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Guentzel Makes Carolina Cup Favorite; Penguins Odds Plummet



Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes

OTTAWA, Ontario — After a raucous standing ovation at PNC Arena following the NHL trade deadline Friday, former Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel has already made an impact with the Carolina Hurricanes before playing his first game.

Carolina is now the Stanley Cup favorite, at least according to probability and simulations. According to, Carolina has an 11.7% chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Dallas is second with a 10.6% chance.

Interstingly, Carolina has no better than the fourth-best betting odds (+800), following the back for more Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and the Edmonton Oilers. Dallas is sixth at +1000.

A few other teams have recently surged, including the New York Islanders, who claimed a playoff spot with six straight wins. They’re still a long shot in the spring, but a few others, like the Winnipeg Jets, are good value picks. You can check out the Betway promo code.

The Penguins are in a much … much different situation.

The Penguins have lost five of six before their game against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday at the Canadian Tire Centre. Ottawa long ago came to grips with its failure. They also have some practice, having missed the playoffs for six straight seasons going back to their 2017 double overtime Game 7 loss to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final.

The Penguins have no experience with this.

The only member of the Penguins core to miss the playoffs before last season was Sidney Crosby nearly 18 years ago. Coach Mike Sullivan also missed the playoffs in 2005-06 and was dumped by his hometown Boston Bruins after just two seasons behind the bench.

If you expand the core four to include Marc Andre Fleury, he also experienced the implosion and missed the playoffs with that debacle in 2005-06 but has not missed the postseason since.

Last season, the Penguins missed the playoffs but weren’t out of the running until Game 81 or 82, pending your definition of realistic possibility.

Penguins Odds

The Penguins’ outlook is as bleak as you would expect after their figurative faceplant beginning March 2 in Calgary. The Penguins were still high on their hard-fought 4-3 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks, one of the best in the NHL.

They followed that with an uneven performance against the Seattle Kraken, then a 3-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining against the Calgary Flames. The Penguins lost in regulation, and the dismay followed by the unsettling realization of a failed mission gutted the team.

According to, the odds of the Penguins making the playoffs are a mere 5.1%. That’s an improvement since Sunday, when they fell to 3%. One Islanders loss catapulted them up.

Just in case you’re one of the true believers, the Penguins trail the Detroit Red Wings by eight points with one game in hand. The Penguins have 19 games remaining, but there are four teams between the Penguins and the Red Wings.

“Nobody is happy with what’s going on (or) how they’re going,” Bryan Rust said. “You’ve got to find a way to make that confidence for yourself. You’ve got to push it, that extra two, three or four percent to get over the hump.”

Hence, the Penguins’ 5.1% chance.

Sure, part of me would love to see the Penguins reel off five or six wins in a row to make this interesting. It’s tough covering a downtrodden locker room full of players whose souls still feel mortally wounded.

If you are curious, the Penguins are a +13000 to win the Stanley Cup. No, that’s not 1300, it’s 13,000, meaning they’re a 130-1 longshot.

And that’s why the Canadian media has been discussing Erik Karlsson’s future and a possible Penguins trade this summer. Even the Buffalo Sabres have passed the Penguins in the Eastern Conference, albeit by one point, with two more games played.