The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing! With 3 epic playoff games on the agenda today, we have spent the day researching each fixture in depth to bring you the very best predictions. Have a read below for all our NHL picks.
Boston Bruins @ Washington Capitals (Game 2) – 7.30 PM EDT
The Bruins and the Caps run it up again for game 2 of their playoff series, and after the injury affected Caps stunned the Boston side in overtime in the first, the Bruins will be kicking themselves at a missed opportunity.
Tom Wilson opened the scoring for the Caps early in the first term, and the Bruins replied not long after with a goal of their own, the same thing happened in the second term, with Brendan Dillon reclaiming the Caps’ lead before Nick Ritchie cancelled it out with the man advantage.
After a goalless final period the match went to overtime at 2-2, and nearly 5 minutes into the added time, Tom Wilson and T.J Oshie picked up their second point of the game, teeing up Nic Dowd with the game winning goal.
It was a disappointing result for the Bruins considering they were playing a Capitals side which were without the services of Evgeny Kuznetsov, and were forced to play the majority of their game with Craig Anderson in net following an injury to Vitek Vanechek early in the game.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 16, 2021
Given how few games he has played in net for the Caps this season, Anderson’s performance was very solid, allowing just 1 powerplay goal from 21 shots from the Bruins.
With their starting 2 goalies out, it once again looks like we will be seeing Anderson for the Caps, and given his lack of first team minutes this season we find it hard to back the Capitals for another win today.
Nashville Predators @ Carolina Hurricanes (Game 1) – 8.00 PM EDT
Following their 2 game series in Nashville to close out the regular season, the Predators and the Hurricanes pick it up where they left off for round 1 of the playoffs, with the opening 2 games set to be played in Carolina.
When the two met on the closing days of the season it was a one sided affair, with the Preds winning 3-1 in the first, and 5-0 in the second for their only wins over the Carolina side from 8 games throughout the year.
While the back to back wins were impressive, the results of the game were meaningless, and as such the Hurricanes fielded a reserved side with their sights firmly set on the playoffs.
The Canes have been one of the most dominant sides in the NHL when playing at home this season, and led by Sebastian Aho up front, they are one of the most offensively threatening teams out there. Aho has been particularly solid against the Predators this season, scoring 8 points from his first 6 games against the Nashville side.
Much of the Predators success has come down to one man, it is hard to say that they would have made the playoffs if not for an incredibly solid season from Juuse Saros, especially in the latter half of the campaign.
It is imperative that Saros stays fit throughout the playoffs, as the Predators really fail to outshine the Canes in any other department, if he is at his best then they might just have a chance.
St Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche (Game 1) – 10.00 PM EDT
With 3 straight wins to close out the regular season the Blues are coming into this playoff series with some good momentum under their belt, and up against the best team in the NHL, the Avalanche, they will need it.
After their 4-0 shutout win over the Wild on the second last game of the season, the Blues backed up their performance with a 7-3 win on the final day, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to claim their 6th win from 8 games against the Minnesota team.
Following a standout performance in the first game which saw him claim a goal and 2 assists, David Perron backed up his performance in the second with another 3 point haul, this time scoring twice and assisting another.
Jordan Kyrou and Braden Schenn also notched 2 goals in the comeback victory, while Mike Hoffman bagged a hat trick of assists.
— x – St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 16, 2021
The Blues weren’t the only side to finish the season strong, with the Avs crossing the finish line having won 5 consecutive games, the second longest active streak in the division, and after scoring 11 goals over their final 2 games, the Avs finished the regular season with the most goals scored in the NHL (197), beating out the Penguins by a goal.
In the absence of Nathan MacKinnon for 4 of their final 5 games, Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky delivered the bulk of the Avs’ points, providing 7 and 8 points over the last 5 games respectively.
The Avalanche now welcome back their star man just in time for the playoffs, and considering they are the NHL’s best performing home side, we predict they will claim the first 2 games of this series with relative comfort.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel