(3) Boston Bruins vs (4) New York Islanders
Season Series: 5-3 Islanders
Two of the biggest underdogs teams go head to head in the second round. The Bruins and Islanders both made big moves at the 2021 trade deadline, the Bruins acquiring Taylor Hall and Mike Rielly while the Islanders acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. With their new acquisitions, the Bruins and Islanders were able to upset their first round matchups. Now these teams will be facing off in a physical matchup. The Bruins have an explosive offense, and it was apparent in Round 1 versus the Washington Capitals. But the Islanders will try to stop the Bruins with their strong defense and goaltending.
Prediction: Bruins in 6
(1) Carolina Hurricanes vs (3) Tampa Bay Lightning
Season Series: 4-4 Tied
The Lightning are the reigning Stanley Cup champions and are looking to go back to back, but they have a tough road to repeat, having to face the Central Division-winning Carolina Hurricanes. The season series is dead even at 4-4 and these teams are very similar in skill/talent. The Lightning have the slight advantage in offense, while the Hurricanes have an advantage on defense. The real difference is in net, with the Lightning having one of the best goalies in the league in Andrei Vasilevskiy while the Hurricanes have a tandem of Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedeljkovic. If Vasilevskiy can maintain his high level of play, the Lightning will be able to defeat the Hurricanes.
Prediction: Lightning in 7
(3) Winnipeg Jets vs (4) Montreal Canadiens
Season Series: 6-3 Jets
To almost everyone’s surprise, the Canadiens and Jets will face off in the second round to see who the true king of the North is. The Canadiens and Jets shockingly upset their first round matchups, the Canadiens coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Maple Leafs while the Jets swept Connor McDavid and the Oilers. Now these two underdog teams go head to head in an interesting series. Both teams have amazing goalies in Connor Hellebuyck and Carey Price that will be extremely difficult to get by. However, the Jets have a huge advantage in offense which is why they should be able to defeat the Canadiens.
Prediction: Jets in 5
(1) Colorado Avalanche vs (2) Vegas Golden Knights
Season Series: 4-4 Tied
Goaltending: Golden Knights
It’s a battle between the best of the west as the Avalanche and Golden Knights finally meet in the playoffs. The Avalanche and Golden Knights are the two best teams in the league, finishing first and second in the NHL standings this season respectively. The Avalanche have an explosive offense and defense that is almost unstoppable, especially in the playoffs. However, the Golden Knights have a huge advantage in net with the amazing tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. The Golden Knights may be able to slow the Avalanche offense, but it won’t be enough. The Avalanche will find a way to narrowly beat the Golden Knights.
Prediction: Avalanche in 7