Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second Round Full of Intrigue

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

May 3rd, 2019

The wildness that marked the first round of the NHL playoffs has calmed a little in the second, but it has been very tight, with only one series not square after four games.

There is a very real prospect that the Eastern Conference Finals will be between the teams that had the seventh- and eighth-best regular season records in the conference. The eighth-placed Carolina Hurricanes have a 3-0 advantage over the New York Islanders, while the seventh-placed Columbus Blue Jackets are even with the Boston Bruins after four games.

The Islanders had the best defense in the NHL during the regular season, but the Hurricanes have been equally stingy in this series. The Hurricanes conceded a goal just once in the first two games, before they broke a 2-2 tie in Game 3 with three goals in the third period to win 5-2.

It’s unlikely the Islanders will come back from here, but if you think they will, you can get odds of +1100 for them to win the series. Perhaps the best value is +500 for a 4-2 margin for Carolina, which would happen if they clinch with a Game 6 victory at home.

The Columbus-Boston series has been epic. If the teams’ first-round victories were about offense (the Blue Jackets scored 19 goals in four games, the Bruins 23 in seven), then this series has been about tenacity. Both games in Boston went to overtime, with split results, before the Blue Jackets took Game 3 2-1. The Bruins’ 4-1 Game 4 victory gives them some momentum, but it’s a tight series, and the best value is perhaps Columbus at +100 to win the series.

Things are also close between the Dallas Stars and the St Louis Blues in the Western Conference, with the teams 2-2 heading into tonight’s fifth game. Neither team has stood out, and the best bet may be for the Blues, with home-ice advantage to win the series 4-3 at odds of +210.

The winner of that series will take on either the San Jose Sharks or the Colorado Avalanche in the conference finals. After coming back from 3-1 down to beat Vegas in the first round, San Jose took a 2-1 lead after three games, but the Avalanche blanked the Sharks in Game 4. Colorado has continued to play well, but the Sharks look reasonable value at -135 to win the series.