Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) and Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) battle for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, May 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
- Three of four series are set for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs
- Only the Winnipeg Jets are waiting to see if they’ll play the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens in the North Division final
- Colorado (West), Tampa Bay (Central) and Boston (East) are favored to win division titles
And then there were eight – well, nine – NHL teams left in hunt for the Stanley Cup. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens continue to battle in out to see who will advance to the second round and earn the right to face the Winnipeg Jets in the North Division final.
Meanwhile, the other three second-round series are set. The Boston Bruins are -230 favorites to defeat the New York Islanders in the East Division final. The Colorado Avalanche are the -215 choice to oust the Vegas Golden Knights in the West Division final. And the defending Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning are the -139 pick over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Central Division final.
2021 NHL Playoffs Second Round Series Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
|New York Islanders||+180|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-139|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+170|
Odds as of May 29th
Second-round action gets underway Saturday with the Bruins playing host to the Islanders at 8pm ET. The game is being broadcast by NBC. The other two series begin on Sunday.
An Avalanche To Hit Vegas
The battle between the Golden Knights and Avalanche would serve as a worthy Stanley Cup final. It’s Colorado that is currently listed as the -200 betting choice in the Stanley Cup odds. Vegas are the fourth betting choice at +575.
There’s an old theory that the longer a team allows a playoff series to linger, the more that can go wrong. Vegas was up 3-1 on the Minnesota Wild and needed to win Game 7 in order to advance.
Making his 2021 #StanleyCup Playoffs debut, Max Pacioretty scored the third series-clinching goal of his career, trailing only Patrick Marleau (5) and Patrice Bergeron (4) for the most among active players. It was his second GWG in a #Game7.#NHLStats: https://t.co/QhdilCUD95 pic.twitter.com/itqiZaEUaG
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 29, 2021
In the meantime, Brayden McNabb, who works in the first defense pairing with Shea Theodore, tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the last two games against Minnesota. His presence in tandem with Theodore will be of vital importance to shut down the potent Colorado forward line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog.
Vegas did get back regular-season goal-scoring leader Max Pacioretty from an undisclosed injury in time for Game 7. Colorado will be without second-line center Nazem Kadri (NHL suspension) for the next six games.
Nathan MacKinnon (6-3—9 in 4 GP) is the first player in @Avalanche / Nordiques history to collect nine points in a series while playing only four games. #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/WXhhsi5i0p pic.twitter.com/qRD3rIoeGG
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 24, 2021
The Avs made short work of the St. Louis Blues. Colorado swept the 2018-19 Stanley Cup champions, outscoring the Blues 20-7 in the process.
- Pick: Colorado Avalanche (-215)
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Isles To Edge Bruins
Both of these teams employ playoff-hardened rosters. The Islanders lost in last season’s Eastern Conference final. The Bruins lost in the 2019 Cup final.
Saturday night. Full house. Can’t wait. pic.twitter.com/AA0arZ8rRK
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 27, 2021
It’s the first time they’ve clashed in the playoffs since 1983. That was the last season in which the Isles won the Cup. The Islanders won both previous series between the two teams.
Boston was rolling toward the end of the regular season and kept it going in a five-game sweep of Washington. The Bruins are 16-5-1 over their past 22 games.
Ready for Round 2️⃣. pic.twitter.com/0a1ho8jlZz
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 29, 2021
The Isles held a 5-2-1 edge over Boston during the regular season. They averaged averaged 3.5 goals per game in their Round 1 win over Pittsburgh, as well as an 11.1 shooting percentage. Much of that was due to the shaky goaltending of Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry. Boston’s Tuukka Rask won’t be giving away softies like Jarry did.
Still, the Islanders are a different team in the playoffs and coach Barry Trotz has won a postseason series seven years in a row.
- Pick: New York Islanders (+180)
A Stormy Showdown
Do you find thunderbolts and Lightning very, very frightening, or do you think the reigning Cup champs will be blown away by the Hurricanes? Both Carolina and Tampa Bay showed plenty to like and enough to cause concern during first-round series.
Hockey fans getting Lightning-Hurricanes and Avalanche-Knights in Round 2… pic.twitter.com/V5C7UdXXtW
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) May 29, 2021
Tampa Bay played undisciplined against Florida and surrendered 17 goals in six games. On the other hand, the Lightning blanked the Panthers 4-0 in their series-clinching Game 6 win. They scored 23 goals, led by playoff scoring leader Nikita Kucherov (3-8-11), who didn’t even play during the regular season.
Carolina was forced to overtime four times by an ordinary Nashville squad. The Canes required a three-goal rally to win Game 6 by a 4-3 count.
- Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (-139)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.