Columbus Blue Jackets vs Boston Bruins
Boston won two of the three games this season.
The Blue Jackets dispatched not only the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but the President’s Trophy winner Tampa Bay Lightning for their first playoff victory in franchise history. The Bruins staved off a very good and very dangerous offense in Toronto, but they aren’t playing great hockey going into this series as injuries have hurt them. One thing to watch will be how the Blue Jackets will play in this series as they have had a week off as they could either benefit from it or not.
James Rowe: Columbus. I think the Blue Jackets are playing great hockey at the right time and the Bruins are hurting. It’s a perfect time to strike for Columbus.
Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders
New York won three of the four games played between the two this season
The Hurricanes shockingly defeated the defending champion Washington Capitals in seven games and are out to prove even more so that they deserve to be in the playoffs. Now they are hungry to prove that they are a strong contender for the Cup. The Islanders are in a similar situation as Columbus as they have had a week off after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins. The layoff will also be another big factor coming into this series.
James: New York. Islanders have been playing really excellent hockey this year and honestly, I think that despite the layoff, they have a major advantage over Carolina.
St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars
Blues won three of four games in the season series.
The two of these teams both upset in their matchups where it feels like it’s two unstoppable forces playing one another. St. Louis came into this series with a lot of momentum as they have seemingly been playing the best hockey out of any team coming into the playoffs. Dallas tight style game play is one of the biggest reasons why they played Winnipeg, a team so many thought would go all the way to the Finals.
James: Blues. It’s too hard to see Dallas, playing arguably the team playing the best type of hockey in the playoffs, winning the series. Just as long as Jordan Binnington is minding the net, the Blues are easily taking this series.
San Jose Sharks vs Colorado Avalanche
San Jose won all three games played this season against Colorado.
San Jose won in absolute crazy fashion against the Vegas Golden Knights in the seventh game and came back down from 3-1 in the series. Colorado on the other hand played some great hockey and shocked Calgary as they won four straight games after losing the opening game of the series 4-0. This series could lead to a very interesting confrontation as San Jose just played some grueling games while Colorado has had a few days to recuperate.
James: San Jose. While the Avalanche has had some rest, San Jose is a better team and has played more so they are battle tested.