The Stanley Cup playoffs are off to a roaring start already (upsets galore). Game 2’s of the first round continue on Thursday. Among the four-game slate, we’ve handpicked the very best bets of NHL Game 2’s. Keep reading and you’ll get our expert advice on the matchups — completely free!
Moneyline: Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
Same old Lightning and same old Leafs? That’s what it felt like in Game 1 when Tampa went on the road and made a statement with a 7-3 victory. For Toronto, it felt like the start of another letdown — a trend that’s been all too common since they last won a playoff series in 2004. For the three-time-reigning Eastern Conference champion, Bolts, it’s business as usual. Though, in what can be described as a must-win Game 2, the home-ice Leafs are betting favorites over the Lightning. Here are the odds:
There’s losing, and then there’s getting smoked — and that’s where Toronto is. Game 1 is the type of loss that will get into your head. A confident team with a history of winning can brush it off, but perennial chokers like the Leafs? We’re not so sure. The team’s big weakness on the net was exposed for seven goals. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov was largely useless in Game 1 (and was benched by period three). We have a feeling that continues in Game 2.
If that wasn’t bad enough for the Leafs, the belief is that it will be without the services of starting forward Michael Bunting next game too. Bunting was hit with a match penalty in Game 1 after checking Erik Cernak, who didn’t have the puck.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, we’re fading Toronto hard. It’s the same old story with this team and we expect them to collapse the rest of the way — this really might be a sweep or five-game series at best.
Moneyline: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
The higher-seeded Devils were also upset in convincing fashion during Game 1. Rangers thumped them 5-1 to steal home-ice advantage the rest of the way. Oddsmakers are giving the betting edge to New Jersey over New York in Game 2, but not by much. Of the four Game 2 matchups on Thursday, this one is the closest odds-wise at top NHL betting sites:
Dare we say nerves got the better of the Devils in the series opener? It felt that way. Its offense was stifled for the majority of the matchup. Sure, some of that is due to the Rangers’ elite goaltender Igor Shesterkin, but we’d say most of it was Jersey’s own undoing. The team came up empty on two power plays in the opening period. After two periods, they had a meager 15 shots, a performance well under their norm. Creativity was just absent offensively all of Game 1.
But here’s why we’re more optimistic the Devils can rebound, unlike the Leafs: this team has done it before. We can remember three games this season when New Jersey was whooped only to come back with statement wins right after. There was the Leafs’ loss that ended a 13-game winning streak, a 5-1 defeat to the Islanders, and more recently, a 6-1 shellacking courtesy of Winnipeg. We’re betting that happens again which is why we’re taking the Devils’ moneyline.
Over/Under 6 Goals: Seattle Kraken at Colorado Avalanche
Here again, the home team finds themselves in a 1-0 series deficit. But rather than jump on the moneyline, we’re focusing on the Colorado-Seattle over/under. It’s squarely set to six goals and here are the betting options both directions:
Much of the issues that plagued the Stanley Cup champions started all over in the postseason. The Avs had injuries that either kept players out of Game 1 entirely or made them less effective overall. Jack Johnson was held out from playing. Hobbled Cale Makar and Josh Manson were in the lineup, but looked rusty on the ice. We’ve excused Colorado’s underperformance all season long due to these health issues, but there’s no more time to solve them.
Seattle, to their credit, played with a fire under them. It was the franchise’s first-ever playoff game, after all, and there’s no hint they’re overlooking that. They led wire-to-wire, and as we’ve seen all season long, the Kraken play best when ahead.
Honestly, we don’t know who’s winning Game 2. All we know is it’s going to be a low-scoring affair. Avs had their wake-up call, but the Kraken aren’t going to be pushovers either. This has an under written all over it.
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