The second spherical of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs is right here, with the Tampa Bay LightningFlorida Panthers and St. Louis BluesColorado Avalanche sequence opening Tuesday, and the New York RangersCarolina Hurricanes and Edmonton OilersCalgary Flames sequence opening Wednesday. What will we anticipate to occur when the video games start? What have we discovered to this point? Who will probably be left standing after we hit the convention finals?

The Athletic surveyed its NHL employees to get their predictions. We requested who will win every second-round sequence, plus obtained up to date favorites to win the Eastern and Western Conferences, the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe.

Some of the outcomes have been anticipated. The Colorado Avalanche have solely picked up steam as a favourite to win all of it after their first-round sweep of the Nashville Predators, and star Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar has change into the even-heavier favourite to win the Conn Smythe. Other outcomes have been a bit extra shocking, from a brand new high choose to win the Eastern Conference to an enormous identify lacking from the Conn Smythe voting.

Here are the complete outcomes of our survey.

Second-round sequence predictions

Metropolitan Division: Rangers vs. Hurricanes

Percent of vote Rangers Hurricanes

4 video games

0.0

0.0

5 video games

0.0

15.9

6 video games

2.3

70.5

7 video games

9.1

2.3

Total

11.4

88.6

Can the Rangers win this one with out Igor Shesterkin enjoying at a better stage than we noticed within the first spherical? It’s not solely Shesterkin’s play that should enhance. The Penguins dominated possession, zone time and scoring possibilities within the opening spherical, attending to the entrance of the Rangers internet with ease. Of the groups that like to funnel pucks and our bodies to the online, nobody does it higher than the Hurricanes. That means not solely does Shesterkin should be on high of his sport however so do the Rangers skaters within the defensive zone. — Arthur Staple, Rangers beat author

Atlantic Division: Lightning vs. Panthers

Percent of vote Lightning Panthers

4 video games

0.0

0.0

5 video games

2.3

0.0

6 video games

13.6

18.2

7 video games

25.0

40.9

Total

40.9

59.1

The Lightning beat the Panthers in six video games within the postseason final yr and have gained two straight Cups. So why do we expect they’re not going to win this sequence? The Lightning aren’t favored for 2 foremost causes. 1) The Panthers are deeper and extra skilled than final yr’s model. They regarded like a juggernaut all yr. And 2) There’s query concerning the standing of Lightning star Brayden Point, their No. 1 heart and engine. The Cup champs don’t care who’s favored, although. They’ve obtained the pedigree and recipe to win, as they confirmed in opposition to the favored Leafs in Round 1. — Joe Smith, Lightning beat author

Central Division: Blues vs. Avalanche

Percent of vote Blues Avalanche

4 video games

0.0

0.0

5 video games

0.0

36.4

6 video games

2.3

52.3

7 video games

0.0

9.1

Total

2.3

97.7

The Avs are the overwhelming favourite right here. How can the Blues sluggish them down? Honestly, it’s going to be powerful. There’s a purpose the Avs are the prohibitive favorites and it’s greater than their star energy, pace and talent. Much just like the Blues earlier than they gained the Stanley Cup in 2019, the Avs have been knocking on the door for a couple of years. They’ve handled heartache, and that above anything goes to drive them this postseason. In order to fight that, the Blues have to make use of their Cup expertise to their benefit, and fairly frankly, they’ll have to make use of their underdog standing as motivation, too. The Blues have the power to beat the Avs, but when the Avs play like a staff that’s discovered a couple of classes alongside the best way, this would be the problem many anticipate for Craig Berube’s membership. — Jeremy Rutherford, Blues beat author

Pacific Division: Oilers vs. Flames

Percent of vote Oilers Flames

4 video games

0.0

0.0

5 video games

0.0

6.8

6 video games

9.1

27.3

7 video games

18.2

38.6

Total

27.3

72.7

Connor McDavid looks like he’s choosing up steam. Can the Flames cease him? The Kings actually couldn’t in Games 6 and seven, with two possibilities to upset Edmonton in Round 1. McDavid recorded 5 factors on six Oilers targets over these two video games, culminating with a playoff-leading 14 factors in seven video games. Can the Flames cease him? Some of that may rely on if Chris Tanev is accessible. He’s Calgary’s most reliable defenceman and he missed Game 7. Having Jacob Markstrom because the final line of defence will assist too. The Flames confirmed the power to dominate puck possession in opposition to Dallas at five-on-five, and one of the simplest ways to maintain McDavid off the scoresheet is to maintain him within the defensive zone. They’ll additionally want to reduce penalties as a result of we all know McDavid scoring on the ability play is inevitable. Can Calgary do all that? That stays to be seen. The solely factor we actually learn about The Battle of Alberta Playoff Edition is there’s going to be some (enjoyable) chaos. — Hailey Salvian, Flames beat author

Beyond the second spherical

Eastern Conference champion

Percent of vote Pre-playoffs Now

16.7

38.6

39.6

34.1

20.8

25.0

4.2

2.3

10.4

0.0

4.2

0.0

4.2

0.0

The Hurricanes jumped from 16.7 % to win the East to 38.6 %. What did they present within the first spherical to persuade so many individuals they’re for actual? Yes, it took the Hurricanes seven video games within the first spherical to beat a Bruins staff that they had crushed within the common season. And, sure, the Game 6 loss was uninspiring. But lastly defeating the staff that took them out within the 2019 Eastern Conference ultimate is a big psychological weight lifted, and Brad Marchand stated himself he thinks the Canes are popping out of the East this yr. Carolina confirmed in Round 1 that it has the depth, blue line manufacturing and self-discipline in its system to make a long term. — Sara Civian, Hurricanes beat author

Western Conference champion

Percent of vote Pre-playoffs Now

58.3

77.3

39.6

18.2

0.0

2.3

2.1

0.0

Any concern of rust with the Avalanche after a prolonged break following their first-round sweep? Captain Gabriel Landeskog didn’t appear too involved with the thought of rust. “Everybody wants to make that into a thing,” he stated. “Rest is an advantage at this point of the year.” Landeskog talked about that the Blues additionally had an prolonged layoff between sequence, and each he and Nathan MacKinnon careworn that the Avalanche have been working towards nicely and are able to go. But sport reps are completely different from observe, so there might be a feeling-out interval for each groups early on this subsequent sequence in opposition to the Blues. — Peter Baugh, Avalanche beat author

Stanley Cup champion

Percent of vote Pre-playoffs Now

45.8

70.5

10.4

11.4

14.6

6.8

12.5

6.8

14.6

4.5

2.1

0.0

Why gained’t the Avalanche win the Cup? I dunno — why didn’t they win it final yr? Colorado was a favourite again then too, and so they got here out quick in opposition to Vegas earlier than dropping 4 straight. Most of us thought the Blues would lose to the Wild within the first spherical; look how that turned out. They’re used to successful video games regardless of shedding the possession battle. Potentially down the road, Calgary is an impressive five-on-five staff with an elite goalie. There are 4 actually good groups alive within the East. Hockey is inherently chaotic, lots can occur in a seven-game sequence and we must always know higher than to crown the Avs within the second spherical. Doesn’t imply they aren’t the good choose, although. — Sean Gentille, nationwide NHL author

Conn Smythe winner

Cale Makar is a big favourite right here. Is that what the numbers say too? In a phrase, sure. Makar went from having an impressive common season and being generally known as the very best two-way defenseman within the league to legitimately placing himself within the dialog as probably the greatest total gamers within the league in Round 1. Granted, it was in opposition to a weaker opponent, however he was completely phenomenal. With Makar on the ice at five-on-five, the Avalanche managed 66 % of the anticipated targets share and outscored Nashville 6-2. Then there was his special-teams influence. Altogether, he tallied 10 factors in 4 video games, and he leads the league with a median Game Score of three.56 to this point within the postseason. The expectation, primarily based on his stellar physique of labor on the NHL stage, is that he’s simply going to construct on that. If the Avalanche preserve advancing, his game-changing play goes to be an important a part of it.

Just a few notable omissions right here: Connor McDavid leads the playoffs in scoring (14 factors), and if the Oilers do something, it is going to be on his again. He’s additionally second to Makar in Game Score (3.00). And Carter Verhaeghe has been the Panthers’ MVP with 12 factors and three game-winners already, so it’s attention-grabbing to see Claude Giroux (seven factors) make the board when he doesn’t. — Shayna Goldman, NHL analytics author

How have we carried out to this point?

First-round sequence predictions

The solely sequence nearly all of The Athletic employees didn’t name accurately heading into the first round was Blues-Wild, which was predicted because the closest sequence, with two-thirds of votes predicting it to go seven video games. Here’s how all of our predictions held up, with the precise results of the sequence, the % of voters who picked the fitting staff and the % who picked the fitting staff and variety of video games:

Percent of right picks Team Team and video games
Hurricanes over Bruins in 7

62.5

14.6

team logo 12
Rangers over Penguins in 7

66.7

18.8

team logo 8Panthers over Capitals in 6

93.8

25.0

team logo 6Lightning over Maple Leafs in 7

70.8

33.3

team logo 19Avalanche over Predators in 4

97.9

39.6

team logo 20Blues over Wild in 6

37.5

4.2

team logo 24Flames over Stars in 7

95.8

0.0

team logo 25Oilers over Kings in 7

68.8

16.7

(Top picture of Connor McDavid and Elias Lindholm: Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)



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