As one of the biggest American sports, the Stanley Cup has been won by brilliant teams in the league’s history. Of course, bookies’ favorites don’t always win championships. In its long history, the league has seen many underdogs lift the trophy when no one gave these teams any chances.
The NHL is one of the sports that millions in the USA love to bet on. With 31 teams chasing the Stanley Cup, one of the nation’s most coveted trophies, there’s plenty of action to bet on. Apart from the sea of picks and parlays, you can bet on individual prizes and outrights or the teams you believe will lift the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.
While on the term of biggest NHL favorites, the Tampa Bay Lightning lead bookie lists this year with odds of 7/1, just ahead of the Bruins at 8/1. The Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals are given odds of 12/1 ahead of the trio of Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, and St. Louis Blues at 14/1. Toronto’s pride, the Maple Leafs, have odds of 16/1, while the biggest underdogs are the Ottawa Senators chained at the bottom with odds of 500/1. But, as you’ll see below, underdogs should never be written off.
94-95 New Jersey Devils
The Devils were great during season 1993-94 and were expected to perform even better the next year. It was a whole another story once the lockout-shortened season started. The New Jersey Devils were struggling and staring down the abyss with three series wins on the road between them and the Stanley Cup.
They were major underdogs but managed to beat all odds by winning 10 consecutive away games. The team then went on to sweep the heavily-favored Detroit Red Wings in the Finals, proving that it’s never a good idea to bet against an underdog.
05-06 Carolina Hurricanes
The 2005-06 season was one of the most interesting in NHL history. The Carolina Hurricanes were heavy underdogs with rarely anyone giving them chances to progress further than the first round of playoffs.
That wasn’t what Martin Gerber, Cam Ward, and Eric Staal had in mind. Not only did the Hurricanes beat the Sabres in the Eastern Conference Finals, they lifted the Stanley Cup against the favored Red Wings in one of the craziest seasons in the history of the NHL.
02-03 Anaheim Ducks
The team we now know as Anaheim Ducks was called Mighty Ducks of Anaheim back in 2003. That season was one of the best for the Ducks who got their sole Stanley Cup later in 2007.
During the 03-04 season, the Ducks weren’t on any contender teams. After finishing 7th in the Western Conference, they were facing the impossible task in the first round of playoffs – defending champions Detroit Red Wings.
Not only did the Mighty Ducks sweep the Red Wings, they went on to defeat the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild in the Conference Finals before succumbing to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals.
They had to wait 4 more years for the trophy, but the 02-03 season is one of the best underdog stories in NHL’s history.
11-12 Los Angeles Kings
Who can forget the Kings’ royal run in 2012? The LA team never fared great in the postseason having only once progressed beyond the second round in the playoffs (1993, lost the final to the Montreal Canadians).
After finishing 8th in the Western Conference during the regular season, the Kings eliminated the No, 1, 2, and 3 seeds in the playoffs, securing a Finals berth against the Devils. Expectations were high at the time and the Kings delivered a royal performance. The team swept the Devils in the Finals and became the first (and still last) 8th seed to lift the Stanley Cup.