After all four road teams on this slate won the opening games, we have four massive tilts tonight that could put some very good squads on the ropes. Which teams have the best chances of answering back and avoiding two losses in a row on Day 4? Let’s get into it.
Toronto vs Tampa Bay
The Lightning came out fast and never looked back on Tuesday, eventually beating the Maple Leafs 7-3. They were able to take advantage of a very frenetic start for Toronto, and while the home side came back to make it 3-2 in the 2nd period, the Bolts were able to put the game out of reach with three straight powerplay goals of their own. Tonight, I expect a much better start from Toronto. They’ll be without Michael Bunting due to his suspension, but the Lightning have much bigger roster concerns that Toronto should be looking to take advantage of. Erik Cernak is out for Game 2, and Victor Hedman is a game time decision. If Hedman doesn’t suit up, a very thin defensive core for the Lightning may not be able to handle Toronto’s offensive attack. Take the Leafs to bounce back tonight in Day 4.
New Jersey vs New York
Day 4’s second game will go in New Jersey as the Devils look to avoid going down two games before heading back to Madison Square Garden. The Rangers dominated the scoreboard on Tuesday night, but the game itself may have been a little closer than the final reflected. Still, it was a game that certainly highlighted the playoff experience of one side versus the inexperience of the other. Unfortunately, New Jersey has to find a way to beat Igor Shesterkin. Their only goal in game one was on a penalty shot from Jack Hughes, and with how impressive New York’s offensive attack is, they’ll probably need at least three goals to win these games. Their speed is their biggest asset and using it to create chances off the rush should be top priority for New Jersey tonight as look to claw back to even.
Colorado vs Seattle
The series opener between the Kraken and Avalanche was the biggest surprise of Day 4 as the NHL’s newest franchise took down the reigning Cup Champions 3-1. Seattle has a sneaky good roster, with four solid lines that got the job done against a very top-heavy Avalanche team. Philipp Grubauer was great in the crease as well, making 34 saves on 35 shots. However, I do expect a big bounce back in front of the home crowd tonight for the Avs. Nathan Mackinnon was clearly unhappy after the game, and I’d be shocked if he didn’t have everyone in the room ready to go tonight. If you had to take one team from the Day 4 slate to bounce back with a win, we would suggest the Colorado Avalanche.
Vegas vs Winnipeg
The Jets looked great in game one on Tuesday night and the Golden Knights absolutely did not. Winnipeg almost doubled Vegas in shots and were led on the scoresheet by their top players, while quite a few key guys for the Golden Knights struggled to get anything going. For tonight’s game to go better for the home team, they’ll need to do a better job at getting pucks to the net. On Tuesday, the opposing team only tested Connor Hellebuyck 17 times, which is not nearly enough for a goaltender of his caliber. With their backs against the wall, we do expect a better performance from the Golden Knights tonight. They have to know that if they go down 2-0 heading back to Winnipeg, this series may be a very quick one.
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