Pittsburgh Penguins (Metro Division 2 seed) vs. Washington Capitals (Metro Division 1 seed)
Prediction: These two teams are no stranger to one another in the NHL playoffs. Pittsburgh has gotten the best of Washington in recent years, but the Capitals were the better team in this regular season. The Penguins knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games in round 1. Washington was able to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets in round 1 in 6 games as well. Both teams are led by a future Hall of Famer, with the Capitals having Alex Ovechkin and the Penguins having Sidney Crosby.
This will be a very heated series that features extreme physical play, but also a ton of goals. The two-time defending champion, Penguins, won’t be easy to eliminate and the Capitals can’t seem to figure them out. Look for Pittsburgh to end the Capitals season once again.
Pick: Pittsburgh wins series in 7 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic Division 1 seed) vs. Boston Bruins (Atlantic Division 2 seed)
Prediction: The Atlantic Division rivals will square off in what appears to be a terrific second round matchup. The Lightning advanced to the second round by defeating the New Jersey Devils in 5 games. The Bruins survived a game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens to advance to the second round. The Bruins beat the Lighting in 3 of their 4 regular season matchups. This series will feature a contrast in styles. The Lightning led the NHL in goals per game during the regular season and were also top 3 in power play goals.
The Bruins ranked third in penalty kill while also ranking 4th in goals against. Bruins’ goalie, Tukka Rask will have to be on top of his game to stop the explosive Lightning, led by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Rask has plenty of playoff experience and in the end will stop enough shots to help the Bruins advance.
Pick: Boston Bruins win series in 6 games.
Vegas Golden Knights (Pacific Division 1 seed) vs. San Jose Sharks (Pacific Division 3 seed)
Prediction: The Vegas Golden Knights inaugural season has been one for the record books. The Golden Knights record breaking season continued in the first round of the NHL playoffs when they swept the Los Angeles Kings in 4 games. San Jose also advanced to the second round via sweep, after the Sharks eliminated the Anaheim Ducks in 4 games.
Vegas goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury is playoff tested and the Golden Knights are confident playing in front of him. Offensively, the Golden Knights are extremely balanced and will attack the Sharks with all 4 lines capable of scoring goals. The Sharks were the surprise team of the first round and will look to play the role of spoiler again in round 2. Look for the Golden Knights historic run to continue in round 2.
Pick: Golden Knights win the series in 5 games.
Nashville Predators (Central Division 1 seed) vs. Winnipeg Jets (Central Division 2 seed)
Prediction: The two best regular season NHL teams will meet in the second round of the NHL Playoffs. Nashville reached the second round by defeating the Colorado Avalanche in 6 games. The Winnipeg Jets won their first round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild in 5 games. This should be a highly competitive series as these two teams were in a tight race all season long for the President’s Trophy.
The Winnipeg Jets were the highest scoring team in the Western Conference during the regular season and will look to keep the pressure on the Predators. Nashville counters with a team full of veterans and an excellent goalie in Pekka Rinne. This series looks to be an instant classic that goes the distance.
Pick: Predators win the series in 7.