Of the eight, first-round NHL Playoff series matchups, six are going pretty much as expected, but two teams are looking at big upsets. The Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders came in as heavy underdogs, but after three games of the best-of-seven format, are looking at closing out the favorites.

New York Islanders NHL Playoffs
The New York Islanders are leading 3-0 over the Washington Capitals in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, and are one game away from the upset. (Image: Getty)

The Islanders have been the surprise of the first round so far. New York, the No. 6 seed, came in as the +140 underdog at the Westgate SuperBook USA to upset the Washington Capitals. They now have a 3-0 lead, and can win the series on Monday. They are now -5000 to win their match up with the Capitals, who went from -160 to +1500. In Monday’s game, they are a -110 pick to win.

Winning the next four games is a tall task for Washington, who was the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. In the history of the NHL Playoffs, only four teams have done it. The last one was the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 in the first round against San Jose. They went on to win the Stanley Cup.

NHL Playoff Teams Coming Back Down 3-0

Team Date Opponent Round
Toronto Maple Leafs 1942 Detroit Red Wings Finals
New York Islanders 1975 Pittsburgh Penguins Quarterfinals
Philadelphia Flyers 2010 Boston Bruins Conference Semifinals
Los Angeles Kings 2014 San Jose Sharks First Round

This could be a measure of revenge for New York coach Barry Trotz, who led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018, and then wasn’t resigned by Washington. His replacement, Todd Reirden, told reporters his team has the ability to come back and win the series.

“I believe in myself as a coach and believe in our team and our leadership group that we can focus on getting this one win here and seeing where that takes us from there,” Reirden said. “That’s where our mind needs to be. It’s the top league in the world, and there’s good players and there’s good coaches, and that’s a challenge every night.”

Vancouver Surprise of West in NHL Playoffs

Before the first round of the playoffs began, Vancouver was a +175 to upset defending Stanley Cup Champions St. Louis. The Blues were -200 to advance to the next round.

The Canucks, however, have jumped out to a 2-1 lead. St. Louis got their first victory late Sunday night in overtime, winning, 3-2. Vancouver captain, Bo Harvat told reporters his team knew the Blues weren’t going to give up.

“We knew they were going to come,” Horvat said. “They’re the defending Cup champs for a reason. They know what it takes to win, and they definitely weren’t going to shy away from a fight.”

Still, oddsmakers at the Westgate have adjusted the odds for the series, making Vancouver the -180 favorite, and putting the Blues at +160. The two play again Monday, and St. Louis is the -130 pick, with Vancouver at +120.

Favorites Rolling Along

Five of the six other favorites in the NHL Playoffs are moving toward closing out their first-round series. The Vegas Golden Knights had a chance to do just that on Sunday, but the Chicago Blackhawks won their first game, 3-1. Vegas can advance with a victory on Tuesday. They are -210 picks to win.

The other favorites who are leading their series are Philadelphia, 2-1 over Montreal, Boston 2-1 over Carolina, Tampa Bay 2-1 over Columbus, and Colorado 2-1 over Arizona.

The remaining series is tied at two games apiece, with Calgary and Dallas playing on Tuesday. Dallas remains at -120 to win the series, but Calgary has gone from +110 to even.

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