Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second Round Begins Thursday
The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs kicks off Thursday, when the Columbus Blue Jackets battle the Boston Bruins and the Dallas Stars take on the St. Louis Blues.
Columbus Blue Jackets (+125) at Boston Bruins (-150), 7 p.m. ET, NBCSNThe Blue Jackets entered the playoffs one of the longest shots on the board, largely because their first-round opponent was the top team regular-season team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Columbus entered the playoffs one of the hottest teams in the league (7-1 in their final eight regular season games) and continued that roll to sweep the Eastern Conference’s top seed out of the playoffs.
But now that the Lightning, fellow No. 1 seed Calgary and both No. 2 seeds (Nashville and defending champion Washington) are out, Boston is the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. The Bruins struggled to get past Toronto in the first round, but pulled through with a 4-2 Game 7 victory.
Boston now faces a well-rested Columbus squad that hasn't played since April 16. The Blue Jackets are 17-5 in their last 22 games playing on three or more days rest. Columbus is also 11-1 in their last 12 overall and 7-0 in their last seven road games.
Columbus has gone 3-7 in its last 10 games in Boston, but the hotter trends point toward Columbus
NHL Free Pick: Blue Jackets +125
Dallas Stars (+135) at St. Louis Blues (-160), 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSNThe Stars impressed with three straight victories over Nashville in their first-round series to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
St. Louis only won a single home game against the the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, a 3-2 victory in Game 6 to clinch the series, but until that win neither team could protect its home ice.
Both these teams know each other well from the Central Division. Dallas has a significant advantage in the head-to-head matchup. The Stars are 7-1 in the last eight meetings.
Dallas also won two of the three matchups during the regular season and is 6-1 SU in its last seven as a road underdog. St. Louis has struggled in the playoffs as a favorite, going 1-5 in its last six playoff games as a favorite of -151 to -200.
NHL Playoffs Free Pick: Stars +130