NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for Day 3 ScheduleMay 4, 2022
NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for Day 3 Schedule
The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs are only two days old, but there has already been some thrilling moments. Tuesday alone brought a No. 1 seed getting upset in Game 1 (the Florida Panthers losing to the Washington Capitals) and a triple-overtime marathon (the Pittsburgh Penguins' victory over the New York Rangers).
All eight first-round series are now underway, and those teams that began postseason play on Monday will be back on the ice Wednesday. Four teams will be looking to bounce back from losses to even their series, while four others aim to take a 2-0 lead before the series shifts sites.
It can be tough to overcome an 0-2 deficit, especially if the team in the lead is heading home for Games 3 and 4. That's a situation both the Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers will be looking to avoid after they each lost Game 1 of their respective series on their home ice.
Here's a look at Wednesday's schedule, followed by some predictions/storylines for the upcoming action.
Wednesday Schedule, Odds
Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes (-1.5), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs (-1.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild (-1.5), 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers (-1.5), 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
The Maple Leafs Will Finally Advance Past 1st Round with Ease
The Maple Leafs may have won Game 1 of their first-round series against the Lightning, but anything can happen from here in a best-of-seven format. Toronto knows that after it blew a 3-1 lead and fell in seven games to the Montreal Canadiens in last year's opening round, its seventh consecutive postseason series loss.
However, the way the Maple Leafs won Monday's Game 1 said a lot about how hungry this team is to finally advance past the first round for the first time since 2004. Toronto rolled to a 5-0 victory, relying on strong defense and the play of star center Auston Matthews (two goals and an assist) to jump out to a series lead.
"The boys just played so hard," Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell said, per the Associated Press. "They’re an amazing team over there. They’re not going to be thrilled about the Game 1."
It's not going to matter that the Lightning aren't happy, though. They may be the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, but the Maple Leafs have already quickly proved they're more than up for the challenge. And Toronto has the benefit of playing Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 on its home ice.
But the series isn't going to drag all the way out. Matthews will keep putting up impressive numbers, and the rest of the Maple Leafs will rally around him. Finally, they're going to get back to the second round, and it may only take about five games for them to get there.
It's Going to Get Much Tougher for the Blues to Score
The Wild had a tough goaltender decision heading into their first-round series against the Blues. Would they go with their starter for much of the season (Cam Talbot) or the more experienced playoff competitor (Marc-Andre Fleury)? They went with Fleury, and things didn't go great.
St. Louis jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a 4-0 win, as David Perron tallied a hat trick in the lopsided contest in Minnesota. Now, the Wild will have to decide whether to stick with Fleury in the net or go with Talbot for Game 2. Either way, they should get better goaltending play moving forward.
Fleury and Talbot are both talented veterans, and it's highly unlikely that Minnesota loses another game like the opener on its home ice. It should fare better offensively and play better on the power play, which will take some of the pressure off its netminder, whomever that may be.
So expect the Wild's defense to tighten up in Game 2 and either Fleury or Talbot to come through in a big way. This is going to be a competitive series, even if it didn't look like it on Monday. And Minnesota still has a good chance to come out of it victorious.
The Oilers Aren't Going to Lose Again This Series
After falling behind early in Monday's Game 1, the Oilers kept clawing back. They never had the lead, but they had the game tied for much of the third period. And then, Phillip Danault scored with 5 minutes and 14 seconds remaining to lift the Kings to a series-opening win on the road.
It was a bit of a surprise that Edmonton lost, considering how well it has played on its home ice and the fact that it ended the regular season with 13 wins in its final 16 games. But it was a game that easily could have swung the other way if the Oilers had gotten any offense in the third period.
"Playoffs are a long journey. There are going to be ups and downs," Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith said, per the Associated Press. "It’s how you deal with it that makes you good or makes you a team that’s watching from the sidelines."
The Oilers are a strong team, and that's why they should have no trouble bouncing back. In fact, they may even quickly take control of the series over the next couple games.
That's why the prediction here is that Edmonton will get back on track, reel off four consecutive wins over Los Angeles and move on to the second round. When the Oilers get rolling, they're difficult to stop, and that's what will happen here.
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