NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Could See Upset Filled First Round

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is always hard to predict and this year’s edition could add even more intrigue than typical with plenty of possible upsets brewing.

Last year, the Montreal Canadiens went on a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals, and this year you can make the case there are multiple teams who could do the exact same thing. Below, we look at some of the best potential upset picks for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the FanDuel Sportsbook.

Boston Bruins (+104) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (-125)

The Hurricanes are probably a better team on paper than the Bruins, but this series ultimately could be decided by goaltending, in which case Carolina could be in trouble. Frederik Andersen is a giant question mark for the Hurricanes and if he isn’t able to make an appearance in this series, it’ll be up to Antti Raanta to hold down the fort.

It’s already going to be hard enough to stop Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, but the Hurricanes now will have an even bigger challenge without their number one goalie.

Tampa Bay Lightning (-104) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (-115) 

Yes, you read that correctly, the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning are indeed underdogs against the Maple Leafs. On paper, that does make sense because the Leafs are the higher seed, but what if Toronto isn’t able to slay their playoff demons?

Andrei Vasilevskiy struggled at times this season and this series could ultimately come down to who performs better in goal, Vasilevskiy or Jack Campbell. Even if the Leafs win this series, it’s hard not to want to back the Lightning when they present value as underdogs.

Los Angeles Kings (+188) vs. Edmonton Oilers (-230) 

The Oilers are sizable favorites in this series and rightfully so, especially with the Kings being without their top defenseman in Drew Doughty.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are two of the best players in the world, but the Kings might have the recipe to stop that. Phillip Danault and Anze Kopitar are both Selke candidates, and we already saw what Danault did to some of the top stars in the game during Montreal’s Stanley Cup run last season.

Even though Mike Smith was great down the stretch for the Oilers, he’s hardly a sure thing right now and the Kings provide too much value at this point that we can’t ignore them.

St Louis Blues (+115) vs. Minnesota Wild (-138) 

The Blues and Wild both put together fantastic stretches after the trade deadline and you can absolutely make the case that this is a toss-up series, arguably the most likely one destined to go seven games. The Blues have experience winning after their Stanley Cup victory in 2019 and they have not one but two goalies that have shown they can win big games, much like the Wild have in their tandem.

There are not a lot of edges to be had in this series between the Wild and Blues, which is why you might want to lean towards the plus number you’re getting with St. Louis.