Round one was a gambling underdogs paradise as we saw the Jets sweep the heavily favored Oilers in 4. The Habs beat the Leafs in 7, and the top 2 teams in the East division went down without much of a fight in Pittsburgh and Washington respectfully. The smart money is still on the Avalanches to win the Cup (currently only +190 on Betsafe) but there is still some great value available in teams like Tampa (+450) and Boston (+400) to win the Cup. Carolina are also paying incredible value (+700) and many think they will reach the Cup finals. Back them should you think that they can get past this 2nd round, however, I personally do not think they will. Place your bet on this year’s Stanley Cup winner here.
Buckle up because round 2 will be a great puck….
2nd round NHL Playoff Predictions
Bruins vs Islanders
The Bruins are the hottest team in the NHL and have all the right ingredients to go deep this year. Boston has an elite 1st line, defensive depth, and a star goaltender. Taylor Hall has also given them the secondary scoring they need, and as a pending FA he will continue to be extra motivated. The Isles offence is not on the same level as Boston, they only filled the net in round 1 thanks to a shaky Pittsburgh goaltending performance. The Isles will put up one hell of a fight with goalie Ilya Sorokin playing out of his skin and Islanders coach Barry Trotz is also a matchup mastermind. The Isles will do all they can to slow down Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron but ultimately the Bruins will come away with victory. Boston’s arena has FULL crowd capacity, and they have home ice advantage. Bruins in 7, place your bets here.
Carolina vs Tampa
In round 1, Tampa demonstrated why they are the defending champs when they made quick work of a Florida team many thought could win the Cup. Kucherov, Stamkos and Hedman have shown they are healthy enough up to be up to their old tricks. Tampa also rolls out the best goalie on the planet in Andrei Vasilevksiy. I think Tampa Bay, led by captain Steve Stamkos (absent from last years cup run) are extra motivated to win again this year to prove last year’s Covid cup bubble win was not a fluke. Despite all of this the Hurricanes are just as good and have the most overall quality depth in the NHL. This is going to be so incredibly close and will come down to goaltending. Give me the Bolts with Andrea Vasilevksiy over the Canes with goalie Alex Nedeljkovic who is going through his first taste of playoff hockey. Tampa in 7, place bets here.
Colorado vs Vegas
Colorado comes into this with a significant rest advantage finishing off the Blues in 4 while Vegas needed 7 to take care of a pesky Minnesota team. While the Hurricanes boast the most depth top to bottom, the Avs have the best OVERALL talent top to bottom and simply play on a different level than everyone else in the league. MacKinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen ran through the Blues in the 1st round and are getting exceptional goaltending from Philipp Grubauer. Colorado’s defence also has x-factor material as they’re led by stud workhorse Cale Makar. Vegas is also deep, but they don’t have the same offensive weapons and will be relying heavily on the 36 year old veteran goaltender Marc- Andre Fleury, who saw a barrage of rubber in round 1. The Avs make a statement in this round and do away with Vegas easily. Colorado in 6, place your bets here.
Montreal vs Winnipeg
This series features two teams very few people thought would make it past round 1. Again, rest will play a big factor with the Jets having waited over a week for the Habs to beat Toronto in 7. The Habs are also dealing with some nagging injuries and top 6 forward Tomas Tatar is still absent. Carey Price put on a show in round 1 and he will have to do the same against the Jets’ very talented top 6 forward group led by Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor. The only problem is the Jets have an elite goalie of their own in former Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck. The Habs are pesky and have a very sturdy D core but ultimately, they rely on too many young players and struggle to score goals. The Jets defense, often criticized during the regular season for being subpar, played great in round 1 shutting down 2 of the best players in the world in McDavid and Draisaitl. Jets in 5, place your bets here.