So much for Vegas’s prediction that the Caps would win it all! This has been a crazy NHL postseason with some major upsets. Now that the top three favorites – Washington, Tampa Bay, and even the hot Vegas Golden Knights – are all out of the mix, what can we expect going forward? We’re already a few games into the Second Round, and things are heating up on the ice (sorry, that was lame) as teams battle for the Stanley Cup. There’s been a lot of drama so far with literally every Wild Card team in the playoffs knocking off the top seeds and advancing to the Second Round. And all of the Canadian teams are out!
Here’s a look at the current matchups for the Second Round of the NHL Playoffs…
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Eastern Conference: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders (3-0)
The Hurricanes shocked everyone by defeating the defending champs and number-one seed Washington Capitals in a 4-3 series that ended with a thrilling goal in double-overtime last Wednesday. Now Carolina already has two games on the Islanders who managed to knock off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. They were able to defeat the New York team on the road by one goal in each game. But that Game 2 victory on Sunday didn’t come without its price tag. Canes players Trevor van Riemsdyk, Petr Mrazek, and Saku Maenalanen had to miss Game 3 – and potentially more – due to injuries. But none of that mattered as they took a commanding 3-0 series lead on Wednesday with a 5-2 win. It’s an uphill battle for the Islanders from here. The Hurricanes will play another game on home ice in Raleigh on Friday where they hope to clinch the series. Get tickets!
Eastern Conference: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Boston Bruins (2-2)
Another wild card team that took out the top dog, the Blue Jackets swept the Lightning in the first round and now they’re 2-1 against the Bruins. Columbus’s Matt Duchene was the hero of Game 2 and he followed suit in Game 3 by putting away a goal on a Blue Jackets power play. Losing two in a row has been tough on Boston, who admit that Columbus is a tough team to play against once they get up. Not to mention, Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and Seth Jones are all performing at the top of their games this postseason. Up until Game 4, star Boston players Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak had not. They managed to turn things around last night though, with Bergeron scoring two goals and Pastrnak scoring one, tying the series up with a convincing 4-1 win. They’ll play Game 5 in Boston on Saturday. Shop for tickets here!
Western Conference: San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche (2-2)
After a tough Game 2 at home, the Sharks bounced back in Game 3, beating the Avalanche on the road in Colorado. Superstar Nathan MacKinnon might’ve nabbed some points for the seventh game in a row, but Logan Couture scored the game-winning goal (and a casual hat trick, his first) on Tuesday night. Couture was excited, but he’s keeping his eyes on the prize, saying after Game 3, “We haven’t won. So I don’t care what my numbers get to be. I could go this whole playoffs and have zero points and if we win the Stanley Cup I’ll be the happiest guy in this room.” But when the Sharks went to Denver for Game 4 on Thursday, the Avalanche managed to tie up the series with a decisive 3-0 shutout. They head back to San Jose on Saturday for what’s sure to be an epic Game 5. Get your tickets!
Western Conference: St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars (2-2)
The St.Louis Blues surprised the Winnipeg Jets and the Dallas Stars sure as heck surprised the Nashville Predators in the first round. Now they’re battling it out in another tight competition to see who’ll move on to the Western Conference Championship (aka round three of the playoffs). After winning all of their road games 4-0 in the playoffs so far, the Blues look tough. But the Stars are scoring more goals per game in the offseason than they did all of the regular season (3 compared to 2.55), so they’ve got that going for them. After the Stars tied up the series in Game 2, the Blues bounced back with a goal in the last two minutes of regulation time in Game 3, courtesy of Patrick Maroon. The Blues were looking to take a dominant 3-1 series lead on the road on Wednesday but the Stars were favored at home and Dallas beat ’em 4-2 to tie the series up. Catch Game 5 when as they head to St. Louis tonight! Shop tickets here!