The NHL postseason begins this week following a regular season in which favorites reigned supreme. Favorites were +35.9 units during the regular season, while road favorites were +46.6 units.
However, come postseason time, underdogs have typically barked the loudest. Each of the past four postseasons, underdogs have been profitable in the playoffs, up a total of 49.6 units in that span entering this postseason.
Overs cashed at a 53.6% clip during the regular season. Excluding shootout-deciding goals, games averaged 3.11 goals per team per game during the regular season, the most since 1995-96 (3.14). Recently, overs have also come through in the playoffs, as they have cashed at a 56.1% clip in the past four postseasons.
Washington Capitals vs Florida Panthers
The Panthers are +15.8 units this season, second most in the NHL behind the Rangers. They were +16.8 units at home and +18.95 units as favorites, both the most profitable by any team in the past four seasons.
Sergei Bobrovsky is +26.8 units on the season in 53 starts, making him the most profitable goalie in a single season over the past five seasons. The Panthers are -11 units in 29 starts by other goaltenders.
Florida has not won a playoff series since the 1996 Eastern Conference finals. The 24-season drought is not only the longest active drought in the NHL -- it's the longest run of seasons without a postseason series win in NHL history.
The Panthers are -350 favorites to win the series, the largest they have ever been favored to win a playoff series, according to SportsOddsHistory.com data.
Each of the past six Presidents' Trophy winners failed to make it out of the second round. Each of the past eight failed to reach the Stanley Cup Final.
Washington is a +180 underdog in Game 1. The last time the Capitals were that large of an underdog was April 8, 2014, at St. Louis (won as +206 underdogs).
The Capitals are -19.65 units as a home favorite.
Panthers games are 46-30-6 to the over this season, while Washington games are 47-31-4 to the over.
All three meetings went over the total this season (all three totals were six). The home team won all three meetings.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs
The Lightning had closed as favorites in 15 straight series prior to closing as +100 underdogs against the Maple Leafs. The last time Tampa Bay had been a series underdog was in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
Toronto has lost in the first round in five straight seasons, including as a favorite each of the past two seasons. The Maple Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004, the second-longest series win drought in the NHL (Florida, see above).
The Maple Leafs are +4.05 units at home this season, including Game 1, compared to -9.15 units on the road.
Toronto won 12 of its final 13 home games (+7.5 units), including Game 1.
Overs are 19-4-2 in Toronto's past 25 road games and 24-6-2 in its past 32 road games.
The Maple Leafs are +10.85 units this season when Jack Campbell starts, including the Game 1 victory (48 starts). They are -14.95 units in starts by all other goaltenders (35 games).
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes sport a combined margin of 21-2 this season in four meeting with the Bruins, with each victory coming by at least three goals, including a 5-1 win in Game 1. The three regular-season meetings were decided by a 16-1 margin, making this the first playoff meeting in which the regular-season games had a margin of at least five goals per game.
Boston is -9.73 units in 30 home playoff games under coach Bruce Cassidy (13-17), excluding the 2020 bubble.
The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes from the playoffs in both 2019 and 2020, both as favorites.
First-period unders are 50-32-1 this season in Hurricanes games, the best mark in the NHL.
The Edmonton Oilers come back from a 2-goal deficit, but Phillip Danault scores a scrappy goal in the third period for the Kings to seal the win.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers
The Rangers were +17.8 units this season, best in the NHL. They were the most profitable team in the past three seasons.
The Rangers were the second-most profitable team on the road (+10.25 units) and the fifth-most profitable team at home (+7.05 units). They were +12.2 units as a favorite and +3.2 units as an underdog, both third best in the NHL.
Unders are 46-32-4 this season in Rangers games, the best mark in the NHL.
The Penguins are -16.9 units in the playoffs since 2018, worst in the NHL in that span (26 games).
First-period unders are 48-32-2 in Rangers games this season, the second-best under mark in the NHL. First-period unders are 44-34-3 in Penguins games, the fourth-best under mark in the NHL.
Nashville Predators vs Colorado Avalanche
The Predators were +6.25 units as an underdog this season, best in the NHL, including +6.7 units as a home underdog.
A Nashville (+425) series victory would be the largest series upset in the postseason since the 2003 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (+525) swept the Detroit Red Wings (-850), according to SportsOddsHistory.com data.
The Avalanche are -320 favorites in Game 1. That is the fourth-largest betting line in a playoff game since 2018. In that span, -300 favorites are 2-2 in playoff games (-4.4 units). Colorado is 2-0 in that span (both last season vs Blues), while all other teams are 0-2.
St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild
The Blues are 14-1-2 against the Wild since Craig Berube took over as St. Louis head coach in 2018, including in Game 1 (+12.5 units).
Wild games are 47-33-3 to the over this season.
First-period overs are 47-29-7 in Wild games this season, including Game 1 (+12.6 units).
The Wild were +9.2 units in the regular season, the best mark in the Western Conference. They were +11.65 units at home.
Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames
Dallas is +8.4 units with Jake Oettinger in net (46 games), compared to -9.45 units with all other goalies (36 games).
The Flames are -350 favorites to win the series. That is the largest Calgary has been favored by to win a playoff series since Round 1 of 1995 against the Sharks (won 4-3 as -450 favorites).
The Flames were -12.2 units at home compared to +7.9 units on the road.
Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers
The Kings are an NHL-best +13.05 units on the road, including Game 1, compared to -2.4 units at home.
The Oilers are 1-8 in the playoffs since 2020 (-10.8 units), all as a favorite.
The Oilers are +8.8 units as a home favorite this season, including their Game 1 loss as a -200 favorite. That is the second-best mark in the NHL.
First-period unders are 47-35-1 in Kings games this season, including Game 1.
The Oilers are the largest series favorites they have been since the 1991 conference finals against the Minnesota North Stars (-270, lost in seven games).