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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round Two Preview



Courtesy @FlaPanthers

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers

Game 1: Tuesday 7PM ESPN

The Panthers pulled off the biggest upset in NHL playoff history in round one. After barely sneaking into the postseason as the second wild card team, the Cats defeated the Boston Bruins who were coming off of the greatest regular season in NHL history. The Panthers will look to ride the momentum of a huge game seven victory as they move on to round two where they will face the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in a hard fought, six game series to make it to the second round for the first time since 2004. Toronto dropped game one before winning four out of the next five with three out of the six games going to overtime. The Leafs will have home ice advantage for their round two matchup with the Panthers. Toronto won three of the four regular season meetings led by Auston Matthews who had five goals in those four games. The Panthers will have to slow Matthews down and continue to rely on Tkachuk and Montour to keep their improbable run alive.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New Jersey Devils

Game 1: Wednesday 7PM ESPN

The Carolina Hurricanes will have home ice advantage in their seven-game series against the New Jersey Devils. Carolina closed out the Islanders with an overtime win in game six to move on to the second round. The Devils defeated the Rangers in one of the most entertaining first round series. After dropping the first two games at home, the Devils went on the road and won both games to even the series through game four. The teams traded wins in game five and game six before the Devils finished off the Rangers with a dominant 4-0 win in game seven. The Devils and Hurricanes faced off five times this season with New Jersey taking home the win in three of those five games. The Devils will have to focus on staying out of the penalty box and at even strength. Over the last 10 games, the Devils have averaged five more penalty minutes per game than the Hurricanes. This is a series between two teams that are very evenly matched and has the potential to go seven games. 

Seattle Kraken vs Dallas Stars

Game 1: Tuesday 9:30PM ESPN

The Dallas Stars will host the Seattle Kraken in game one after defeating the Minnesota Wild in six games. The Stars were down 2-1 after game three before pulling off three straight wins to end the series. Dallas outscored the Wild 11-3 over the last three games of the series and will hope to keep things rolling as the Kraken come to town. The Kraken are making an impressive run in only their second year as an NHL franchise. Seattle defeated the Colorado Avalanche in a back and forth seven game series to advance to round two. The Kraken are an extremely deep team and tied an NHL record with 15 different players scoring a goal in their first round series against the Avalanche. Dallas will be looking to slow down the Kraken offense with the help of their red-hot goaltender, Jake Oettinger. Oettinger stopped 82 of the 85 shots he faced in his last three appearances against the Wild.

Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights

Game 1: Wednesday 9:30PM ESPN

The Vegas Golden Knights will face off against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night after eliminating the Winnipeg Jets. After dropping game one to the Jets, the Knights won four straight games to close out the series in game five. The Oilers also got off to a slow start before finishing the series strong. The Kings took a 2-1 series lead before the Oilers went on a three-game win streak to end the series in game six. The Oilers and the Knights were the two best teams in the Pacific Division, and many have been looking forward to this playoff matchup. The Oilers have the edge offensively, but the Golden Knights are very good defensively. The Oilers had the best power play in the NHL during the regular season and that continued into the first round of the playoffs. Edmonton converted on nine of their sixteen power play opportunities in the first round. This series is the most evenly matched of the four second round matchups and should be an exciting matchup of strengths.



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