The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights were able to rest up after breezing through their first-round in the NHL playoffs — unable to play each other in round two until after the 14 remaining teams finished their best-of-seven series. By the end of the weekend, four teams had advanced, and four teams were left fighting for their 2018 Stanley Cup lives.
Both Game 6s are on Monday, with Boston looking to rid themselves of Toronto, and Washington needing to swat away Columbus. Both Boston and Washington are ahead 3-2 and playing on the road. If necessary, Game 7s will return them to home ice on Wednesday for a final chance to move on.
The Bruins, who are a +750 to win the Stanley Cup, have a 3-2 lead and can advance to the second round with a victory. The Bruins are now -1600 to win the best-of-seven series, while the Maple Leafs are +1050. Boston began as a -150 to win. Toronto was +130.
In Monday’s game the Bruins opened at -125, but moved to -130. The Maple Leafs are a +110 underdog.
Washington was a -125 to defeat Columbus before the playoffs began, but dropped the first two games in overtime. The Capitals have a reputation for losing series they are not supposed to and it looked like that would play out yet again.
But the team won the next three games to take a 3-2 lead and can close it out on Monday. Both teams opened as -110 to win the game, though some sportsbooks have the Capitals at -115 and the Blue Jackets at -105.
Resting Ice Face
If either of these series go to a Game 7, it would give both Vegas and San Jose eight days since they completed their four-game sweeps of the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
The Golden Knights might get defenseman Luca Sbisa back for the first game, who has been out since February with a hand injury. Vegas Coach Gerard Gallant, however, wouldn’t say if his first line defenseman would be back.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer noted that star center Joe Thornton would not be available when the Sharks face off against Vegas in Round Two. One of the team’s leading scorers, Thornton has missed the last 39 games, stretching back to January when he injured his medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Vegas, who is a -130 to win the second round series with the Sharks, is also a 9/2 pick to win the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay is the favorite at 4/1. What they have done this year as an expansion team is unprecedented, though goalie Marc-Andre Fleury told Sports Illustrated he predicted they would have success.
“Every guy here has a lot of pride in the way we play, the way we look at ourselves as a team every night,” Fleury said. “We all have pride in winning and I think it’s shown throughout the season, and in the playoffs, too.”
Welcome to the Round Two Show
The other four series were closed out over the weekend, beginning with Winnipeg downing Minnesota, 5-0, on Friday. They were -380 to win the series and closed it out, 4-1. They are now an 11/2 pick to win the Cup.
Tampa Bay ridded themselves of New Jersey on Saturday, winning the final game, 3-1. The favorites to hoist the Cup won the series, 4-1, and opened at -320 to win.
Defending champions Pittsburgh had more trouble with rival Philadelphia than oddsmakers expected. They had the second-best odds to capture the first round at -440, but struggled to dispatch the Flyers. They finally did on Sunday, winning the series, 4-2.
Another heavy favorite was Nashville, who was a -580 to defeat the last team to make the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche. It took them six games as well, but they finally advanced on Sunday.