|Posted on February 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM|
Due to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the NHL made a pause in its season so players can compete with their national squads.
The teams that are participating in the quarterfinals are set, but the favorite to win the gold since the tournament started is Canada. At SportsBettingDime.com, you can discover who the other favorite to reach the final is.
Before knowing the winner of first place in Sochi, it's a good opportunity to meet the leaders of the season so far. The best team in the NHL is the Anaheim Ducks with 87 points, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, both with 84.
The Blackhawks want to become the first champion of the NHL in consecutive years since the 1997 season when the Detroit Red Wings did it. Since then, the league has had 10 different champions.
Canada's Sydney Crosby, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, tops the points table with 78 thanks to 28 goals and 50 assists, but the best scoring player is Russian Alex Ovechkin, who has scored 40 times in 55 games.
Under the three posts, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins is the leader in shootouts with five, followed by six other goalkeepers who have four.
The activity in the league will resume on February 25th at First Niagara Center, when the Buffalo Sabres host the Carolina Hurricanes. The regular season will end on April 13th, and the playoffs will begin three days later.
Sixteen teams will make the playoffs, eight from each conference. Per conference, the top three finishers of both divisions and two wildcards. This produces 8 first round matchups. There are no first round byes. All the series will be decided about the winner of four games out of seven.
The Blackhawks are still the favorites in the odds to win the Stanley Cup (11/2), but the Penguins (6/1) could surprise them. Between Chicago and Pittsburgh they have won the cup 16 times. Will one of these teams be the champion of the 2014 NHL season?