NHL 2nd Round Predictions

by John Pagnotta | May 7, 2024 | General | 0 comments

Photo Credit: espn.com
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was filled with a few surprises, but was mostly predictable in its outcomes. The second round of the playoffs is much less predictable, and can go either way in all four matchups. Therefore, here are my second round predictions as the NHL playoffs begin to heat up!

Eastern Conference

M1 New York Rangers vs. M2 Carolina Hurricanes: Hurricanes in 7
A1 Florida Panthers vs. A2 Boston Bruins: Bruins in 6

The Rangers and Hurricanes both had their way against the Capitals and Islanders, respectively, in their 1st round matchups. The scores in both series may not show dominance, but it was mainly one-sided. The Rangers swept the Capitals, while being led by Mika Zibanejad (1 G, 6 A), and an outstanding series by Igor Shesterkin (.930 SV%, 7 GA in 4 games). The Blueshirts’ special teams were both on fire, as they went 6/16 (37%) on the PP and 15/17 (88%) on the PK. On the other side, the Hurricanes had some puck luck against the Islanders, but dominated puck possession in all 5 games to win the series. They were led by their incredible depth, as over 10 players scored goals for the Canes. Frederik Andersen wasn’t as dominant as Igor, but he made some incredible saves to keep Carolina in the lead. Their special teams was also a big part of their success, as the Canes went 5/15 (33%) on the PP and were nearly perfect on the PK. These teams are basically mirror images of each other, as they both have exceptional special teams, an explosive offense, a raucous fanbase, and a suffocating defense. This series will be a long, grueling one for both teams, as the Hurricanes will barely come out on top, as they win the series in 7 competitive games.

Photo Credit: thebostonglobe.com
In the Atlantic Division, the Panthers dominated the Lightning, winning the series in 5 games and proving that a repeat SCF appearance is very possible. Florida outscored the Bolts 20-14, never scoring less than 3 goals in any of the games, and most of their success came on 5v5 play. This outcome has presumably put an end to Tampa’s dynasty, as it was their first exit in the opening round in over 4 seasons! In the other series, the Bruins vs. Maple Leafs played 7 incredibly close games, as a crazy bounce off the glass by Hampus Lindholm set up David Pastrnak for a backhand to set off TD Garden and send the B’s to the second round. Boston was led by Brad Marchand (3 G, 5 A), Pastrnak (3 G, 2 A), Jake DeBrusk (3 G, 2 A), Trent Frederic (3 G), and dominant play from Jeremy Swayman (.950 SV%, 4-2). This series will be filled with lots of scoring, as Boston’s experience will edge out the Panthers, beating them in 6.

Western Conference

P1 Vancouver Canucks vs. P2 Edmonton Oilers: Oilers in 6
C1 Dallas Stars vs. C3 Colorado Avalanche: Avalanche in 6

The Canucks vs. Predators series was a much more competitive one than anticipated, going 6 games and having the final 4 games decided by only 1 goal. The Canucks dealt with injuries to Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith, causing third stringer Arturs Silovs to start the final 3 games. He performed admirably, only giving up 5 goals on 80 shots (.937 SV%, and winning 2 of the 3 games to send the Canucks to Round 2. They didn’t score much vs Nashville, but posted a 90% PK rate (3rd among current playoff teams), and allowed only 2 goals a game. On the other side, the Oilers were led by McDavid (1 G, 11 A), Draisaitl (5 G, 5 A), Hyman (7 G), and Bouchard (1 G, 8 A) in their dismantling of the Kings. They outscored LA 22-13 in 5 games, which is a 4.40 GF rate (2nd among current playoff teams). However, the most impressive part was on the defensive end. Their PK went a perfect 12/12, and they only gave up 4 goals in the last 3 games of the series (all Oilers wins). These numbers may not be sustainable against a lethal Canucks offense, but they are great to see for an organization who’s known for their leaky defense in the playoffs. McDavid and co. will be too much for the Canucks, as their offense and impressive effort on defense will lead them to a semifinal matchup for a chance at the Cup.

In the Central, the Avalanche looked incredible, averaging nearly six (SIX!) goals a game and scoring at least 5 in every game against the best defensive team in hockey. Keep in mind that the Jets had potential Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck in net! 8 players on the Avs had at least 5 points, while 12 different players scored a goal. Surprisingly, Artturi Lehkonen had 5 goals while Nichushkin had 7 on 17 shots! In addition, their 37.5 PP% was 2nd in the playoffs, while also recording the 4th least penalty minutes (43). Their offense was incredibly dangerous and similar to one you might see in a video game! Dallas and Vegas were the opposite, as their series went 7 games in dramatic fashion. Every game was close, as 4 games ended by a 1 goal difference, and the series could’ve gone either way for both teams. Dallas eventually prevailed, led by Jake Oettinger’s return to form (14 GA in 7 games), and their stifling defense (2.29 GA vs Vegas). Dallas’ PP also took another step forward, having a 30% success rate after finishing with a 24% success rate in the regular season. Lastly, their PK (72%) and scoring took a step back (2.33 GF) after having success heading into the playoffs. The Stars aren’t looking too great after barely beating a dangerous, but weaker, Vegas team in 7 games. This is why the Avs will soar through the Stars in 6 games to face Edmonton in a rematch from 2 years ago.

Photo Credit: clutchpoints.com
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My name is John Pagnotta and I live in Queens, NY. I am a sophomore at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School. I am a huge fan of the Jets, Mets, Islanders, and Knicks. I started following sports when I was around 7 years old and I have not lost love for it ever since!


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