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In a league known for its parity and game-to-game variance, the NHL playoffs have delivered. Seven of the eight first-round playoff series will need at least six games to be decided. Will we see handshakes on Thursday and Friday? Or will the weekend be filled with Game 7's?
Over the next two days, the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins will have a chance to close out their opponents on home ice in Game 6. The Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames will try to wrap things up on the road in Game 6 rather than playing a Game 7 at home. Which teams are oddsmakers giving the best chance of erasing a 3-2 deficit and coming back to win the series?
Odds to come back and win the series
When an NHL best-of-seven playoff series is tied at two games a piece, the team that wins Game 5 goes on to win the series an eye-popping 79% of the time. That stat applies to every one of these series except the Rangers-Penguins series, where the Rangers avoided elimination in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
While 79% is a staggering number, it's still not a sure thing. Below are the odds at BetMGM for each team currently trailing to come back and win their series, in descending order.
Edmonton Oilers (+145, 40.8% chance) - The Oilers entered this series as -250 favorites to advance over the Los Angeles Kings. After dropping Game 1 at home, the Oilers responded by outscoring the Kings 14-2 over Games 2 and 3. However, the Oilers haven't been able to maintain that momentum, as the Kings have won back-to-back games, including an overtime win in Game 5 on the road. Los Angeles returns home for Game 6 with a chance to close out the Oilers. The Oilers are -145 road favorites to keep their season alive. Oddsmakers give Edmonton the best chance of coming back from 3-2 down. Will Connor McDavid and Co. be able to avoid another disappointing playoff appearance?
New York Rangers (+200, 33.3% chance) - It looked bleak for the Rangers. Down three games to one, they fell behind 2-0 on their home ice in Game 5 and were staring elimination in the face. However, a ferocious comeback and a key injury now gives the Rangers a path to become the 31st team to erase a 3-1 series deficit in NHL history. Already without their top two goaltenders, the Penguins might now be without their best player as Sidney Crosby left Game 5 with an injury and didn't return. The Rangers erased a 3-1 series deficit against the Penguins in 2014. Can history repeat itself? New York is a -130 road favorite in Game 6.
Minnesota Wild (+240, 29.4% chance) - The Wild took a 2-1 series lead after Game 3, leading the St. Louis Blues to turn the crease over to Jordan Binnington. Binnington has led the Blues to back-to-back wins, allowing just four goals over two games and posting a +5.4 goals saved above expectation mark over that span. The Wild now head back to St. Louis, where they face elimination in Game 6 on Thursday. The Wild are slight -105 underdogs to send this series back to Minnesota for Game 7.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+270, 27.0% chance) - The back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions head home on the ropes after dropping Game 5 in Toronto. The Lightning came out to an early 2-0 lead in that game and it looked like the "Maple Leafs puking on themselves in the playoffs" narrative was going to be alive and well. However, a ferocious comeback and a late game-winner from Auston Matthews put a stop to that for now. Tampa Bay is 16-0 after a playoff loss since 2020 and Andrei Vasilevskiy has posted a 1.41 goals against average in those games. The Lightning are -135 favorites on Thursday to force a Game 7 in Toronto.
Boston Bruins (+280, 26.3% chance) - It's been a home-ice series between the Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes with each team perfect on their home-ice in this series. That bodes well for Boston's ability to force a Game 7, but creates a scary proposition for Boston if the teams get there. Boston has outscored the Hurricanes by a score of 9-4 in Massachusetts, but has been outscored 15-4 in Raleigh. Boston is a -130 favorite on their home-ice in Game Six but it'll need a road win if it wants to get to the second round.
Dallas Stars (+500, 16.7% chance) - The Dallas Stars have done a masterful job of turning their series against the more talented Calgary Flames into a coin flip, but they still find themselves down three games to two heading back home. We've seen just 18 goals scored combined by the two teams in this series. Jake Oettinger has been tremendous between the pipes for Dallas, posting a .956 save percentage and +6.6 goals saved above expectation in the series so far, but the Stars still trail. Calgary is a -165 road favorite to close this out in Game 6, and will be even bigger favorites back home should a Game 7 be needed.
Washington Capitals (+600, 14.3% chance) - In Game 5, the Washington Capitals stormed out to a 3-0 lead on the road and it looked like they were about to put the league's best team from the regular season on the ropes. However, the Panthers overcame a three-goal deficit for the sixth time this season and stormed back to win the game. Washington has hung tough in this series, but that game can't be good for the psyche. Florida is a -185 road favorite in Game Six to close out Washington, and oddsmakers are most confident in Florida to close its series out of any team with a current 3-2 series lead.