The second round of the NHL playoffs has begun, with 2 of the 4 series already having Game 1 in the books. We will have a second set of games going tonight, after which we jump ahead to Thursday and the start of Game 2. The winners of these series will head to the Conference Finals, with the Stanley Cup Final coming after that. To say that the stakes have been raised is putting things rather mildly, as the 8 remaining teams don’t really have time to dwell on or celebrate their Round 1 wins. For the teams that lose the opening games of these series, the pressure is very much on, as crawling out of an 0-2 hole has proven to be extremely tough, especially at this stage of the proceedings, when the remaining teams are all very good. Let’s now jump ahead to the 2 Thursday games to talk about how things might play out so you can bet against NHL Playoffs Odds.
Playoffs Second Round Games to Bet On May 19| NHL Betting Picks
Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers – Game 2
The goal of every team in the regular season is to make the playoffs and secure home ice advantage for as many rounds as possible. The Florida Panthers delivered the goods and used it to their advantage in Round 1, taking out the Washington Capitals in 6. Going into the playoffs as a Wild Card means that the 2-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning needed to develop a road warrior attitude to make another deep run. They have done just that and are sure to still be delighted after winning 4-1 on the road in Florida in Game 1.
This is a similar path for the Lightning, who also stole home ice advantage from the Maple Leafs in Round 1 after getting a split in the first 2 games in Toronto. It is also familiar ground for the Panthers, who lost the opening game of the series against the Washington Capitals on home ice. I think the Panthers follow their Round 1 pattern by tying things up on Thursday night.
St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche – Game 2
After blowing past the Nashville Predators in a Round 1 sweep, there were many who believed that the Colorado Avalanche looked like a bit of an unstoppable force. As we mentioned in previewing this series, though, the games between the Blues and the Avalanche in the regular season were all close, so we warned that a blowout may not be on the cards here. The Blues proved that point by taking Colorado to OT in Game 1, only to eventually lose 3-2.
This might actually serve as a bit of a wake-up call for the Avs to let them know that they are in a fight after an easy out in the opening round. The Blues had to play from behind in Round 1 after going down 1-2 to the Minnesota Wild before reeling off 3 straight wins to take the series in 6. Given what the Avalanche did in the opening round, you have to say that the Blues need this one if they are to stall the momentum that is very much building with this Colorado team.