SportsTips’ NHL Power Rankings 2021: Playoffs – Semi Finals

SportsTips’ NHL Power Rankings 2021: Playoffs – Semi Finals
Tue 22nd June 2021

Here’s where the remaining 4 NHL teams stand toward the end of the Semi Finals of the Playoffs for the 2020-21 NHL season:

1.Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Championship Odds: +120
Semi Final Series: 3-2 vs New York Islanders
Postseason Seed: 3rd (Central)
Previous Ranking: 2

The Lightning make the jump up to first place this week and the bookies agree, valuing the side as the +120 favourites to lift the Stanley Cup.

Standing in their way of making the final is the Islanders, who up until yesterday they had been neck and neck with during their semifinal series, but following the 8-0 dismantling the Lightning put on the New York side yesterday this series is no longer looking as even.

It was the biggest scoreline of the postseason, made all the more sweeter as it was also the third shutout of the postseason for the Lightning, with all three of Alex Kilorn, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov picking up triple points in the blowout victory.

They now travel back to New York for the chance to put the series to bed, and while their games on the road have been more hardfought, if the Lightning aren’t able to see things out in Game 6 you have to like their chances back in Tampa. 

2.Vegas Golden Knights

NHL Championship Odds: +145
Semi Final Series: 2-2 vs Montreal Canadiens
Postseason Seed: 2nd (West)
Previous Ranking: 1

The Knights slip down to second place this week. The Vegas side made the trip to Montreal with the series locked up at 1 game a piece, and after going down 3-2 in the first away fixture the pressure was on the Knights to bounce back. Fortunately, they did just that, returning serve with an overtime win of their own on Sunday which once again sees the series tied up.

Nicolas Roy was the hero in Game 4 with his overtime game winner, as was Robin Lehner, who saved 27 of 28 attempts in his first playoff start since he was painfully on the receiving end of a 7-1 spanking by the Avalanche in Round 2.

The Knights reclaim the hosting duties for Game 5. They will be looking to capitalize on this chance and set up a series winning opportunity for themselves in Game 6.

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3.Montreal Canadiens

NHL Championship Odds: +850
Second Round Series: 2-2 vs Vegas Golden Knights
Postseason Seed: 4th (North)
Previous Ranking: 4

The Canadiens earn a jump up to third seed for their strong showings against the Knights in Games’ 2 and 3. After going down to the Vegas powerhouse convincingly in the series opener the Habs bounced back with back to back 3-2 wins to briefly claim the lead on the head to head.

The Montreal side are a real surprise package in this postseason, and that has been no exception for this Semi-Final series. They are averaging 2 goals per game while conceding 2.5 to the Knights, but so far the Habs have maintained a flawless penalty killing record, which could pay dividends given the extremely tight nature of this series.

4.New York Islanders

NHL Championship Odds: +750
Second Round Series: 2-3 vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Postseason Seed: 4th (East)
Previous Ranking: 3

The Islanders round out the power rankings as we near the climax of the Semi Finals. Down from third place last week, the Islanders had been keeping pace with the reigning champions, losing their first game in New York before rebounding with a 3-2 win in the second.

However, the pace and intensity of the series seemed to have gotten to Barry Trotz’s men in Game 5 as the Islanders were decimated by a hungry Lightning outfit, losing 8-0 for their first shutout defeat of the postseason.

It was an uncharacteristically poor defensive showing from the usually tight Islanders, and there wasn’t much happening at the other end either, with just 21 shots attempted for the game.

They get a chance to redeem themselves in Game 6 back in front of their vocal fans, but a win there will see them heading back to Tampa for the decider, where they will need to be at their best.

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

Connor is a passionate writer and sporting fanatic, with a focus on all things soccer, NBA, and NHL. Happy to chew your ear off about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur, or talk odds on the latest ball game. Connor always delivers the latest in breaking news, matchday analysis and predictions.