The NHL playoffs never cease to amaze, as we’ve seen with surprising upsets from Seattle and Florida. Our original playoff predictions may have been thrown out the window, but that’s the unpredictable beauty of playoff hockey.
Despite the heartbreak and shattered brackets, we’re excited to witness the fresh second-round matchups and take another shot at predicting which teams will advance to the third round. Jack and Trevor are now joining forces to offer their insights and picks. So let’s dive in.
NHL Playoffs Round Two Predictions
Las Vegas Golden Knights vs. Edmonton Oilers
Trevor: Vegas faced an injury-plagued Winnipeg team in the first round of the NHL playoffs, but their fortunes will be tested as they take on the dominant Edmonton Oilers. Despite winning three of four regular-season games by a narrow margin, Edmonton’s exceptional power play (56.3%) is a concern for Vegas, which has struggled on the penalty kill.
Furthermore, the Golden Knights face a tough challenge with a young, untested goaltender. Although the series is likely to be competitive, the Oilers’ offensive capabilities should enable them to wrap up the series in six games or fewer.
Trevor’s Pick: Edmonton in 6
Jack: Vegas was the only team to win a series in less than six games in the first round, but the task will be a much taller one against the Oilers. Edmonton’s stars will most likely continue to shine, and although Vegas has some great players on their own roster, none can quite match up with McDavid and Draisaitl.
For Vegas to win this series, they’ll have to slow down the Oilers’ offence with great defensive play and goaltending for four games. I think this series will be a very close one, but over seven games, the two best players in the world will find a way.
Jack’s Pick: Edmonton in 7
Dallas Stars vs. Seattle Kraken
Trevor: In only their second year in the NHL, the Seattle Kraken took out the defending Stanley Cup Champs in 7 games. The Dallas Stars are a different kind of beast, though. The Stars rank second in goals allowed in the playoffs and third in the regular season. They have the ability to neutralize opposing offences and a top-class goaltender in Jake Oettinger, who can single-handedly win games. While the Kraken relies on a committee approach to produce points, with five players registering at least four points, led by Yanni Gourde’s six.
Meanwhile, Dallas lit the lamp against the Wild, with Roope Hintz’s putting in five goals and seven assists for twelve points, while Jason Robertson had seven points, and Tyler Seguin and Miro Heiskanen each had six. Seattle will battle, but Dallas is so good defensively that I expect them to smother the Kraken’s offence and score big goals when needed.
Trevor’s Pick: Dallas in 5
Jack: After taking out the defending champs, the NHL’s newest franchise is on to Round 2 to face off against the Dallas Stars. The series may not see many goals, but every game will be tough, gritty playoff hockey. Dallas got past the Wild in six games with a great defensive effort and standout performances from their best players, and the strategy for this series shouldn’t change much.
Although Colorado has the playoff pedigree, Dallas may actually be a tougher matchup for Seattle here. Their goaltending is better; they’re a deeper team at forward, better defensively, and probably a little more physical than the Avs. Despite all the excitement with the Kraken right now, I’ll take the Stars in 6.
Jack’s Pick: Dallas in 6
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers
Trevor: After 19 years, the Maple Leafs have finally made it to the second round of the NHL Playoffs, but fans who chanted for Florida over Boston may have gotten more than they bargained for. The Panthers eliminated the top-seeded Bruins by exploiting their defence and scoring at critical times. Although Matthew Tkachuk and Brandon Montour have shone for Florida, their penalty kill is the worst among playoff teams, making Toronto’s 29% powerplay a significant advantage.
While the goaltending matchup in my mind is even, with Samsonov and Bobrovsky performing decently, Florida’s recent victory over the Stanley Cup favourites suggests a closely contested series that’s difficult to call. I will go with Toronto’s potent offense and powerplay for the win.
Trevor’s Pick: Toronto in 7
Jack: Neither of these teams is necessarily known for their playoff success, but they both have a great chance to change that narrative right now. The Leafs finally got the monkey off their back. Hopefully, winning their first playoff series in almost twenty years will take some serious pressure off their star players and free them up to go on a deep run. As for the Panthers, it will be all about keeping that momentum going from round 1.
Toronto has seen what the Panthers can bring, so there won’t be anymore element of surprise for Florida. The Leafs dominated the season series, and although Matthew Tkachuk and Brandon Montour are playing some incredible hockey right now, the Leafs are the better team in more areas. Florida won’t go down easy, but I’ll take Toronto in 6. However, if Sergei Bobrovsky is on his game, watch out.
Jack’s Pick: Toronto in 6
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils
Trevor: Look out for the Devils; they have their swagger back. After looking nervous in the first two games against the Rangers, they were able to battle back and knock off four of the last five games, including Game 7 at home. Jersey can skate, they are fast and can beat you in so many ways, but they’re also getting fantastic goaltending from a young Akira Schmid.
Carolina is a tough out who plays great team defence. And as fast as New Jersey is, they didn’t really set the world on fire offensively against the Rangers. In fact, they produced the lowest amount of points by any team in the first round. My head is saying Carolina, but I don’t like this matchup for the Canes. New Jersey is rolling, and I’m a big believer in momentum.
Trevor’s Pick: New Jersey in 7
Jack: After losing two straight games at home to start their series against New York, the Devils put Akira Schmid in the net and never looked back. They were dominant defensively and basically shut down a very potent offence for Games 3,4,5, and 7. Now, they’ll play a team that doesn’t have the offensive skill of New York but is better defensively.
The Canes are banged up, and the Devils are hot. Carolina’s defence may be a little better, but if the Devils can solve the Ranger’s Igor Shesterkin, they should be able to find the net against Carolina’s tandem of goalies. I was very impressed with the second half of the first series for New Jersey, and I’ll take the Devils to win this one in 6.
Jack’s Pick: New Jersey in 6
After Trevor’s half-cut early NHL predictions for the West and East, we didn’t think Jack and Trev would agree on round two predictions for the NHL playoffs. But here we are. Now your turn; let us know in the comments below who you think will win each matchup.