NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for 2nd-Round Schedule
The second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs has high expectations to live up to after the first round produced five series that went the distance.
The Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues were the only teams that did not need a Game 7 victory to move on to the second round. Colorado swept the Nashville Predators, while Florida and St. Louis won in six games.
Colorado enters the second round in the same role it did for the first round. The Avalanche are the Stanley Cup favorite. They have far lower odds than the Panthers, who are second on the list.
Colorado's title credentials will be put to the test by the Blues, but that will not be the marquee series in the Western Conference.
The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers face off in a Battle of Alberta. The winner of that series will be Canada's lone hope to end the country's Cup drought.
The Tampa Bay Lightning ended the Toronto Maple Leafs' chances of hoisting the Cup in the first round and will face the Panthers in the second round.
The two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions may not have the best odds to come out of the Eastern Conference, but they might be the best option between Florida, the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers.
Stanley Cup Odds
Colorado (+190; bet $100 to win $190)
Tampa Bay (+650)
New York Rangers (+1300)
St. Louis (+1700)
Will Colorado's Dominance Extend into the 2nd Round?
The Colorado Avalanche sat back and watched every other series unfold after they swept the Nashville Predators.
Colorado did not show any weaknesses throughout its four victories over one of the two wild-card teams in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche scored 21 goals, a total that was headlined by two seven-goal outputs in Games 1 and 3.
Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar were responsible for eight of those tallies, but there was plenty of other offensive help on hand. Four other skaters produced multiple goals for the Avs.
Colorado’s offense achieved a good level of success in three regular-season clashes with the St. Louis Blues.
The Avalanche posted 12 goals in those games. They won the last two, including one meeting on April 26 on home ice.
St. Louis is coming off three strong defensive performances against the Minnesota Wild. The Blues held the Wild to five goals over the last three games of the series that lasted six contests.
Two of the low concessions out of the Blues defense came on home ice. They held the Wild to two goals in Game 5, but they also allowed six goals in Game 2.
Colorado poses a much deeper challenge to the Blues defense, and it will be well rested by the time Game 1 takes place inside Ball Arena.
Colorado proved it was the Stanley Cup favorite in the first round, and if it powers past a better Blues defense, there will little no doubt in the Avs going into the Western Conference Final.
Battle of Alberta Will Be Best 2nd-Round Series
Calgary and Edmonton have the potential to deliver action-packed drama from the first puck drop to the last.
The pair of Alberta-based franchises have some of the most electric offensive stars in the game in Connor McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau, and each is coming off massive Game 7 performances.
Calgary and Edmonton combined for seven or more goals in three of their four regular-season meetings. The last clash resulted in a 9-5 victory by the Flames in March.
The Oilers offense shined throughout their first-round series over the Los Angeles Kings, with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as the catalysts.
Calgary is just happy to see someone other than Jake Oettinger in net. The Dallas Stars goalie had a .954 save percentage and turned away 272 shots in the first round.
The Flames broke through for the final time against Oettinger in overtime of Game 7. Their offense should be able to produce more tallies against a team that focuses less on defensive tactics than the Stars.
If the majority of their regular-season clashes are an indicator of things to come, Calgary and Edmonton will play in a high-scoring, exciting series that everyone has to stay up to watch.
Can Florida End Tampa Bay's Title Reign?
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the most valuable experience of any of the eight teams left in the postseason field.
The reigning Cup champion has found a way to not lose consecutive games for most of that two-year reign, going 17-0 in their last 17 games following playoff defeats.
Florida needs to produce a near-perfect series to become the team that finally ends Tampa Bay's attempt at a three-peat.
The Panthers have the regular-season pedigree to achieve that feat after winning the Presidents' Trophy.
Florida split the four-game season series with Tampa Bay. The last of the four clashes was an 8-4 defeat on April 24. That may be the most relevant game to breaking down the series. The other three clashes took place in 2021.
The Panthers scored the highest single-game tally in the regular-season series, but the nine-goal outburst came on Dec. 30 well before the playoff rosters were configured.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Co. have a one-day edge in rest over their Florida rival because they downed the Washington Capitals in six games. Tampa Bay needed the full seven games to get past the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That might be a small advantage in Game 1, as the Panthers try to get some type of edge on potentially the most dangerous team left in the Eastern Conference bracket.
Regardless of what the rest situation may be, we could see a higher scoring series with so much attacking talent on the ice.
Florida might be able to take advantage of Tampa Bay's defense. The Lightning were outscored by one goal in the first round by the Leafs. The two Florida teams combined to score 43 goals across their 13 games.
Carolina Looking to Keep Perfect Home Record Alive
The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins in the first round with four home victories.
The Canes outscored the Bruins 18-6 inside PNC Arena. The only one-goal game in those home games came in Game 7.
Carolina's home-ice advantage could play in its favor against the New York Rangers in the second round. Rod Brind'Amour's team also owns a 3-1 regular-season record over the Rangers. They won two games in April inside Madison Square Garden.
New York won in Raleigh, North Carolina, on March 20. It held the Canes scoreless in a two-goal contest, but it is more difficult to pull that type of performance off in four road games in the postseason compared to a single regular-season contest.
If the Rangers do pick off Game 1 or Game 2, they could shift the pressure on to the Canes and gain an advantage at home.
The young Rangers could also fall into the same trap as Boston did, and it might turn into Carolina's series to lose very early.
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