Welcome back to NHL Predictions. Each day, we take a look at all the games going on around the NHL, giving analysis and our predictions on every game. Today, Round 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs gets underway! Our featured game of the day is the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers.
NHL Predictions: May 19th Including Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers
St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche
Series: Blues 0-1 Avalanche
Game 1 of this series went as many expected, with an Avalanche win. What many did not expect is how close the score was. With that being said, it was a more than generous scoreline for the Blues, who were outshot 54 to 25.
The Blues pulled off a relatively surprising first-round series victory over Kirill Kaprizov and the Minnesota Wild. This was, in large part, due to their solid goaltending from Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington. Both of these goalies have posted solid numbers so far, with a .906 and .944 save percentage respectively. This trend continued in the first game of this series, but they are going to need more goal support to pull off another upset.
As for the Avalanche, there really isn’t much of a surprise here. They won the first game of the series and peppered the opposing goaltender with 54 shots on goal. Expect Nathan MacKinnon to continue to help this trend live on – he had eight shots in the first game, with no goals to go with it, something that will more than likely not happen again in Game 2.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-2
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers
Series: Lightning 1-0 Panthers
While the score of the first game was 4-1 for the Lightning, the game certainly was not that lopsided. In a second-round matchup featuring two Stanley Cup favourites, expect this to be a tightly contested, and likely high-scoring, series.
While Florida was only able to muster one goal in the first game of the series, this should be a one-off. There is, and was, a reason why the Panthers were the best scoring team in the regular season. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov will almost certainly combine for more than one point in this game. They will undoubtedly be testing if the form Andrei Vasilevskiy had in the first game is here to stay.
As for the Lightning, they continue to do what they have for the last three seasons and impressing heavily in the playoffs. They went down in the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs and dug deep to come back and win the series in Game 7. They now find themselves up 1-0 against one of the best offensive teams in NHL history. If they are to have any chance to keep this up, they are going to have to lean heavily on Vasilevskiy, and hope that Nikita Kucherov can continue to lift everyone around him.
Prediction: Panthers win 3-2