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Updated Stanley Cup Odds Entering Conference Finals

Updated Stanley Cup Odds Entering Conference Finals

Of the four teams left in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, only the Capitals made the playoffs last season.

The Jets became the fourth and final team to reach the third round when they beat the defending Western Conference-champion Predators on the road in Game 7 on Thursday night. They don't care about the money in the KHL, they want to be in the best league and play against the best.

"Having some diversity amongst the league is great, and I think it just shows the competitive balance throughout the league", Jets captain Blake Wheeler said.

"We've been here in this situation before", Stamkos said.

"I think it's great for Russian Federation to see the young guys come into North America and go through the CHL, AHL and then make it to the National Hockey League", he added. On their way to this year's finals, the Lightning eliminated the Devils in the first round before defeating the Bruins in five games of the second round. They fell short in a six-game loss to the Blackhawks in the 2015 final with this core, led by Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

"We are going to need to rely on our depth as well and stay disciplined. We just ran into a pretty good team and couldn't get the job done". "Washington is very similar in that regard".

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Over the past three years, counting regular season and playoffs, no team has played more games than the Penguins with 307. Yet after one of Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh lifted the Cup every time since 2009, this crop of new blood is refreshing.

It is Backstrom's second straight game out of the lineup with an injury to his right hand sustained in Game 5 of Washington's series against Pittsburgh.

Wilson will be back off a three-game suspension, and with Backstrom and Burakovsky potentially close, the Capitals could have their full lineup soon. "There's other ones that get the starry-eyed, saucer-eyed (look) and they have to sort of work through that", Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "The guys that are going well, you use, and the other guys wait for another opportunity".

"With the matchups on the road, you don't get them all the time so I think guys are a little more aware of who they're on the ice against, maybe a little more engaged in terms of knowing who's on the ice", winger Brett Connolly said. "When you're playing a lot of minutes, I think it can wear on some of the guys".

If Tampa Bay is knocked out in the conference finals by Washington, it would be the first Stanley Cup Finals since 1999 (Buffalo Sabres vs Dallas Stars) that two teams would meet who haven't won a Stanley Cup title before. That means now is the last chance to get in on the futures before the games get underway. "We didn't know what to expect".

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