The first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs is finally complete. There were five Game 7s in round one with the home team going 4-1. You can guess which home team lost Game 7. However, the action is not going to stop for very long as the second round of the playoffs begins Tuesday night. And there are some interesting matchups in both the Eastern and Western Conference including the Battle of Alberta and the Sunshine State Showdown.
There is a lot to get to so let’s dive into the second-round preview for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Preview
Sunshine State Showdown
It was one of the matchups the NHL was rooting for, though they will not admit it publicly, however, rivalries are born in the playoffs and the Battle of the Sunshine State ramps up in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers are meeting for the second time in two years in the playoffs. And the animosity was growing and was only amplified after last year’s first-round matchup.
The Lightning took that series 4-2 en route to a second straight Stanley Cup. The Panthers are out for revenge and want to become a model franchise similar to what the Lightning are. Special teams will be key to this series along with goaltending. Those were the two main reasons why the Panthers lost to Tampa Bay last year in the playoffs.
The questions going into the series will be about the health and fatigue facing Tampa Bay and with the monkey off the back of the Panthers winning their first playoff series since 1996, can they do it again? Another factor heading into this series is will Tampa Bay allow Florida to come back in games as Washington did. You have to think not as we know when the Lightning wants to play defence they can lock down any game. This is just going to be a fun series to watch.
Battle Of Alberta
The next series the NHL really wanted to happen is the Battle of Alberta and we will finally get the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 1991. This will be a hard-fought series between teams that do not like each other. Even the fan bases do not like each other. There is so much on the line as the winner will go to the Conference Final. Both the Flames and Oilers needed seven games to close out their first-round series. Now the Flames have home-ice advantage for at least this round.
The teams split the regular-season matchups and do we think anything will be different going into this series. Four of the top eight point producers (Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl) from the regular season are meeting up in the second round. That is good for the NHL. Like with Florida-Tampa Bay it is a rivalry matchup and the games only intensify when you play your rival. Just look what it did when Detroit-Colorado, Toronto-Ottawa, and Montreal-Quebec met all those years in the playoffs. Not to mention countless other teams.
These teams are fairly evenly matched coming and it will come down to goaltending and the style of play, that is why the Flames are just a slight favourite. The Flames have Jacob Markstrom, while the Oilers have Mike Smith. Darryl Sutter plays that grinding style that wears teams out. Oilers play with a little more pace to their game. This is a can’t miss series.
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Rematch Outside the Bubble – New York vs Carolina
It is a rematch from the 2020 Qualifying Round from inside the Bubble that will now take place outside the bubble as the New York Rangers take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes won that series 3-0, but these two teams are completely different from then. Both teams are now perennial playoff contenders and Stanley Cup contenders, especially the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes won the season series 3-1 but the final two games were very close. The Rangers hold the edge in between the pipes with the Vezina Trophy favourite Igor Shesterkin. Carolina’s goaltending held up with Antti Raanta as Frederik Andersen remains sidelined.
Carolina has six former Rangers on the team including Tony DeAngelo and you know the Garden faithful will want to give it to him. Carolina has to learn to win on the road in these playoffs. They were awful in the three games in Boston. Home ice was a different story, but they can’t rest on their laurels because the Rangers are a different team than the Bruins. New York knows has to come back from being on the mat especially when they are given an opportunity to do so.
Offensively these two teams are so gifted and again special teams will be a factor like it always is. New York is top three in power-play percentage in the playoffs, while Carolina has one of the better penalty kill units in the playoffs. The Rangers have the momentum coming back from a 3-1 deficit, but the Hurricanes have been here before. Something is going to have to give.
— Full Press Hockey (@FullPressNHL) May 16, 2022
Rematch From 2021 – Avalanche vs Blues
It is a rematch from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Colorado Avalanche swept the St. Louis Blues right out of the playoffs. There will be no sweep this time around. The Blues are a different hockey club and so to are the Avalanche. Last year, the Avalanche outscored the Blues 20-7. Colorado outscored Nashville in the first round 21-9 in a four-game sweep. St. Louis needed six games to take care of Minnesota as they dominated the final three games of the series. Colorado is on a mission to get past this round as it has been a stumbling block for them the last couple of seasons.
Colorado won the season series 2-1, but the Blues are one of the teams that could give Colorado trouble. Both teams have very good offences. St. Louis had 10 20-goal scorers, while Colorado had seven 20-goal scorers. So offence will not be at a premium. Scoring is up anyway in the playoffs, expect this one to be a high-scoring affair. Defensively, the Avalanche have a slight edge with Cale Makar, Bowen Byram, Devon Toews, and Erik Johnson, but St. Louis is not too bad themselves with Justin Faulk and Nick Leddy. It will be an uphill climb without Torey Krug.
As with the previous three series, special teams and goaltending will be huge. Colorado owns the best power play in the playoffs, but St. Louis is right there as theirs is ranked fourth in the playoffs. Both teams’ penalty kills units are about even. Goaltending and St. Louis has a slight edge with Jordan Binnington over Darcy Kuemper.
Get ready as Round 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Begins Tuesday Night!
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