There are now only eight teams left in the National Hockey League and each league is in its quarterfinal round. There were some really good matchups last year and one that has never happened before in the playoffs. I can’t wait for Thursday because hockey is about to get really good. Here are my predictions for the second round of the NHL playoffs.
Tampa Bay vs Boston or Toronto
At the time I wrote this column, the seventh game of the Boston and Toronto first round series hadn’t been played, but that doesn’t matter. Tampa Bay will be too much for either one of these teams. The Bruins and Maple Leafs have played a very hard series and this will not be an easy test against the Lighting. Tampa Bay didn’t have to fight much for its first round series against New Jersey and I think the Lightning can beat either Boston or Toronto in five games.
Pittsburgh vs Washington
This is a rematch of a series that took place last year before the Pittsburgh Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup. This time around, I think Washington will get the best of Pittsburgh and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Capitals will take this one in seven games with a dramatic overtime goal by Alex Ovechkin scoring the game winner to send Washington to the next round.
Nashville vs Winnipeg
This may be the best series of the second round of the playoffs. Nashville is really good, but the Jets will cause a big matchup problem for the Predators. Expect these to be close games between these two teams. The series has a really good chance to go the distance. I think that Nashville will win this series also in seven games and this will be a series you’ll want to see.
Vegas vs San Jose
The Golden Knights are one of the best stories in the history of sports because of their unlikely odds to still be playing right now. Some sportsbooks in Las Vegas had the Knights going off at 500-1 odds last June. Now it’s the Knights who take on the Sharks with a chance to play in the conference finals on the line. I expect this to be a Vegas win in five games, although the Sharks are coming off a four-game sweep of the Anaheim Ducks in the last round.
Avery Osen is a graduate student in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.