NHL Playoffs 2020: TV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Wednesday's Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov sets up against a shot on goal during an NHL team hockey practice, Monday, July 13, 2020, at the team's practice facility in East Meadow, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Each of Wednesday's NHL second-round series contests has a chance to significantly tilt the balance of power in the best-of-seven matchups.

Colorado faces the most dire situation of the six teams, as it needs a victory over Dallas to avoid falling three games back. 

Philadelphia must produce a better offensive performance against the New York Islanders to prove it can compete with one of hockey's hottest teams. 

Tampa Bay snatched the momentum in its series with Boston through a Game 2 overtime win Tuesday, but even with a win in the bag, it must find a better way to contain the Bruins' top line. 


NHL Wednesday Schedule

Game 2: New York Islanders (-110) vs. Philadelphia (-105) (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Game 3: Tampa Bay (-108) vs. Boston (-108) (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Game 3: Colorado (-140) vs. Dallas (+125) (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) 

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook and Vegas Insider.



Semyon Varlamov Stays Hot In Islanders' Goal 

The Islanders have been fantastic in defense in their last two games. 

Semyon Varlamov shut out Washington in Game 5 of the first round with 21 saves and then turned away 29 shots in Game 1 versus Philadelphia. 

Andy Greene, who was a midseason acquisition by the Islanders, had nothing but praise for the team's top netminder, per Newsday's Neil Best

"Since we've been here [in Toronto], absolutely fantastic; he's stood on his head," he said. “Playing against him earlier this season, just a really steady goalie back there. Just calm, very square and he battles."  

The back-to-back shutouts were the third and fourth of Varlamov's playoff career. His other two came in 2009 with the Capitals. 

Varlamov's defense also deserves credit for its Game 1 performance. The Islanders allowed six Flyers to put three or more shots on net, but three of those players were defensemen.

If New York can limit the output of Philadelphia's forwards and Varlamov shines again, they could take a 2-0 advantage for the third consecutive series inside the Toronto hub.


Boston's Top Scorers Continue To Wreak Havoc On Tampa Bay

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron have combined for nine of Boston's 17 points through two games against the Lightning. 

In Tuesday's Game 2, Pastrnak assisted on both of the tallies netted by Marchand, who leads the series with three goals. 

Although it was disappointing for the Bruins to walk away from Game 2 with a loss, they have to be pleased with the top-end production, which also includes two assists from defenseman Torey Krug. 

The production through two games is an extension of the form Boston's top line built up against Carolina. In that series, the three forwards totaled 16 points

If Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron continue to challenge Andrei Vasilevskiy, it should lead to more goals and possibly a quick rebound in Game 3. 

Of course, those three players can't do all the scoring, but if they lead the way and receive contributions from David Krejci, Charlie Coyle and others throughout the series, Boston could establish itself as the favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Final from the Eastern Conference. 


Colorado Provides More Support For Nathan MacKinnon

Colorado enters Game 3 with a handful of issues it must fix. 

The Avalanche can't afford to concede five goals for the third straight game, but they also need to provide more support for Nathan MacKinnon across the depth chart. 

MacKinnon owns three of Colorado's five goals, and he assisted on the other two scored by Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen.

While it's great to have a high level of production out of a top line, that is all Colorado is getting from its attack at the moment. 

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar tossed around the idea of moving one of the three players around on his lines for Game 3 to potentially lift the production, per ColoradoAvalanche.com's Ron Knabenbauer:

"If we had some other guys going a bit better than they are now, it would be easier to try someone up there with MacK and Mikko. To be honest, the last few games we just haven't been as good with some of the other guys that we would consider playing with MacK and Mikko. So we kind of left it alone, but it's certainly something that we've been talking about and looking at for Game 3."

Nazem Kadri is the only other forward with a point in the series, and he could be the man to ignite a rush of chances from beneath the top line. He finished the first-round series against Arizona with a pair of two-goal games.

It does not matter who provides the spark, but if Colorado can pack a better offensive punch, it could work its way back into the series. 

If its top three forwards continue to make up all of the scoring production in Game 3, it may be hard for the Avalanche to carve a path to the Western Conference Final with three other lines not living up to expectations. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference.