NHL playoffs’ Presidents’ Trophy curse could be broken by Panthers

Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour, right, celebrates after scoring in overtime of the ...

The Curses of the Bambino, Billy Goat and, most recently, Bo Jackson have been broken. The Curse of the Presidents’ Trophy is now on the clock.

The last eight winners of the award, which goes to the NHL team with the best regular-season record, have failed to win the Stanley Cup.

Only two teams since 2002 have won both trophies in the same season (2013 Chicago Blackhawks, 2008 Detroit Red Wings) and only eight of 35 teams have accomplished the feat since the Presidents’ Trophy was first awarded in 1986.

The Panthers (58-18-6, 122 points) edged the Avalanche (56-19-7, 119) to claim the 2022 trophy. But Colorado is the +335 favorite at Circa Sports to win the Stanley Cup and Florida is the +445 second choice.

“The Panthers and the Avs are really close. If that was the Stanley Cup Final, the Avs wouldn’t be a very big favorite over the Panthers,” Circa sportsbook oddsmaker Jeff Davis said. “Those two teams are head and shoulders above everyone else.

“If the Panthers get good goaltending, they’re going to be very difficult to beat. They’re just too deep offensively. It’s really tough to keep them off the scoreboard.”

The Flames are the +675 third pick to win it all and Davis is confident either Calgary or Colorado will win the Western Conference title.

“If anyone other than Colorado or Calgary wins the West, that would shock me. They are so much better than anyone else in the West,” he said. “Even though the Panthers are the best team, there is so much in the East. No real result in the East would surprise me.”

The Avalanche, Flames and Panthers are all heavy favorites to win their first-round series, which started Monday. Colorado is -690 over the Nashville Predators, Florida is -400 over the Washington Capitals and Calgary is -345 over the Dallas Stars.

“The interesting thing about the Avs is they haven’t played a single game all season in which the entire roster has been healthy,” Davis said. “Going forward, they just have so much high-end talent. They’re favored over everybody in the league and there’s a reason why. There’s just too much there.”

Davis doesn’t account for curses in his oddsmaking and handicapping. But he did not pick the Panthers to win it all.

“I think it will probably be Colorado or Calgary because they play in a manner that should, in theory, win in the playoffs,” he said.

Wild liability

The Toronto Maple Leafs are +875 to lift the Cup, followed by the two-time defending NHL champion Tampa Bay Lightning (+1,050), the Carolina Hurricanes (+1,350), the Boston Bruins (+1,575), the Minnesota Wild (16-1) and the Edmonton Oilers (18-1).

The Wild would be the worst result for Circa and are one of three multiple six-figure liabilities at BetMGM, along with the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings.

A BetMGM bettor wagered $14,000 to win $700,000 on LA to win the Cup at 50-1 odds in February. The Kings were 60-1 to win the NHL title entering Monday’s first-round playoff series opener against the Oilers.

Kentucky Derby seminar

Rampart Casino sportsbook manager Duane Colucci and professional horse racing handicapper Bob Ike will host a Kentucky Derby seminar at 6 p.m. Friday at the Rampart sportsbook.

Zandon and Epicenter are the +490 co-favorites to win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Messier is the +625 third choice, followed by Taiba (+725), Mo Donegal (10-1), White Abarrio (12-1), Charge It (17-1), Smile Happy (17-1) and Cyberknife (19-1).

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.