Here’s where the remaining 6 NHL teams stand as we draw near the end of the Second Round of the Playoffs for the 2020-21 NHL season:
The Lightning claim the top seed this week as they became the second team to qualify for the Semifinals following their 4-1 series victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The swift progression was a surprise given how strong the Canes were this season, but also the deserved result considering the form the Lightning have hit since the return of Nikita Kucherov.
“We didn’t want to come back to Tampa and play another game. We wanted to close them down and we did.” #CARvsTBL
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 9, 2021
Kucherov added another assist to his tally in the most recent win over the Canes, bringing his total to 18 points from 11 games as he chases another playoff MVP performance. Steven Stamkos isn’t far behind with 13 points, while the aptly named Brayden Point leads the NHL for postseason goals with 8, tied with Nathan MacKinnon.
NHL Championship Odds: +175
Second Round Series: 4-1 def Carolina Hurricanes
Postseason Seed: 3rd (Central)
Previous Ranking: 2
The Golden Knights make a big northward move up the rankings this week, at one point down 2 games to 0 against the Avalanche it looked like the Vegas sides’ playoff dreams were in trouble, however, 2 home wins followed by a huge win on the road has seen them flip the script on the Division Champions.
Mark Stone started the postseason strong, but his form fell off toward the end of Round 1 and the start of Round 2, but with 3 points in his last 3 games Stone is back making the impact that is required of him if the Knights are going to close this series out.
The Islanders maintain third place this week, they had a big job to do in Boston for Game 5 but they pulled it off despite taking half the shots of the Bruins, earning them the chance to play for the series on their home soil today.
Time to reach a different level of noise tonight. pic.twitter.com/ZeXbu1k63U
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 9, 2021
After a 4th place finish in the East and a lacklustre string of performances to cross the finish line, you would be right to not have expected too much from the Islanders this postseason, but they have continued to impress, looking better and better as the playoffs progress.
NHL Championship Odds: +900
Second Round Series: 3-2 vs Boston Bruins
Postseason Seed: 4th (East)
Previous Ranking: 3
The Canadiens have been the biggest surprise package of the 2020/21 playoffs, after a fourth place finish in the North Division their days looked numbered, up against the Maple Leafs they clawed back from a 3-1 series deficit to win 4-3.
They went from out the frying pan into the furnace, having to face the well rested Winnipeg Jets with only a 1 day break themselves, but once again they surprised, clean sweeping the Jets, who on their own merit were coming off a 4 game sweep to the Oilers… Hockey is a strange game at times.
With their spot in the Semifinals booked, the Canadiens have already secured their best postseason finish since their Conference Final appearance against the Rangers back in 2013, as they now anxiously await to find out if they are up against the Avs or the Knights.
The Avalanche have plummeted down the ranks from last week’s prime position, comfortably sitting 2-0 up against the Knights they went on to lose the next 3 straight, including a most recent home defeat which piles the pressure on the Colorado side ahead of game 6.
— p – Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 9, 2021
At +430 to lift the cup the Avs are still the bookies third favourite, and given the quality of their roster it is not surprising, if they can pull off the win in Vegas they are looking good again, but there is a lot of work to be done in this crucial fixture.
NHL Championship Odds: +430
Second Round Series: 2-3 vs Vegas Golden Knights
Postseason Seed: 1st (West)
Previous Ranking: 1
The Bruins have to take the bottom spot this week, with their Round 2 series locked up at 2-2 it was hard not to like the Bruins to get the win on home soil, but despite throwing the kitchen sink at the Islanders they were unable to get the job done, thanks in no small part to an uncharacteristically nightmare performance from Tuukka Rask.
They are now in the unfavourable position of heading to New York for Game 6 to play at the notoriously difficult Nassau Coliseum, in front of the incredibly vocal Islanders’ fans, who will be cheering even harder given the magnitude of the game, a tough day at the office for Bruce Cassidy’s men.
The 2021 NHL postseason is well underway now! If you want to catch up with all the latest information, make sure you visit our NHL hub page.
*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.