NHL Playoffs 2021: TV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Monday's Stanley Cup Games

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMay 31, 2021

NHL Playoffs 2021: TV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Monday's Stanley Cup Games

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    Peter Power/Associated Press

    The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is underway, and there's already been plenty of action.

    The Boston Bruins began with a convincing 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. The Colorado Avalanche routed the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1 in Game 1 of their series. And the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning went on the road and edged the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 to open that set.

    Meanwhile, the second-round matchup out of the North Division still isn't set. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will conclude their first-round series with a Game 7 matchup in Toronto on Monday night, with the winner advancing to face the Winnipeg Jets.

    Here's a look at the schedule for Monday's postseason action, followed by predictions for how the night will unfold.

Monday Schedule, Odds

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Game 7: No. 4 Montreal Canadiens at No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs (-1.5), 7 p.m. ET CNBC

    Game 2: No. 4 New York Islanders at No. 3 Boston Bruins (-1.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Maple Leafs Will Bounce Back to Take Game 7

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    Peter Power/Associated Press

    The Maple Leafs had an opportunity to close out this series at home in Game 5, but they lost 4-3 in overtime. They had another chance to end it in Montreal in Game 6, yet the Canadiens again staved off elimination by winning 3-2 in overtime.

    It all comes down to a Game 7 between the two Original Six foes. And while the game will be played in Toronto, it could easily go either way.

    The Maple Leafs haven't won a playoff series since the first round of the 2004 postseason. They have lost six consecutive playoff series thereafter, including an opening-round set every year since 2017. If that streak continues, it will have been a huge collapse for Toronto, which seemed in control of this series early on.

    "It's time for the words to stop, the cliches to stop," Maple Leafs forward Nick Foligno said, per the Associated Press. "It's time to put it all on line. I have no doubt going to battle with these guys that we'll do that."

    After holding Montreal to four total goals over the first four games of the series, Toronto has allowed seven in the past two contests, including a pair of overtime game-winners. But with the series on the line in Game 7, expect Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell to stop more shots and prevent the Canadiens from putting up a huge total.

    Because of that, Toronto will earn its biggest postseason victory in 17 years, as it will finally get past the first round of the playoffs and have an opportunity to make a deeper run. It should be a competitive Game 7, as Montreal continues to show that it won't be going down without a fight.

    However, the Maple Leafs will generate enough offense and showcase their depth, with somebody on the third or fourth line scoring a key goal late. Toronto not only will win, but it will then also go into its second-round series against Winnipeg as the favorite as it looks to make a run to its first Stanley Cup since 1967.

Islanders Will Even Series vs. Bruins with Game 2 Win

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Facing an early deficit is nothing new to the Islanders this postseason. In the first round, they were losing 2-1 before responding with three straight victories to take down the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, New York couldn't carry over that momentum into the second round.

    The Bruins beat the Islanders 5-2 in the opener of the series Saturday, with forward David Pastrnak scoring three goals in the victory. The game was tied 2-2 following the second period, but Boston rattled off three goals in the third to take the win.

    Don't count out these Islanders, though. Even though Game 2 will again be in Boston, they are likely not going to let this series quickly get out of hand.

    "You get on the ice, [and] it doesn't matter who you play with." New York coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com's Tom Gulitti. "You've got to raise your game. And we've got some guys that need to raise their game if we're going to have success against the Boston Bruins."

    That may also mean a goaltending change for the Islanders for Game 2. Ilya Sorokin was in the net for each of New York's four wins in the first round, but he allowed four goals in the opener against Boston. Trotz told reporters that he may switch to Semyon Varlamov, who hasn't played since the Islanders' Game 3 loss to the Penguins in the opening round.

    Regardless of who's in the net, New York's offense should get back on track after it was blanked for the final 27 minutes, 26 seconds of Game 1. There are too many talented players in the lineup for that to happen again, and they could get going early in Game 2.

    This is unlikely to become a one-sided series, so the prediction here is that New York will bounce back and win Game 2. From there, things should continue to be competitive. The Islanders and Bruins are likely to need six or seven games to decide a series winner.


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