Below is the breakdown of the three rounds of the second round with the last rows. I’ve also mixed up a few value picks for each best of the seven. You’ll notice I’m not a fan of laying the juice. (All betting lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction and are current at time of posting.)
EAST DIVISION FINAL
3 Boston Bruins vs. 4 New York Islanders
The Bruins and Islanders will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1983. These teams are no stranger to recent playoff success. Boston is playing in the second round for a fourth straight season while the Islanders are in the second round for the third straight year.
CHANCES OF THE WINNERS OF THE SERIES: Boston -250, New York +173
FACE-TO-FACE: New York went 5-3-1 in the season series and dominated Boston 21-18.
Boston: Kevan Miller, daily (upper body injury)
New York: Oliver Wahlstrom, Day to Day (Injury withheld)
WHY TAKE THE BRUINS AT -250: The Taylor Hall Factor. The Bruins are 16-5-1 (including the playoffs) since acquiring Hall from Buffalo in a trade in April. With the 2017-18 Hart Trophy winner in their roster, Boston has scored 74 goals and allowed just 42 and their power play is 12 for 59 (20.3%). Hall, 29, has four goals in three games against the Islanders as Bruin.
WHY TAKE THE ICELANDS AT +173: The Islanders should be able to slow down the Bruins like they did the Penguins in the first round. Pittsburgh was the second-most scoring team in the regular season (193 goals), but managed to score just 15 goals in six games against New York. Islanders rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin made the difference for New York in the first round. Sorokin was 4-0 with a GAA of 1.95 and SV% of .943 against Pittsburgh.
MY CHOICE : The Bruins are a different team with Hall in the lineup. The B’s also get a solid goaltender from Tuukka Rask, who averaged 1.81 and SV% .941 against Washington in the first round. Take Boston at -1.5 on the series handicap at -147.
PLAYER ACCESSORIES TO WATCH: It’s hard to ignore someone from the “Perfect Line” or New York’s Mathew Barzal, but as you already understood from this piece, you might want to take the Taylor Hall train. Hall is +600 to lead this series in goals and scores 0.48 goals per game as the Boston Bruin.
CENTRAL DIVISION FINAL
Carolina Hurricanes # 1 vs. Tampa Bay # 3 Lightning
This is the first time the Hurricanes and Lightning will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Carolina will look to take out the defending Stanley Cup champions on their way to the bottom four like they did in 2019.
CHANCES OF THE WINNERS OF THE SERIES: Caroline +115, Tampa Bay -159
FACE-TO-FACE: Carolina won the series 4-3-1 and topped Tampa Bay 18-17.
Caroline : No major injuries
Tampa Bay: No major injuries
WHY YOU TAKE HURRICANES AT +115: The Hurricanes will have the edge on the ice and that could make all the difference – PNC Arena has been a stronghold this season. Carolina has suffered just three losses in regulation at home all year, the lowest number in the NHL, and was 3-0 against Nashville in the first round.
The key to getting the Hurricanes to the third round might be ending the Tampa power play. The Lightning went 8 for 20 with the men’s advantage against the Panthers. Carolina, however, has done a good job of knocking out Tampa’s power play in eight regular-season games. The Hurricanes’ penalty kill dropped to 86.4% against the Lightning.
WHY TAKE THE LIGHTNING AT -159: The defending Stanley Cup champions looked like this against the Panthers in the first round. Tampa scored 24 goals in six games against Florida while the power play ran at 40.0 percent. Let’s be honest, the return of Nikita Kucherov is scary in Tampa. After missing the entire regular season after hip surgery, Kucherov has three goals and eight assists in six games against the Panthers.
MY CHOICE : I don’t like putting the juice on the Lightning to win this series, but I think the Bolts will get there. I think there’s a ton of value in taking Tampa to win this series 4-2 at +348.
PLAYER ACCESSORIES TO WATCH: There is no doubt that both teams have a lot of firepower with names like Kucherov, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos and Sebastian Aho. But I think it helps to take Alex Killorn from Tampa to lead this series in points. Killorn has two goals and three assists in eight games against the Hurricanes this season, and already has four goals and four assists in the playoffs. Killorn also scored one goal and had two assists with the men’s advantage in the first round.
WEST DIVISION FINAL
# 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. # 2 Vegas Golden Knights
The Avalanche and Golden Knights will meet for the first time in the Stanley Cup playoffs after Colorado edged Vegas in a tiebreaker to win the Presidents’ Trophy. These teams met in the round robin game of the Stanley Cup qualifying in the bubble, with Vegas winning 4–3 in overtime.
CHANCES OF THE WINNERS OF THE SERIES: Colorado -180, Vegas +150
FACE-TO-FACE: Colorado won the season series 4-3-1, but was edged 18-17.
Colorado: No major injuries
Vegas : Brayden McNabb, Day to Day (COVID 19 Protocol), Tomas Nosek, Day to Day (Undisclosed Injury)
WHY TAKE THE AVALANCHE AT -180: The Avalanche looked like the Stanley Cup favorite after being swept in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup champions Blues. Colorado topped St. Louis 20-7, and their power play worked out to a ridiculous 50 clip. , 0%. Nathan MacKinnon looked like the Conn Smythe Trophy favorite after accumulating six goals and three assists in just four games against St. Louis. Philipp Grubauer was solid in goal in the first round and has also been very good against Vegas this season. Grubauer was 4-2-1 with an average of 1.86 and a SV% of .935 in seven starts against the Golden Knights.
WHY TAKE THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS AT +150: Vegas has just completed a seven-game contested streak with the Minnesota Wild, but posted the NHL’s best goal differential at +67 in the regular season. The return of Max Pacioretty could be the key for VGK in this series. Pacioretty returned to the lineup for the first time since May 1 in Game 7 and scored a goal and got a +2. The Avs had no response for Pacioretty this season – the Vegas winger has scored six goals and added two assists in seven games.
MY CHOICE : The Avalanche look set to win the Stanley Cup, but I think losing Nazem Kadri to a suspension could leave the door open wide enough for a very good Vegas team. Take the Golden Knights at +150.
PLAYER ACCESSORIES TO WATCH: There is no doubt that Colorado and Vegas have an abundance of talent up front, with MacKinnon, Pacioretty, Mikko Rantanen and Mark Stone the favorites to lead this series in points. If you’re looking for an underdog game, however – and I mean a fat doggie – what about picking up a flyer on Mattias Janmark? The Vegas center has scored three goals and collected three assists in seven games against the Wild in the first round.