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Your Call: Who is the favourite to win the Stanley Cup?

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TSN.ca Staff
4/11/2012 11:11:09 AM
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After a grueling six month regular season schedule, 16 teams find themselves 16 wins away from hockey's greatest prize.

With 10 teams finishing the regular season north of the 100-point plateau, the playoff field has never been more competitive.

Alternatively, it has never been more wide open.

But who is the favourite to take home the Stanley Cup?

Any list of favourites has to start with the defending champs. The Northeast Division champion Boston Bruins hold down the number-two seed in the Eastern Conference and will ice a nearly-identical line-up to the team that emerged victorious last June.

However, few teams will take B's lightly and - despite winning the Northeast - the Bruins finished with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks once again won the Presidents' Trophy and will enjoy home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The team overcame one hurdle in finally besting the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, but can they piece it together for yet another deep run?

Pennsylvania boasts the fourth- and fifth-best teams in the league . Both the Penguins and Flyers are loaded with top-tier talent and playoffs experience. Unfortunately, they're meeting in the first round.

The series is expected to be a bloodbath, and whichever team will certainly be viewed as a Cup favourite. But how much will either team have left in the tank if it turns out to be a seven-game war of attrition.

And then there are the Detroit Red Wings. While the team will start the post-season on the road for just the second time since 1991, it would be foolish to count out a team with talents like Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk under any circumstances.

All of these teams are relying on veteran experience and deep playoff runs from past seasons and have to be viewed as strong contenders. But there's also the possibility that a new juggernaut emerges.

The St. Louis Blues have undergone a serious transformation under head coach Ken Hitchcock and finished just two points behind the Vancouver Canucks in the West.

The New York Rangers were the best team in the East and have been a much improved side this season largely due to the presence of 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards.

The Nashville Predators got a serious talent boost last month when Alexander Radulov returned to the team from his self-imposed Russian exile. With blueline cornerstones Shea Weber and Ryan Suter both playing for new contracts, will the team take the West by surprise?

Even amongst the sixth and seventh seeds, playoff experience abounds with teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks.

But what do you think?

With the puck set to drop on the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which team is the favourite to win it all?

As always, it's Your! Call.

The Stanley Cup (Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
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