NHL Playoff Bracket 2020: Odds, TV, Live-Stream Schedule for Tuesday

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 11, 2020

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) keeps an eye on the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The Boston Bruins have the worst bubble form of any of the eight teams slated to open the Stanley Cup playoff first round Tuesday. 

Boston recorded the top point total in the regular season but was unable to produce any positive results in the round-robin games, which dropped it to the No. 4 seed. 

The Bruins' path to a championship is not easy, as they face the most rested qualifying-round winner, the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Carolina was the only franchise to win three games in a row in the qualifying round, and it did so with a strong defense, which could be a bad sign for Boston's attempt to ignite its offense.

Tuesday's four-game slate kicks off with the rematch between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning. A year ago, Columbus eliminated top-seeded Tampa Bay with a first-round sweep. 

The Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars will open first-round play in the Edmonton hub, while the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks finish off the schedule. 


NHL Tuesday Schedule

Columbus (+160) vs. Tampa Bay (-180) (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Calgary (+100) vs. Dallas (-115) (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Carolina (+120) vs. Boston (-135) (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Chicago (+170) vs. Vegas (-190) (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

All games can be live-streamed on NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app.



Carolina vs. Boston Under 5.5 (-140)

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Carolina's success in shutting down the Rangers and Boston's inability to find the back of the net make a perfect formula for the under to hit in Game 1. 

The Hurricanes held the Rangers to four goals in 180 minutes of qualifying-round hockey, and they did so without Dougie Hamilton. 

The 27-year-old has not played since January due to an injury, but he could be available for Game 1. Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour is "hopeful" of the defenseman's status, per Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer. 

"I'm hopeful for sure," he said. "I think we'll know a lot today, obviously. We'll get through today's practice and see how he feels. If he can go, he can go. It's a positive sign that he's practiced with us the last two days. He seems to feel better."

Even if Hamilton is unable to go, Jaccob Slavin and others should be able to contain Boston's top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. 

Bergeron was the only member of the trio to record a point in the round-robin games on an assist against Tampa Bay. 

The play of both goalies could also factor into a low-scoring affair inside Scotiabank Arena. 

Boston's Tuukka Rask has allowed two goals or fewer in 40 of his 91 postseason appearances. He has a .927 save percentage and 2.19 goals against average in the playoffs. 

Petr Mrazek and James Reimer both posted save percentages above .900 and a GAA under 2.70 this season.

Mrazek has the better numbers of the two in the playoffs, with a 1.88 GAA and .931 save percentage in 24 postseason starts. 


Tampa Bay (-180) over Columbus

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Even if the Lightning downplay the revenge factor, you have to think that is at least part of their motivation to start strong against the Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper was quick to say the past is the past when talking about his team's history with Columbus, per NHL.com:

"What happened last year happened last year. That's in the history books forever. Now it's time to write your own history, and that's what we intend to do with this team. We don't know what's going to happen. But we said right from the beginning of the season, if you want to write your own history, you have to make the playoffs, and we did that."

The Lightning won their lone regular-season meeting with the Blue Jackets in overtime and played fairly well in their first two round-robin games against Boston and Washington. 

Tampa Bay's key could be getting off to a hot start. In both of its wins in Toronto, it opened the scoring. 

Columbus allowed the first goal on two occasions during its best-of-five series against the Maple Leafs, with one of the two coming in the opening 20 minutes. 

Look for Nikita Kucherov to be the Lightning's offensive catalyst. He has 63 postseason points and could be one of the many players motivated to get off to a fast start against Columbus after only producing a goal and an assist in the 2019 first round.

If the Lightning bombard the Columbus net with shots and come away with an early goal or two, they may find some comfort in the series with a one-game advantage.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference.