The Pittsburgh Penguins (5–1–2) saw the Washington Capitals (4–3–2) end their two-year reign as Stanley Cup champions last May en route to winning their first NHL championship.
The Capitals then defeated the Vegas Golden Knights (4–4–1) a month later for the title, but the Penguins again look like the team to beat in the Metropolitan Division thanks to their play during a four-game road trip through Canada that ends Saturday versus the Vancouver Canucks (6–5).
Pittsburgh's 3–0 start to the trip has boosted the team to +1200 on the Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Penguins are now tied as the co-sixth choice to win it all along with the San Jose Sharks (5–3–1), who met them for the Stanley Cup just three seasons ago before falling in six games. While San Jose added All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson in the offseason in an effort to get back to the Stanley Cup final, Pittsburgh is simply hoping to stay healthy in order to make another championship run, especially goaltender Matt Murray.
Five teams are ahead of the Penguins and Sharks on the futures betting board, led by the high-scoring Toronto Maple Leafs (7–3) at +750. The biggest prize on the free-agent market—All-Star center John Tavares—has given the city of Toronto some hope that a Canadian team can win the Stanley Cup for the first time since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.
Following the Maple Leafs are three more American teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning (6–1–1), Nashville Predators (8–2), and Boston Bruins (6–2–2).
Defending division champion Tampa Bay is the +800 second choice on the odds to win the Stanley Cup and battling Toronto and Boston (+1000) again in the Atlantic Division standings while Nashville is the +900 third choice and also has some competition in the Central Division from another top Canadian team in the Winnipeg Jets (6–3–1). Like the Bruins, the Jets are listed at +1000 on the Stanley Cup odds.
Meanwhile, last year's two Stanley Cup finalists are hovering around the .500 mark right now, as the Capitals (4–3–2) and Golden Knights (4–4–1) are both trying to regain some of their magic heading into November for another run. Washington is +1400 to repeat while Vegas is +1800 to win its first Stanley Cup in the franchise's second year.