NHL Playoffs 2021: Schedule and Latest Odds for Stanley Cup Bracket Picture

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 18, 2021

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is congratulated as he passes the team box after scoring an empty-net goal against the St. Louis Blues late in the third period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Monday, May 17, 2021, in Denver. Colorado won 4-1. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The opening games of the Stanley Cup playoffs have not lacked drama. 

Four of the seven games have gone to overtime, including both contests in the series between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. 

Home-ice advantage has not been as valuable as some may think since the Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders and Boston all captured road victories. 

Boston's road win in Game 2 on Monday night allowed it go into Games 3 and 4 with the opportunity to take a significant advantage before heading back to Washington, D.C. 

Boston and Washington will be three games ahead of the Canadian teams once Game 3 finishes on Wednesday. 

The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will open up their series on Wednesday, while the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens start on Thursday. 


Upcoming Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule

All Times ET; Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tuesday, May 18

Game 2: New York Islanders (+116; bet $100 to win $116) at Pittsburgh (-134; bet $134 to win $100) (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) (New York leads 1-0)

Game 2: Tampa Bay (-127) at Florida (+100) (8 p.m., CNBC) (Tampa Bay leads 1-0)

Game 2: Minnesota (+140) at Vegas (-165) (10 p.m., NBCSN) (Minnesota leads 1-0)


Wednesday, May 19

Game 3: Washington (+144) at Boston (-167) (6:30 p.m., NBCSN) (Series tied 1-1)

Game 2: Nashville (+165) at Carolina (-195) (8 p.m., CNBC) (Carolina leads 1-0)

Game 1: Winnipeg (+128) at Edmonton (-148) (9 p.m., NBCSN)

Game 2: St. Louis (+255) at Colorado (-315) (10:30 p.m., CNBC) (Colorado leads 1-0)


Thursday, May 20

Game 3: Florida at Tampa Bay (6:30 p.m., USA)

Game 3: Pittsburgh at New York Islanders (7 p.m., NBCSN)

Game 1: Montreal (+175) at Toronto (-205) (7:30 p.m., NHL Network)

Game 3: Vegas at Minnesota (9:30 p.m., NBCSN)


Boston Carries Momentum Into Home Games

Brad Marchand sent the Bruins back home with a series tie through an early overtime goal in Game 2. 


Brad Marchand (@Bmarch63)! OT Winner! Tied series! #StanleyCup https://t.co/EU8bzoJsmM

Boston now has the opportunity to win back-to-back games at home and leave Washington in a precarious situation entering Game 5. 

Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy was aware of the importance of Marchand's goal when he talked to reporters after the game. 

"I think the guys that have been here understood the urgency of this game. We had to play better," he said. "Obviously getting the win is very important, but for our own selves, we needed to play a better hockey game. I thought we were the better team tonight and were full value for the win."

In the regular season, Boston put up 11 goals in its two home wins over Washington. One of the losses came in a shootout and the other was an 8-1 blowout defeat. 

The Bruins can post another high total in Game 3 behind their top scorers. Patrice Bergeron, Taylor Hall and Jake DeBrusk joined Marchand on the score sheet. 

Hall, Bergeron, Marchand and DeBrusk combined for 23 shots on goal. Each member of the quarter put five attempts on target. 

Boston outshot Washington 48-39 in Game 2, which was a reverse in the stats after the Caps put up six more shots on goal in Game 1. 

If the Bruins keep up the same offensive intensity, they could pummel the Washington goal and earn the advantage on home ice. 


Colorado's Offense Overwhelmed St. Louis In Game 1

The Avalanche opened their Stanley Cup quest by putting 50 shots on the St. Louis net in Game 1. 

Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen extended their tremendous regular seasons into Monday's win. They combined for three goals and five assists, and each earned multiple points. 


It wouldn't be an @Avalanche game without some Nathan MacKinnon (@Mackinnon9) in the mix! #StanleyCup 🇺🇸: https://t.co/KS0BmRoGxc @NHLonNBCSports 🇨🇦: https://t.co/DMzkSL6BIN @Sportsnet https://t.co/svBWN3Kfvl

Landeskog kept Colorado's strategy simple when discussing their approach with reporters after the game:

"We believe in what we're doing, and we ran into hot goalies earlier in the year as well. For us, it's find a way. Keep shooting the puck. It's not going to start going in because you start overpassing or look for the perfect play. You've got to keep throwing pucks there and I thought we did a good job of that. We got rewarded in the third."

Colorado produced 26 goals in its eight regular-season matchups with the Blues, so Monday's output should not be a surprise. 

In their last two home games versus the Blues, the Avalanche totaled 73 shots on target that produced five goals. 

If Colorado beats the average of the April matchups once again in Game 2, it could take a commanding lead into St. Louis, where it won twice in April.


Statistics obtained from NHL.com.

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