It’s hard to predict which series will be the best, but the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be everything the NHL could have hoped for and more.
The NHL playoffs have already brought some great moments and with the second round set to get underway, it will only get better.
The first round saw a Game Seven, two sweeps, and dominance from some of the best teams and players in the league. You might be asking yourself why will the second round so great? The answer is simple, anything can happen.
Matchups like the Nashville Predators against the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins against Washington Capitals have the potential to be great series. Winnipeg is coming off its first playoff series win since moving back to Winnipeg, while the Capitals are looking to finally make it past the second round. While there is history involved in these matchups, it helps that all four of these teams are fun to watch.
Winnipeg took care of the Minnesota Wild in five games thanks to their outstanding young talent. The likes of Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Connor Hellebuyck dominated the struggling Wild. Laine had four points in five games while Ehlers just recorded two. But Winnipeg has the depth to make up for that with Bryan Little, Mark Scheifele, and Paul Statsny.
For Nashville, they are coming off a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017. They won the President’s Trophy during the 2017-18 regular season and set a franchise record with points in 15 straight games. Pekka Rinne recorded his third 40 win season and might be considered the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy. The first round matchup against Colorado was not as easy as some thought it would it be, but Nashville came out on top in six games in impressive fashion.
A series that has the potential to be one of the better ones is the Vegas Golden Knights against the San Jose Sharks. San Jose is coming off complete domination over the Anaheim Ducks where they outscored the Ducks 16-4 in the sweep. Vegas enters the series as one of the better defensive teams in hockey, allowing just three goals in their sweep of the Kings. One of these trends has to end, making for what should be a great series.
In the Eastern Conference, we have yet again the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins facing off. Both teams took care of their first-round matchups in six games and will meet for the third consecutive year. Washington will look to prevent Pittsburgh from three-peating, while Pittsburgh tries to eliminate Washington for the third straight year. Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby had great first rounds. Crosby scored 13 points while Ovechkin had eight setting up what should be yet another great matchup.
The final series in the East is a battle between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. Tampa took care of the New Jersey Devils pretty easily in the first round going just five games. Boston had to win Game Seven against Toronto in a thrilling series. Ironically both teams made deals for key players from the New York Rangers. The likes of Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, and Rick Nash will go to battle trying to advance to the Conference Finals against each other.
Gary Bettman and the NHL could not ask for a better second round than the one they have now. These games will have some of the best talent the game has to offer and it should translate onto the ice as great hockey.
Don’t be surprised if history is made this round because the potential is there for this to be the greatest second round of all time.