The 2023 NHL Playoffs will begin next week with 16 teams vying to etch their names in the record books and be crowned Stanley Cup champions.
A number of teams have genuine aspirations of going all the way but only one will be able to successfully navigate their way through four rounds of best-of-seven series between April and June.
|Where||US and Canada|
|When||Monday 17th April - June|
|Odds - Stanley Cup outright||BOS Bruins 3/1, COL Avalanche 25/4, EDM Oilers 13/2, TOR Maple Leafs 8/1, CAR Hurricanes 9/1|
The first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin for all teams on either Monday 17th April or Tuesday 18th April.
The team with home-ice advantage hosts games one and two of each series, plus games five and seven if needed, while their opponent hosts games three, four, and six if required.
The playoffs will run for the remainder of April, throughout May and into June, when the winner will be crowned.
Eight teams from each conference will participate in the playoffs, with each round played in a best-of-seven format.
The top three teams in each of the four divisions qualified automatically, plus two teams from each conference were awarded a Wild Card by way of having the highest point totals out of the remaining teams in the conference.
In each conference, the lower seeded Wild Card plays against the divisional winner with the best record, while the other Wild Card plays against the other divisional winner.
The other two series match the second and third-placed teams from the divisions against each other.
For the first two rounds of the NHL Playoffs, home-ice advantage goes in favour of the side with the better seeding, and in the later rounds, it is given to the team with the better regular season record.
Since 1914, the Stanley Cup has been awarded 106 times, most recently to the Colorado Avalanche who ended Tampa Bay Lightning's bid to three-peat in last season's Final.
There have been 25 teams that have won the Cup, 20 of which are still active in the NHL.
The Lightning were aiming to become just the fourth separate team to win three straight championships last season, but fell at the final hurdle to the Avalanche, who ended a 21-year wait to win their third championship.
After winning the Central Division this season, the Avalanche will begin their defence of the Stanley Cup against the Seattle Kraken, who will make their first playoff appearance in just their second season as a franchise.
Despite having lost several members of their Stanley Cup-winning side to free agency as well as battling injuries to key players all season, Colorado are still one of the favourites at 25/4 to win the Cup again.
Of all teams in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been crowned champions the most - 13 times, but recent history has not been kind to them.
Toronto’s last Stanley Cup came in 1967, a drought of 55 years which is an NHL record, and, on top of that, they have not won a playoff series at all since 2004.
For a second consecutive season, the Leafs will face Tampa Bay in the first round who they are 5/8 to beat. If they manage that, they are 8/1 to win the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning came back from 3-2 down in the series to win Game 7 last season. They are 7/5 to topple the Leafs again and 20/1 to win back the Cup from Colorado.
NHL Regular season review: Boston Bruins make history
The Boston Bruins recorded the most wins (65) and points (135) of any team in NHL regular season history to win the Presidents’ Trophy and earn top-seed status for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which guarantees them home ice advantage throughout.
The Bruins will face Florida Panthers in the first round with the series beginning at TD Garden where Boston are a remarkable 34-4-3 this season.
The Bruins are 10/33 to get past the Panthers and 3/1 To Win Outright and end their sensational season as Stanley Cup Champions.
However, only eight of 37 Presidents’ Trophy winners have gone on to win the Stanley Cup in the same season, giving the Panthers hope that they could cause a shock at 53/20 To Win Series against Boston.
The Vegas Golden Knights recorded the most points (111) of their six-year history and not only won the Pacific Division, but earned top seed for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.
Vegas will meet the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, and they are 5/8 to successfully get past the Wild Card Canadian side.
The Golden Knights shocked the hockey world by making the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season of 2017/18.
Bruce Cassidy's men are 9/2 to win the Western Conference again, and 10/1 to get their hands on the Stanley Cup championship.
No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.
Following nine straight wins to end the regular season, and the second most regulation time victories of any team (45), the Edmonton Oilers are 13/2 to end the run of American champions.
The Oilers will face the Los Angeles Kings for a second season running in the first round, having won last year's playoff confrontation in seven games.
The Oilers have been installed as the 2/5 favourites to win once again, while the Kings are 21/10 to exact their revenge.
The Carolina Hurricanes have seen their Stanley Cup odds pushed out to 9/1 after losing star forward Andrei Svechnikov to injury.
Despite that blow, they still managed to show their championship credentials by winning the Metropolitan Division ahead of the New Jersey Devils, whose rise to contention was one of the stories of the season.
The Devils have been in the playoffs just once since making the final in 2012, but with an exciting young core leading the way, finished third in the overall standings and are 19/2 to end the season as Stanley Cup champions.
The Devils must first deliver on their 10/13 odds of beating local rivals, the New York Rangers, in the first round.
The Rangers reached the Eastern Conference Final last season and are 11/10 to win in round one, while they are 14/1 to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1994.
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