The Second Round of the NHL Playoffs

CJ Simione, Staff Writer

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With the second round underway, the chances of another Penguins Stanley Cup are even better. The problem is, the teams that are left are in steady pursuit.

Pittsburgh v.s Washington

This is not the first time we’ve seen these two teams face off in the playoffs. The past three years, the Penguins have faced the Capitals, and each year Pittsburgh has come out on top. Saying this, the Presidents Trophy winners are coming off a tremendous year, led by Alex Ovechkin with 49 goals. Ovechkin has proved in the past that he is a threat in the playoffs, already amounting 8 points this year against Columbus. Sidney Crosby has proved to be productive also in the playoffs, already amounting 13 points in the series against Philadelphia. Sophomore Nick Giannetta thinks a three-peat is in the works. “I think the Caps are a tough team, but I predict that the Pens will win in five games” he said.

Tampa Bay v.s Boston

Before predicting a winner for this series, I feel that it’s necessary to take a look at the regular season stats between these teams. The Lightning (54-23-5, 113 points) won the Atlantic Division, while the Bruins (50-20-12, 112 points) were second. Boston won three of four games against Tampa Bay, outscoring the Lightning 10-8. The Bruins beat a highly skilled Toronto Maple Leafs team in seven games, where the Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils in five. The Lightning have the depth advantage, as well as the defensive advantage. On the other hand, the Bruins have arguably the best first line in the league with Patrice Bergeron centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. They posted 27 goals at even strength in the regular season, giving up 17. When asking three of my friends their opinions on this series, they all answered the same way: Lightning in six games.

Vegas v.s San Jose

            This series has potential to be either a very hard fought series, or a blowout in favor of the expansion team: the Vegas Golden Knights. This year has truly been a special one for Vegas, but San Jose hasn’t had such a bad year either. It seems as if the Sharks are flying under the radar right now, even after sweeping the Anaheim Ducks. San Jose went 1-2-1 against Vegas this season, which isn’t that bad considering how good Vegas did this year. The Golden Knights are led by William Karlsson, who had a team-high 43 goals in the regular season and was a plus 49. Though Vegas has solid forwards who can produce, they also have good third and fourth line guys such as Cody Eakin. Although it tempts me to predict that Vegas will sweep San Jose, I think that they will beat the Sharks in five.

Nashville v.s Winnipeg

The Predators were effective at slowing Nathan MacKinnon’s line in their first-round victory against the Colorado Avalanche. Now comes the challenge of neutralizing the Jets’ top-six forward group. Not only do they need to worry about the Jets’ forwards, but also the defense, who’re anchored by Laine. Winnipeg is powered by younger players that are very skilled and have good hockey sense, where Nashville has veterans such as Nick Bonino scattered around their roster. According to sophomore Michael Sewecke, this is Winnipeg’s year to shine in the playoffs. “Winnipeg is good top to bottom. From Connor Hellebuyck to Mark Scheifele, they’re incredibly sound. Jets in seven games.”