We’ve got four very interesting series set for the second round of the NHL Playoffs. Three are already underway with the Islanders and Bruins tied 1-1 and the Avs and Lightning both out to 1-0 leads. Montreal vs. Winnipeg, a series few saw coming in the North Division, will get underway Wednesday.
The Islanders were considered big underdogs to even their series against the Bruins. But they did it, winning Game 2 in overtime by a score of 4-3. Semyon Varlamov started in goal for the Isles in the win, an interesting decision seeing as how he was the starter for both first round losses against Pittsburgh. Rookie Ilya Sorkin was 4-0 in Round 1, but also lost Game 1 in Boston in what was a poor effort. The Game 2 win also snapped the Islanders’ four game losing streak to the Bruins. What’s interesting though is that NY won each of the season’s first five matchups. Game 2 was only the second loss for Boston this postseason.
Colorado couldn’t have been more dominant in its 7-1 Game 1 victory over Vegas. They outshot the Knights 37-24. The Knights were coming off a Game 7 win over Minnesota while the Avalanche had swept their first round opponent, the St. Louis Blues. So the Avs haven’t lost in the playoffs yet. They have scored 27 goals in the five wins and allowed 8. This looks like the Stanley Cup favorite right now. But keep in mind Vegas has a tremendous home ice advantage and also finished tied (with Colorado) for the most points in the regular season. Game 2 is Wednesday and the Avalanche are big favorites on the money line.
Tampa Bay, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, is the lone road team to capture Game 1 so far in the second round. They beat Central Division champ Carolina 2-1 on Sunday. They did so despite being outshot 38-30. This series is considered much more “evenly matched” than either of the two discussed previously. Game 2 is Tuesday. The Lightning are allowing 37.9 shots/game in the playoffs, which is high. But they’ve scored three or more goals in every game but two. They’ve scored four or more goals four different times. But don’t sleep on a Hurricanes team that scored three or more goals in all six first round games. Tampa Bay has won the last four times it has been a playoff underdog.
The final second round series is Montreal and Winnipeg, who were both upset winners in Round 1. But those respective series couldn’t have gone any different. The Canadiens rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to stun Toronto in seven games and won Game 7 on the road. Meanwhile, the Jets swept the Oilers. However, three of the four games went to overtime. One required coming back from a three-goal deficit and the series clincher went to triple overtime.