Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Gets Underway

Stanley Cup

Zack Smith #15 of the Ottawa Senators is checked into the boards by Oscar Lindberg #24 of the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden on December 6, 2015 in New York City.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After a record number of overtimes in the First Round, only eight teams remain standing in their quest for the 2017 Stanley Cup. The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins made it through, and their reward is to the face the top team during the regular season, the Washington Capitals.  As most hockey fans know, the Pens usually win that matchup. The Predators did everyone a favour by sweeping away the Chicago Blackhawks, while the 2016 Stanley Cup finalist San Jose Sharks fell in six games to the Edmonton Oilers.

Surprisingly, with all the overtime games, none of the eight game opening round series required a 7th and deciding game. Odds are at least one of these four second round series will go the distance.

Wednesday, April 26th – Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

The surprise of the first round was the 4 game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Except for Game Three, the Predators dominated the heavily favoured Chicago team.  In the second round, Nashville faces the Blues, who finished only 5 points ahead of them during the regular season.  Like most playoff matchups, this could be a tale of two goaltenders; Pekka Rinne for Nashville, and Jake Allen for St. Louis.

Thursday, April 27th – Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219

It’s the spring, so naturally that means the Penguins and Capitals meet up in the playoffs.  But, unlike past scripts, can the league leading Caps get past their chief adversaries?  Washington didn’t look like a powerhouse in their six-game struggle with the Maple Leafs, yet Pittsburgh did during a 5 game domination of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Friday, April 28th – Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Ducks
10:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

A battle of teams separated by two points in the regular season, the experienced Ducks against the young Oilers.  Anaheim hasn’t had much luck recently in the post-season, while the Oilers haven’t been in the playoff since 2006.  And now, one of these teams will move on, and stand one series win away from the Stanley Cup Final.

Saturday, April 29th – Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

Game Two of this series goes tonight in D.C.  Does home ice matter in this series?  Both teams have proven they can win at home, and on the road.  Most observers feel this series will be a long one, regardless of which team prevails.

Sunday, April 30th – Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

The Ducks have been to the Stanley Cup Final twice in their relatively short existence; losing in 7 games to the Devils in 2003, and taking down the Senators in 6 in 2007.  Many feel Anaheim are now the odds-on-favourite to represent the Western Conference in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.  But that’s why they play the games, because the Oilers (and Predators and Blues) may have something to say about that.

Monday, May 1st – Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

The calendar flips over to May with this matchup between the Capitals and Penguins.  Washington were the regular season champions, racking up 118 points. Pittsburgh weren’t far behind, compiling 111 points, the second best total in the NHL.

Tuesday, May 2nd – St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators
9:30 PM Eastern – Sirius 215 XM 219

The Blues haven’t been to the Stanley Cup Final since Bobby Orr flew through air back in May of 1970.  The Predators, who have only been in the league for two decades, have never been there.  Yet.  The winner of this series faces the survivor of the Ducks-Oilers battle.

Wednesday, May 3rd – Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius 215 XM 219

Young superstar Connor McDavid was not a force in the first round victory over the San Jose Sharks, but how long can teams keep him contained?  No doubt the Ducks will key on the Oilers’ captain.  It’s just one of many intriguing story lines in this second round matchup.

Thursday, May 4th – Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

With 256 goals scored in the regular season, the Rangers had the 4th best offense in the NHL.  But playing against the Senators will test any team, as Ottawa can slow down a game, which they did in their 6 game opening series win over the Boston Bruins.

Friday, May 5th – Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues
TIME TBA – Sirius XM 91

The Predators entered the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the least number of points (94…same amount as the Calgary Flames).  Yet in the first round they dominated the Chicago Blackhawks, who had 109 points.  The team the Preds are facing now, the Blues, finished third in the tough Central Division, ringing up 99 points.

 

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