which began in the 1993-94 season. Oddsmakers did not project this type of breakout performance from Florida prior to the start of the season, and they haven’t won a playoff series since 1996. Jonathan Huberdeau led the league in assists this season and finished with the highest point total among Panthers players. The Panthers will rely on veteran Sergei Bobrovsky in the goal.
Western Conference: Colorado Avalanche (56-18-7)
Colorado came into the regular season as the favorites to win the title, and that’s exactly where they stand going into postseason play. Cale Makar has developed into one of the best defensemen in the league, and goaltender Darcy Kuemper put together a solid season and is among the best at his position. The team’s leading goal scorer Mikko Rantanen missed a few games late in the regular season with a non-COVID illness, but he returned and is ready for the postseason.