NHL Playoff Bracket 2020: Updated Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Round 2August 22, 2020
Although two series could have gone to decisive Game 7s, wins Friday by the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks have the 2020 NHL playoffs headed to the second round.
In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Flyers dispatched the Montreal Canadiens with a 3-2 victory. Philadelphia will take on the New York Islanders in the semifinals, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins are set for a showdown.
On the opposite side of the bracket, the Vegas Golden Knights will meet the Canucks. The other Western Conference matchup is between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.
And the action starts Saturday.
Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche
Game 1: Saturday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 24, at 9:45 p.m. (NBCSN)
Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Game 1: Sunday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Vancouver Canucks vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Game 1: Sunday, Aug. 23, at 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 9:45 p.m. (NBCSN)
New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
Full schedule available at NHL.com.
Stanley Cup Odds
Vegas Golden Knights: +350 (bet $100 to win $350)
Colorado Avalanche: +395
Tampa Bay Lightning: +440
Boston Bruins: +550
Philadelphia Flyers: +600
New York Islanders: +1000
Dallas Stars: +1100
Vancouver Canucks: +1500
Odds from Vegas Insider.
Since the bracket is reseeded after the first round, the Lightning and Bruins didn't know their second-round opponent until Philadelphia wrapped up the series with Montreal.
Consequently, Tampa Bay and Boston are set to resume hostilities in the Toronto bubble after their meeting during the round-robin phase of the postseason, which saw the former win 3-2.
Although the Lightning won three of the teams' four regular-season meetings, they played three one-goal games. This is an even matchup practically across the board.
Two advantages for Boston, though, are the ongoing absence of Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos (lower body) and the Lightning's struggling power play. Those are connected, of course. And if he remains sidelined, the Bruins have a major edge in the series.
During the regular season, the Islanders swept Philly in three contests. And New York won't be short on confidence.
However, the Flyers have excelled in the bubble and held opponents to just 1.6 goals per game. That level of defensive performance has helped Philly overcome one combined tally from Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes, a pair of 20-goal scorers.
This series will probably last six or seven games considering the Islanders' own defensive talent. But the Flyers' offensive upside is difficult to pick against.
And then, there's the Western Conference.
The simple truth is that no matter whether the St. Louis Blues or Vancouver advanced, it wouldn't have affected this prediction. Since the NHL returned to play, the Golden Knights are 7-1-0 and have scored four-plus goals six times. This attack is blazing hot.
Compared to matchups with the Canucks earlier this season, Vegas will need better goaltending. The Golden Knights surrendered eight goals in two games against Vancouver and will lean on trade deadline acquisition Robin Lehner for that improvement in net.
Lehner, though, has played well recently. Between his performance and a scorching offense, Vegas is the team to beat.
The other series pits a high-scoring Colorado team against Dallas squad best known for its defense.
Although the Stars swept the four regular-season clashes, the Avs earned a 4-0 victory over Dallas in the bubble Aug. 5. Plus, while Colorado had a plus-14 goal differential in the first round, Dallas managed a plus-four mark.
The Avs might need six or seven games, but their firepower will be enough to dispatch the Stars.
Predictions: Flyers, Bruins, Golden Knights and Avalanche advance to the conference finals.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.