NHL Playoffs 2021: Updated Stanley Cup Schedule and Predictions

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2021

NHL Playoffs 2021: Updated Stanley Cup Schedule and Predictions

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    Joe Buglewicz/Associated Press

    In closing out the Minnesota Wild 6-2 in their Game 7 win on Friday night, the Vegas Golden Knights made history, becoming just the third franchise in NHL history to win a playoff series in three of their first four seasons in the league.

    Vegas will move on to face the Colorado Avalanche in the second round, clearing the way for a historic first in the chase for the Stanley Cup this year.

    With the Avalanche playing the Golden Knights, it will be the first time the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the same division (West) will have played each other in a best-of-seven series.

    The red-hot Boston Bruins will be taking on the New York Islanders, the Carolina Hurricanes will play the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Winnipeg Jets are awaiting the winner of the series between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Toronto hasn't won a playoff series in 17 years and their ability to do so was challenged on Friday, when they loss to Montreal 4-3 in overtime to force a Game 6.

    Can the Maple Leafs close out the series or will they make it 18 years while watching the Canadiens keep on skating towards the Stanley Cup?

    Here's how the remaining playoff schedule is taking shape and a few predictions.

Stanley Cup Schedule

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    Joe Buglewicz/Associated Press

    Saturday, May 29

    Game 6: Toronto at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network

    Game 1: New York at Boston, 8 p.m., NBC

              

    Sunday, May 30

    Game 1: Tampa Bay at Carolina, 5 p.m., NBC Sports Network

    Game 1: Vegas at Colorado, 8 p.m., NBC

              

    Monday, May 31

    Game 2: New York at Boston, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network

    Game 7: Montreal at Toronto, TBD*

    Remaining Second Round games schedule to be announced

Predictions

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Colorado vs. Vegas

    The two teams with the best records in the regular season will be facing off in the second round and it's going to be real treat for hockey fans.

    Colorado (39-13) finished first and took home the Presidents' Trophy, while Vegas (40-14) was a close second.

    Nevermind the fact that the Golden Knights were pushed to the brink of elimination in the first round by the Wild, now that they are moving on, they are getting a clean slate.

    Problem is, the Avalanche swept their first round series against the St. Louis Blues and are well rested and ready to go.

    "Whoever we play Sunday, we’re going to be ready to go," Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon told Colleen Flynn of Fox Denver 31. "We’re working really hard in practice. We’ve had two really good days, so we’re excited to get going."

    Prediction: Colorado wins the series 4-2. The Golden Knights are a force to be reckoned with, but this is not their year to break through. The Avalanche will be moving on to the semifinals.

    Boston vs. New York

    Is Taylor Hall Boston's secret weapon?

    The jury's still out, but before Hall was traded to the Bruins, they went 0-3-2 against the Islanders in their first five meetings this regular season.

    After the 29-year old winger landed in Boston, though, they've gone 3-0-0 against New York.

    The Bruins have better star power, but the Islanders are more balanced.

    But this is the postseason, where the stars step up and show out.

    With Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak manning the No. 1 line, Hall will be able to do what he does best: score.

    "We're an attacking team, we forecheck hard, we pressure hard all over the ice," Hall told ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

    Prediction: Boston wins the series 4-2. It all comes down to the roster between these two teams. The Bruins have the better team, so they'll win the most games.

    Carolina vs. Tampa Bay

    Carolina won the Central division, but it's Tampa Bay that has the most pressure entering the second round.

    They are the defending champs, so everyone is gunning for them, including the Hurricanes.

    "You knew if we got through this [first round] series, whether it was Florida or Tampa, for me, it was going to be the next best team in the League," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour told Dan Rosen of NHL.com. "Either one, pick 'em. Stanley Cup champs, or I thought Florida played great all year. We're getting the Stanley Cup champs.

    "We know what we're up against. We're going to have to be as good as we can to have a chance against these guys, especially now that they've got their full group back. It's a great challenge for us. We'll give it all we've got."

    They'll have to give it all they've got and they'll have to try to stop Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning forward finished with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the series against the Florida Panthers.

    That's an impressive way to bounce back from hip surgery.

    With these two teams, it comes down to hustle vs. experience and in sports, it's mostly the latter that wins in the end.

    Prediction: Tampa Bay wins the series 4-1. Carolina is scrappy and resilient, but neither of those can beat experience. Look for the Lightning to take care of business and move on to the next round.

                           

    Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference.

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