We have loved the action throughout this impressive NHL season and now it’s the time everyone has been waiting for – playoffs time! It is sure to be a cracking playoffs this season with many high quality teams looking to stop the Tampa Bay Lightning from winning the Stanley Cup for a third time in a row. But before we get to the Stanley Cup final, teams must make it through the first round.
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Look below to find our free NHL picks for the four Round 1 games on today’s schedule!
Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7.00PM ET
The first game of the day will see the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes face off in the pivotal Game 5 of the series. This series is hanging in the balance at the moment, as both teams have won two games each, in fact it has been the home team in the first four games that has come out victorious.
The Bruins showed their “Boston Strong” mentality and managed to tie the series at 2-2 against the Hurricanes. Carolina dominated the first two games at home scoring 10 goals in those contests and many predicted that they would sweep the Bruins, but that was not the case. Carolina is the best defensive team in the league and the Bruins didn’t care about that, winning by 4-2 and 5-2 in both games at TD Garden. Now the series moves back to Carolina where the Hurricanes are the favorites but the Bruins definitely have the momentum.
Carolina had won the five previous games against the Bruins before the series moved to Boston. They are in general the better team as they allow 28 shots per game compared to the Bruins 36.1. The Hurricanes are basically better in every statistical category compared to the Bruins and another factor that goes in their favor are the injuries. The Bruins already have three players out for the season and defensive man Hampus Lindholm is questionable for Game 5 with a concussion.
Marko’s NHL Pick: Carolina Hurricanes (-146)
The Boston Bruins are coming into this one with a great chance to win this series still. They come into this game with the series tied 2-2. As long as Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron can remain healthy they are still a dark horse team to bring home the Stanley Cup trophy. They are facing off with the team that is the favorite in the Eastern Conference in my opinion. They have won back to back games in the last two games of the series.
The Carolina Hurricanes were one of the best teams in the National Hockey League throughout the regular season. They finished the regular season with a record of 54-20-8 and now they are sitting here in the first round with their series tied at two games a piece. They will be looking to take a 3-2 lead at home here in Game 5. As for the result of this one. I am going with the Carolina Hurricanes to get the victory over the Boston Bruins.
Tony’s NHL Pick: Carolina Hurricanes (-146)
The Boston Bruins were able to take care of business at home and even the series up at two a piece. Those wins were also significant because they were the first against the Carolina Hurricanes all season, who had previously dominated them. Now, the Bruins have the confidence of knowing they can compete with the Canes and have shifted this series into essentially a best of 3. Both teams have used multiple goalies in this series, but for different reasons. The Canes were forced to due to injuries, while Boston switched things up after falling down 0-2.
They went with rookie Jeremy Swayman and he brought two victories home in Boston but will now face a stiff test in a hostile environment on the road. This has been a weird series in terms of trends, as the over has hit in every game this series and in fact has hit the last five meetings between these two teams. Also the home team has won every game in dominant fashion, so it’s true that home-ice advantage is a thing between these teams. I’m going back to the well and riding the Canes to have yet another blowout win at home in Game 5 to take the series to 3-2.
Jeffery’s NHL Pick: Carolina Hurricanes -1.5 (+184)
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 7.30PM ET
It has been a topsy-turvy series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, as they have been alternating wins and losses in the first four games. Last time out the Lightning got the win, 7-3, to level the series at two games a piece.
The Tampa Bay Lightning stayed alive in the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a huge 7-3 home win that tied the series score at 2-2. The Lightning are still hoping to have a chance to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup and a lot will depend on the upcoming Game 5 that will be played in Toronto. The Maple Leafs are an excellent home team with a 32-9-2 record and with the best scorer of the season Auston Matthews, they are favorites in Game 5. The Maple Leafs are the second-best scoring team in the league with 3.8 goals per game.
The Maple Leafs have won 5 of the last 7 home games and 21 of the last 27 home games. Toronto has played over the total goals margin in 4 of the last 5 games. The Lightning have won 7 of the last 10 games and 5 of the last 7 road games and have played over the total goals margin in 16 of the last 21 games. Four of the last five games between Toronto and Tampa Bay has gone over the total goals margin.
Marko’s NHL Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs (-130)
The Tampa Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs are having a very competitive first round series in this one. As they are tied at two games a piece heading into Game 5 in Toronto. They will likely end up going to the full seven games in this one as it will end up being the best series of the first round during this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Both of these teams were nearly inseparable in the standings throughout the regular season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a huge opportunity to end the Tampa Bay Lightning’s two year reign on the top of the National Hockey League. They didn’t look good in Game 4 however and now they will have to bounce back in Game 5 of the series. As for the result of this game, I am going with the Toronto Maple Leafs to get the win in this one over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tony’s NHL Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs (-130)
The Toronto Maple Leafs had a no-show in Game 4 when they had an opportunity to put their foot on the throats of the defending champs. Instead, they were beaten 3-7 and now the series is even at 2-2 heading back to Toronto for Game 5. Jack Campbell struggled mightily for the Leafs, allowing the first shot he saw to be scored and by the time the game was eight minutes old, the score was 3-0. It was the second time Campbell allowed at least 5 goals to the Bolts this season and now with the series reaching the business end, no more performances like that can be tolerated. The Auston Matthews search is also on for Toronto, as he still has not scored since Game 1.
A big game from him will be needed soon and I’m sure fans are feeling that if he played up to his superstar standards, the series could already be over. The Leafs have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs each of the past 5 seasons and I’m starting to get the sense that this year will be more of the same. They have had multiple opportunities to put the series out of reach but Tampa Bay is just proving to be the better and more experienced team. With the Lightning opening at +$ here, that’s a great value bet as they’ve gone 8-5 straight up in their last 13 road playoff games. I can’t pass up plus money on the champs, so give me the Lightning in Game 5.
Jeffery’s NHL Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (+108)
St. Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild – 9.30PM ET
It’s another series that is all locked up at 2-2, and we will see the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild face off in the all important Game 5. All games so far in this series have been pretty one sided affairs, with the margin being at least three goals in all four games so far.
The Minnesota Wild finished second in the Western Conference but their recent scores against the St. Louis Blues were not very promising for them. Still, the Wild won two of the first 4 games and now the series is moving back to Minnesota where they are the favorites to win. The Blues certainly have their chance to win on the road just like they did in the opening game of the series when they won 4-0. Each of the previous 4 games in the series was won by at least three goals by the winning team.
Minnesota has won 7 of the last 10 games overall and 8 of their last 10 home games. St. Louis has won 14 of their last 19 games and 10 of the last 13 games on the road. Five of the last 6 games between these two teams played in St. Louis has gone over the total goals margin. The Blues have won 8 of the last 11 games following a loss of 3 or more goals and 6 of the last 8 at home.
Marko’s NHL Pick: St. Louis Blues (+120)
The St. Louis Blues won Game 4 and now it’s tied up at two games a piece. This has been an entertaining back and fourth series throughout the first four games. The Blues finished the regular season with a record of 49-21-11. They have been one of the most consistent teams throughout the regular season at this point and if they keep playing the way they have then there is a real chance they could find themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Minnesota Wild are coming into this game with a chance to take a 3-1 over the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the series. It has been back and forth on the scoreboard and on the ice throughout the first four games of the series as well. Minnesota finished the regular season 53-22-7. As for the result of this one, I am taking the Minnesota Wild to get the win in Game 5 of this series.
Tony’s NHL Pick: Minnesota Wild (-142)
The St. Louis Blues won Game 4 at home by a score of 5-2 and tied the series up at two a piece. It’s been a weird series so far as no home team has won consecutive games, and every game has been decided by three or more goals. St. Louis turned back to 2019 Stanley Cup Champion Jordan Binnington in Game 4 and he had a surprisingly solid game. Entering that contest, he had gone 0-9 with an .875 save percentage in his last two postseasons.
It’s going to be a tough act to follow now, with the series shifting back to Minnesota where the Wild are 15-3 in their last 18 home games. In five of the last six meetings between the Wild and Blues in Minnesota, the over has cashed. In fact these two teams have combined for at least seven goals in six of their last eight meetings so I think instead of forcing a pick in this unpredictable series, I’m going to just go right back to the over.
Jeffery’s NHL Pick: Over 6.5 (-104)
Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers – 10.00PM ET
The final game in the NHL for Tuesday will see Game 5 between the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers. Once again the series is all leveled up at 2-2, and other than the first game, each game has been won by a considerable margin, including last time out when the Kings shutout the Oilers, 4-0.
The 4 previous games in the series between Los Angeles and Edmonton brought totally different performances from both teams. In Game 2 the Oilers won 6-0 and then in the last game, the Kings won 4-0. Now with the series tied at 2, the series moves back to Edmonton. The Oilers are the better team given the roster and recent playoff results. The Kings have the momentum after keeping a clean sheet in the last game and dominating most of the game.
Edmonton has won 16 of the last 22 games and 15 of the last 17 games played at home. A total of 15 of the last 20 games the Oilers played at home went over the total goals margin. Los Angeles has won 7 of the last 10 games overall and have lost 10 of the last 13 games visiting Edmonton. The Oilers are heading to Game 5 with Derek Ryan being questionable while the Kings will be without 4 players who are injured.
Marko’s NHL Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-225)
The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers are having a fantastic series thus far. It is currently tied after four games at two games a piece. The Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers were neck and neck throughout the regular season standings and in matchups between the two. Los Angeles finished the regular season with a record of 44-27-11 and in the top three of the Pacific Division.
The Edmonton Oilers are in a great position to win the Stanley Cup in my opinion. They have two of the best players in the National Hockey League. They finished the regular season with a record of 49-27-6 and in second place of the Pacific Division. As for the result of this game, I am going with the Edmonton Oilers to pick up the victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 at home.
Tony’s NHL Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-225)
The Los Angeles Kings had a great game at home in Game 4 to tie the series up at 2 games a piece and now the pressure is back on the Edmonton Oilers to do the same and protect home ice. The Kings have been underdogs in every game this series but still have found a way to make it 2-2 after four games and a lot of that can be attributed to goalie Jonathan Quick turning back the clock.
Connor McDavid was completely shut down in Game 4 but now back at home, I’m expecting the Hart Trophy favorite to get back to his impactful ways. Edmonton has only lost consecutive games twice since March 9 and have a home record of 17-3-1 in the past three months. The Kings have been getting a lot of shots on goals the last two games, but bank on the Oilers to get things back on track at home and take back the lead in the series.
Jeffery’s NHL Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-225)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of writing, courtesy of FanDuel.