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Never too early for '18-'19 odds: Lightning early Cup choice, Sabres are 66-1

LAS VEGAS – As we're leaving the place where sports books are king, it's more than appropriate to review early odds for the 2019 Stanley Cup. The quick message is one that's been the norm in the NHL for the last 20 years: It's going to take an awful lot for the Washington Capitals to repeat as champions.

Only the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins have repeated since we entered the 21st century, and online site Bovada says the Tampa Bay Lightning rate as the early 9/1 favorite for next season. The Lightning were shut out by the Caps in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference final and have been close several times in the Steven Stamkos era, much like Alex Ovechkin and the Caps were for 12 seasons until finally breaking through here Thursday night.

Mike Harrington: No more heartbreak as Ovechkin, Caps finally get elusive Cup

Tampa Bay won the Cup in 2004, beating Calgary in a seven-game series that was decided by a 2-1 final in Game Seven. The Lightning also made the final in 2015, losing to Chicago in six games.

Boston, Toronto, Vegas and Winnipeg are all next at 10/1 while the Capitals are listed at 14/1, No. 8 on the rundown. The Sabres are No. 26 at 66/1, while Ottawa is last at 100/1, a number you would imagine would go up even more if the Senators trade Erik Karlsson this offseason.

Here's the full list:

Tampa Bay Lightning 9/1
Boston Bruins 10/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 10/1
Vegas Golden Knights 10/1
Winnipeg Jets 10/1
Nashville Predators 11/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 11/1
Washington Capitals 14/1
Edmonton Oilers 18/1
Anaheim Ducks 22/1
Chicago Blackhawks 22/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 25/1
Dallas Stars 25/1
Calgary Flames 28/1
Philadelphia Flyers 28/1
Los Angeles Kings 30/1
Minnesota Wild 30/1
San Jose Sharks 30/1
Colorado Avalanche 40/1
Florida Panthers 40/1
New Jersey Devils 40/1
St. Louis Blues 40/1
Montreal Canadiens 50/1
Carolina Hurricanes 60/1
New York Islanders 60/1
Buffalo Sabres 66/1
New York Rangers 70/1
Detroit Red Wings 75/1
Arizona Coyotes 80/1
Vancouver Canucks 80/1
Ottawa Senators 100/1

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