The time has finally arrived — the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are here and you can just feel the excitement in the air. The top 16 teams are set and ready to push toward the Final.
Day One already brought the heat, with a five-overtime Blue Jackets and Lightning game, postponement of the Hurricanes and Bruins and pure chaos in the west.
As the second day of the first round is underway, let’s take a look at the series odds for each matchup facing off for the first time today, per DraftKings:
NY +113 WSH -136
The Capitals had a rocky start after entering the Toronto bubble, only winning one of the three round robin games — and that one win only decided if they would enter the playoffs as the third or fourth seed.
The most surprising aspect of the tournament was the lack of production from captain, Alexander Ovechkin. Normally a point machine, Ovechkin didn’t register a single one against the top teams in the east. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes before he becomes the offense force the whole league knows him for — but if for some reason he still looks off his game — the Islanders have to capitalize on it immediately.
In the qualifying round, the Islanders simply outplayed the Panthers. Through the four games, the Islanders got on the board a total of 13 times. In a best-of-seven series, a buzzing Islanders team could mean trouble for Braden Holtby.
After splitting the regular season series at two games a piece, this first round has the potential to be much closer than originally anticipated.
ARI +235 COL -286
The Avalanche were just an overtime goal away from claiming the top seed in the west, but a loss to the Golden Knights locked them in at second.
Special teams look like they’re going to play a big factor in this series and it largely benefits Colorado. The Avalanche did some impressive numbers on the power play (25%), scoring four different times throughout the round robin. On the other side of things, the Coyotes struggled on the penalty kill (71.4%) — that is the third worst since the NHL returned to play.
MTL +195 PHL -240
On paper, this series seems pretty much in favor of the Flyers in all aspects of the game — but after watching the Canadiens take down the Penguins, it’s not going to be as easy as many think. The Flyers climbed their way from the fourth seed to the top of the east and rightfully earned the opportunity to face the 12th seed Canadiens.
The Flyers are riding alongside the success of 21-year-old goaltender, Carter Hart, who hasn’t had much difficulty so far in a playoff setting. If he has the ability to adapt to a seven-game series, they should be in good shape.
Hart is also about to face one of the most respected (and one of his childhood favorites) in the NHL — Carey Price. Price is not new to the postseason scene by any means, but a goaltender has the ability to steal a game or two in a series. However, if the Flyers come out with the same intensity they had in the round robin, they should still come out on top.
VAN +167 STL -200
The defending Stanley Cup champions are ready to fight and defend their title, but the Canucks won’t be an easy battle at the starting line.
Essentially a dark horse in the west, the Canucks quietly had a decent qualifying round. After being shutout in the first game against the Wild, the Canucks took the next three and hit the ground running to the first round. After not making the playoffs for the previous four seasons, the Canucks are ready to make some noise.
The Blues didn’t win a single round robin game, so it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for them to adapt to a series. Jordan Binnington, the Blues’ go-to goaltender, has had some difficulty adjusting to play, especially when he faced the Golden Knights and allowed six goals. When goaltenders have the potential to steal a game or two in a series, it’s crucial for him to get back to his A-game.
Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.
More on the Flyers