2019 NHL Playoffs Round 2 Games Preview
The first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs had it all. Shocking upsets, overtime thrillers, and rivals out for blood. Heading into the second, we should expect more fireworks, as it’s now a wide-open race to the Cup with all division winners now out of contention.
Nitrogen Sports Blog takes a look at each matchup in the second round and breaks them all down in this handy Stanley Cup Playoff preview.
New York Islanders vs Carolina Hurricanes
Both of these teams will be riding the momentum of their surprising first-round success.
The Hurricanes took down the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Washington Capitals and the Islanders swept theSidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the manner they pulverized the Pens could be considered as one of the most astonishing finishes in NHL Playoffs recent history.
The Islanders will be well rested for a team they already beat three times this season. They will also be well prepared with Stanley Cup champion head coach Barry Trotz at the helm.
The Islanders have been a tough defensive squad all year. They shut down future Hall of Famers in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their way to their first playoff series win in 36 years.
Boston Bruins vs Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets first-round victory against the regular season champs was giant shocker that will be talked about for a very long time.
It also served as a warning for their next opponents in the form of the Bruins Columbus beat the Tampa Bay Lightning convincingly and now have as good a shot as anyone in the Eastern Conference.
We also need to mention in this Stanley Cup preview the existence of John Tortorella on the Blue Jackets’ bench. He is known for taking overachieving teams on deep playoff runs.
This Blue Jackets team could be his latest example. But the Bruins are built for a series like this. The Bruins’ star players don’t mind mucking it up. In fact, Brad Marchand thrives on it. The Bruins boast the skill and toughness to beat any team remaining in the NHL Playoffs.
San Jose Sharks vs Colorado Avalanche
The Sharks wouldn’t have been the team we’re discussing in this Stanley Cup Playoff preview, but hey, the pulled off a miracle in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights, thanks to an amazing five-minute performance. New York native, Kevin LaBanc put up a goal and 3 assists to tie it up on a 5 minute power play in the third period.
The Sharks went on to win in double overtime and they’ll look to carry that momentum into round two. The Avs, on the other hand, made much easier work of their first-round opponent. They took out the top seeded Calgary Flames, and it only took them five games to do it. Although the Sharks swept the regular season series, Colorado is clicking at the right time could pose a threat to the veteran-laden Sharks.
St Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars
The Stars took three out of four from the Blues during the regular season. But eliminating the Blues will be a tough task for any team in 2019 because they are so good away from their home ice.
The Blues were one of the best road teams in hockey this year and went 3-0 against the Jets in Winnipeg at the loudest building in the league. Jaden Schwartz came alive to help the Blues close out round one. St. Louis will need his hot streak to continue to beat the Vezina Trophy contender Ben Bishop.
The series could be a low-scoring affair. Both teams have top notch goaltending. Jordan Binnington burst on the scene this year for the Blues forcing Jake Allen into a backup role. He posted the lowest goals against average in the NHL among qualified goalies. And Bishop is coming off a league-leading .934 save percentage and a premium performance in the first round against the Predators.
Dallas’s top forwards Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alex Radulov will pace the Stars’s attack. But look for deadline acquisition, Mats Zuccarello to make clutch contributions for the club.
The 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is far from its conclusion, but we’ve already seen a ton of spoilers with the insane success the underdogs have made in the first round.
Don’t miss out on the latest on the Stanley Cup Playoffs by regularly checking out Nitrogen Sports Blog for more about hockey, sports betting guide and promos. Speaking of which, you can still throw in your entries for our NBA x NHL Nitro Prop promo.