The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs began at the beginning of August, and things are starting to heat up. The second round of the playoffs are now underway, and there are just four teams remaining in each conference.
There was just one upset in each conference during the first round, so three of the top teams in both conferences remain. Here is a look at each of the four playoff series set to take place in the second round.
The third-seeded Washington Capitals were upset by the New York Islanders in the first round, but the other top seeds remain. Two of the top NHL Stanley Cup Finals contenders, Boston and Tampa Bay, are meeting up in one of the two Eastern Conference semifinal matchups.
During the regular season, the Eastern Conference was considered the strongest conference in the league, but things have changed slightly in the playoffs. Either way, both matchups in the Eastern Conference should be terrific.
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Boston Bruins -118 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning +100
The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are considered the top two teams in the East, but they will square off in the conference semifinals. This should be a terrific series and one that could easily go all seven games.
Boston opened up this series by earning a 3-2 victory in the series opener. Both teams have plenty of offensive weapons, but the Bruins have a much better defensive team.
Look for this series to go all seven, but Boston has the deeper roster, and they prevail.
Philadelphia Flyers -139 vs. New York Islanders +118
The Philadelphia Flyers earned the top spot in the East by going a perfect 3-0 during the round-robin tournament to determine seeding. This has allowed them to draw the New York Islanders in the second round, thanks to the Islanders upset win over the Washington Capitals.
Philadelphia is the much better overall team, but the Islanders have a ton of momentum heading into this series. Look for New York to stay hot and pull off the series win. Take the Islanders at +118 in this series.
The biggest surprise in the Western Conference in Round 1 was the Vancouver Canucks knocking off the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis was the defending Stanley Cup champion, but they will be watching the remainder of the playoffs from home.
The other three top seeds remain, and that should make for a terrific battle in the Western Conference. Heading into round two, the top two betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup are in the Western Conference.
Vegas Golden Knights -275 vs. Vancouver Canucks +225
The Vegas Golden Knights are huge favorites in this series, and it’s for good reason. Vegas has suffered just one loss since the restart, and they have been dominant on both sides of the puck.
Vancouver has a young roster, and most of the players are still getting their first taste of the playoffs. Vegas earned a 5-0 victory in the series opener, and they should have little trouble in this series.
Take the Golden Knights -275 in this one.
Colorado Avalanche -195 vs. Dallas Stars +160
The Dallas Stars came into this series as underdogs, but they looked like the better team in the series opener. Dallas scored five goals in game one of the series and came away with a 5-3 victory.
Colorado has an explosive offense, and they likely won’t be held down for long. This should be a terrific series, but in the end, the Avs have too much offense.
Bet the Colorado Avalanche -195 over the Dallas Stars.