The Vancouver Canucks may have upset the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the first round, but they face a much greater challenge in the second round of the NHL playoffs. And the Vegas Golden Knights showed just why Sunday night.
After winning seven of their first eight games this postseason, the Golden Knights kept rolling with a 5-0 win over the Canucks in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series. Vegas has been on a scoring frenzy, tallying at least four goals seven times in the Western Conference bubble.
The Golden Knights are looking unbeatable. But there's still plenty of action to be played.
Here's a look at the upcoming second-round schedule, followed by Stanley Cup odds and a preview of Monday's action.
Monday, Aug. 24
Game 1: No. 6 New York Islanders at No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 2: No. 3 Dallas Stars at No. 2 Colorado Avalanche, 9:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Tuesday, Aug. 25
Game 2: No. 4 Boston Bruins at No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 2: No. 5 Vancouver Canucks at No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights, 9:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Wednesday, Aug. 26
Game 2: No. 6 New York Islanders at No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers, 3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning at No. 4 Boston Bruins, 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: No. 2 Colorado Avalanche at No. 3 Dallas Stars, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Thursday, Aug. 27
Game 3: No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers at No. 8 Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights at No. 5 Vancouver Canucks, 9:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Complete second-round schedule available at NHL.com.
Stanley Cup Odds
Vegas Golden Knights: +350 (bet $100 to win $350)
Colorado Avalanche: +390
Tampa Bay Lightning: +440
Boston Bruins: +550
Philadelphia Flyers: +600
New York Islanders: +1000
Dallas Stars: +1100
Vancouver Canucks: +1500
Odds obtained via Vegas Insider.
Will Islanders Get Off to Strong Start Against Flyers?
In the first round, the New York Islanders quickly jumped out to a big lead against the Washington Capitals, winning the first three games of that series. New York bounced back from a Game 4 loss to shut out the Caps in Game 5 and advance.
The Isles face a bigger challenge in the second round, though, as the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers have won seven of their first nine games this postseason. They jumped out to a 3-1 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens in their first-round series, recording two shutouts, and held on to win in six games.
The lowest-seeded team remaining in the playoffs, New York will need to get off to a strong start in the series if it hopes to pull off another upset against Philadelphia.
The Flyers and Islanders faced off in the playoffs four times from 1975-87, but they haven't met in the postseason since. During the regular season, New York won all three of its games against Philadelphia, but the most recent matchup came Feb. 11—and immediately preceded the Flyers' run of 10 wins in 11 games before the season was paused.
This postseason, the Flyers' defense has been a big part of their success. They allowed only three total goals in their three round-robin seeding victories. Then, against the Canadiens, besides the aforementioned shutouts, they allowed only three total goals in their four wins. However, they are susceptible to lapses, with the Habs putting five past Philly in its two defeats in the series.
"I think we've just got to play our game," Philadelphia defenseman Ivan Provorov said, according to Field Level Media (h/t ESPN). "Keep playing fast. Control the puck and not give them any chances to score."
Wingers Josh Bailey (two goals and eight assists) and Anthony Beauvillier (six goals and three assists) are the Islanders' top two scorers through their first nine postseason games, so they're the players the Flyers will need to limit.
Avalanche Look to Bounce Back from Game 1 Setback
The Colorado Avalanche dominated their first-round series against the Arizona Coyotes, winning in five games and outscoring them 22-8, which included a pair of 7-1 victories in Games 4 and 5. However, Colorado quickly found out that Dallas will be a greater challenge, as the Stars jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a 5-3 victory Saturday night.
Dallas' top line of Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin combined for three goals and five assists in the win.
"When that line scores an early goal like that, that's huge," Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). "And then you've just got to let them go. We're not going anywhere without our top players."
The Stars lost four of their first six games this postseason, going 1-2 in round-robin seeding play and falling behind 2-1 in their opening-round series against the Calgary Flames. They haven't lost since, though, notching three straight victories to eliminate the Flames before winning the opener against the Avalanche.
However, Colorado has been a strong team all season, and it could bounce back in Monday's Game 2 and quickly make this second-round series a tight one. But the Avalanche will have to do it without injured goaltender Philipp Grubauer, which means Pavel Francouz will start in the net.
According to NHL.com's Tracey Myers, Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he's also "not expecting" defenseman Erik Johnson to play in Game 2 because of injury. So it may be incumbent upon the Avs' forwards to rediscover their ruthless touch to keep up with the Stars' hot attack if they are to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole.