Stanley Cup Playoffs Takeaways: What We’ve Learned Through 16 Games of Round 2
The NHL playoffs are heating up, and after 16 games in Round 2, we have learned a lot. From thrilling come-from-behind victories to dominant performances, the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has not disappointed. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key takeaways from the first half of Round 2.
Heading: The Islanders are the Real Deal
After sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, the New York Islanders came into their series against the Boston Bruins as underdogs. However, they have proved once again why they are one of the best defensive teams in the league. Led by goaltender Semyon Varlamov, the Islanders have only allowed 11 goals through their first five games of the series. On the offensive side of things, the team has been getting contributions from everyone, including Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson, who each have three goals thus far. With a commanding 3-2 series lead over the Bruins, the Islanders are proving that they are a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.
Heading: The Lightning are Struggling to Find their Form
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup champions and came into Round 2 as heavy favorites against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, the Lightning have struggled to find their form so far in the series. While they won the first two games of the series, they were outscored 10-6 in those games and looked far from dominant. In Game 3, they were shut out by Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, and in Game 4, they blew a 4-2 lead in the third period and ended up losing 6-4. The Lightning still have plenty of talent on their roster, but they will need to improve their play if they want a chance at repeating as champions.
Heading: The Golden Knights are Rolling
The Vegas Golden Knights made a statement in Round 1 by sweeping the Minnesota Wild. They then continued their dominant play in Round 2 against the Colorado Avalanche. Led by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been exceptional thus far in the playoffs, the Golden Knights have only allowed eight goals through their first five games of the series. On the offensive side of things, the team has been getting contributions from everyone, including Max Pacioretty, who has four goals in the series. With a 3-2 series lead over the Avalanche, the Golden Knights will look to finish the job in Game 6 and advance to the conference finals.
Heading: The Canadiens are Tough to Beat at Home
The Montreal Canadiens entered their series against the Winnipeg Jets as underdogs, but they have been playing some of their best hockey at home. Through the first three games of the series, the Canadiens outscored the Jets 11-2, with two shutouts from goaltender Carey Price. While they lost Game 4 in Winnipeg, the Canadiens will look to bounce back in Game 5 back on home ice. If they can continue to dominate at home, they may have a chance to pull off the upset and advance to the next round.
Heading: The Hurricanes are a Team to Watch
The Carolina Hurricanes may have lost the first two games of their series against the Lightning, but they have not given up. They came back to win Game 3, and in Game 4, they put on a dominant performance to win 6-4 and tie the series at 2-2. Led by young stars like Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho, the Hurricanes are a team that can score goals in bunches. If they can continue to get contributions from their entire lineup, they could be a dangerous team to watch in the later rounds of the playoffs.
Heading: Predictions for the Rest of Round 2
With each series at the halfway point, it’s time to make some predictions for the rest of Round 2. In the Islanders-Bruins series, the Islanders have a 3-2 lead and will look to close out the series in Game 6. While the Bruins have the talent to force a Game 7, the Islanders’ defensive play and balanced scoring should be enough to advance to the next round.
In the Lightning-Hurricanes series, the Hurricanes have all the momentum after their Game 4 win. While the Lightning are still a talented team, they have not looked like the dominant team they were in last year’s playoffs. The Hurricanes should be able to take advantage of this and advance to the conference finals.
In the Golden Knights-Avalanche series, the Golden Knights have a 3-2 lead and will look to advance to the next round in Game 6. While the Avalanche are a talented team, the Golden Knights’ defense and goaltending have been outstanding. Unless the Avalanche can find a way to score more goals, the Golden Knights should be able to close out the series and move on.
In the Canadiens-Jets series, the Canadiens have a commanding 3-1 lead and will look to finish off the Jets in Game 5. While the Jets will have the home-ice advantage, the Canadiens have proven that they are a tough team to beat at home. Expect the Canadiens to advance to the next round and potentially pull off the upset.
The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been filled with surprises and excitement. From dominant performances to unexpected upsets, anything can happen in the playoffs. With the second half of Round 2 still to come, there is sure to be even more drama and excitement on the ice.