Here’s where the remaining 4 NHL teams stand at the start of the Semi Finals of the Playoffs for the 2020-21 NHL season:
NHL Championship Odds: +105
Second Round Series: 4-2 def Colorado Avalanche
Postseason Seed: 2nd (West)
Previous Ranking: 4
The Golden Knights move all the way up to the top spot this week, the result of their epic 4 game comeback against the Avalanche in Round 2, as well as their convincing 4-1 victory in Game 1 of their Semi-Final series against the Montreal Canadiens.
It was the dream start for the Knights, who, from their small sample size, have historically struggled against the Habs, but as they know from their Round 2 series, and in the words of Mark Stone, it is never over until you lose at home.
💻 DeBoer on Karlsson: He’s not doing anything different from what he’s done every day here. That’s the beauty of him. pic.twitter.com/2AQoykLhQh
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 15, 2021
The points have been shared around the Vegas side, with 7 players racking up 8 points, Reilly Smith with 9, and William Karlsson leading the team with an impressive 12 points from defense on top of a +/- rating of +9, which is bettered by only 3 players this postseason.
NHL Championship Odds: +175
Second Round Series: 4-1 def Carolina Hurricanes
Postseason Seed: 3rd (Central)
Previous Ranking: 2
The Lightning bounced back with an emphatic 4-2 win over the Islanders to make up for their narrow defeat in Game 1, and as such they retain second place as the favourites to take down the Stanley Cup with 2 tough games in New York on the agenda.
It was a crucial win for the Tampa side, headlined by all too familiar solid performances from Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov with 2 and 3 points respectively, as well as yet another goal from Brayden Point, who leads the postseason for goals with 10.
NHL Championship Odds: +470
Second Round Series: 4-2 def Boston Bruins
Postseason Seed: 4th (East)
Previous Ranking: 3
The Islanders maintain the third seed this week, but they are sitting in a very good position with 2 home games to play against the Lightning. Their 2-1 victory in game 1 came as quite a surprise considering how strong the Tampa side had played at home, but a solid performance from Semyon Varlamov in net ensured they took the series lead.
Unfortunately, Varlamov was unable to replicate his performance in game 2, allowing 4 goals from 27 attempts before getting dragged in favour of Ilya Sorokin, who saved all 6 shots that came his way as the Islanders lost 4-2.
Game 3 on Thursday at the Coli. pic.twitter.com/ausf7d1tfH
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 16, 2021
Jean-Gabriel Pageau still leads the team for points with 13, and the Canadien is sporting a healthy +/- rating of +11, which is bested by only one player in the postseason, teammate Scott Mayfield, who boasts a rating of +13.
NHL Championship Odds: +1800
Second Round Series: 4-0 def Winnipeg Jets
Postseason Seed: 4th (North)
Previous Ranking: 6
Given the quality of the competition around them, the Canadiens unsurprisingly take the bottom place this week. They have done an amazing job to progress this far into the playoffs considering the shape they were in at the end of the regular season, and the fact that they were on the verge of a Round 1 exit to the Maple Leafs.
A 4-1 defeat in game 1 against the Golden Knights is far from ideal, but they kept the match very even statistically, and are still yet to play their home games. After what we have seen from the Habs so far you can never rule them out, and we are expecting them to test the Knights harder than their opening game would suggest.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.