NHL playoff picks: 4 best bets for Tuesday night
Andrew Berkshire provides his best NHL picks and predictions for Tuesday night's playoff action.
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While they weren’t favoured by oddsmakers before the series began, the Tampa Bay Lightning beating the Florida Panthers wasn’t wholly unlikely. Sweeping them, though? Allowing just three goals? That’s probably the craziest series result since the Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Lightning back in 2019.
No one is up for elimination, but can tonight’s games match the drama that Tampa has brought to the second round?
With only nine total goals scored through three games of this series, it’s been extremely tight with some brilliant goaltending performances, but at the end of the day the Carolina Hurricanes have dominated the flow of play through three games.
Igor Shesterkin has been incredible as the Hurricanes have scored just five times on 92 shots, with 11.6 expected goals overall. We already know from the way the Rangers were dominated in the first round that goaltending can drastically alter the outcome of a series, but Antti Raanta has been nearly as brilliant.
Even with the Rangers on home ice, the Hurricanes should win this game.
It’s been the lowest scoring series of the second round, but these two teams have enough offensive talent that at some point a game will be blown wide open, right?
The Hurricanes were one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season, and Shesterkin was easily the best goaltender in the league, but six goals isn’t that much, just a couple extra bounces.
After trucking the Oilers in Game 1 of the first playoffs Battle of Alberta in over 30 years, the assumption was that the Flames would continue to control play, but Jacob Markstrom would be much better going forward.
The opposite has happened, as the Oilers have adjusted and played much better hockey overall, and Markstrom has been allowing about 50 per cent more goals than expected against the Oilers, a team he’s struggled against mightily this season.
This is a game that Markstrom needs to change that narrative though, and the Flames need to be much more focused in front of him. While the Oilers are a team the Flames can take advantage of offensively, they can’t get into the habit of trading chances when the Oilers have McDavid.
I think the Flames bring it much more than the last two.
With the rate of scoring in this series, you’ve got to believe that this one will be more of the same.
The Flames would benefit from focusing more on their structure and attempting to shut down McDavid on a systemic level, but I’m honestly not convinced McDavid can be shut down right now, he’s that determined.
That leaves the Flames with fewer options, but the one they’ll have to take is to outscore McDavid and the Oilers, which will force an over.