- Can the Kraken keep up their momentum from the first round?
- Will the Oilers be able to battle past the Golden Knights?
- Roope Hintz, Connor McDavid, and Chandler Stephenson will be players to watch.
The first round of the NHL playoffs is behind us, and just four teams remain from the Western Conference — the Dallas Stars, Seattle Kraken, Edmonton Oilers, and Vegas Golden Knights.
With the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche now eliminated, Stanley Cup odds have adjusted to the new postseason landscape. The first round proved that anything can happen in playoff hockey, and as the remaining teams battle to advance to the conference final, I won’t be surprised if there’s another upset or two to keep fans on their toes.
So which Western Conference players should you be watching in the second round? Here are three player predictions and two series predictions.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions: Second Round
Roope Hintz Will Record Over 10 Points
During the regular season, Hintz recorded 37 goals, 38 assists, 75 points, and 184 shots, and his game only got hotter in the first series of the playoffs. He posted five goals, seven assists, 12 points, and 15 shots through six games against the Wild, so facing the Seattle Kraken in the second round, I expect 10 points to be easy.
ROOPE CANNOT BE STOPPED! 😳 #StanleyCup
🇺🇸: @NHL_On_TNT ➡️ https://t.co/LaJpv7c3yx #NHLonTNT
🇨🇦: @Sportsnet ➡️ https://t.co/uEVY6yXLpz pic.twitter.com/TV8msMU1cv
— NHL (@NHL) April 29, 2023
In his five-year career, this is Hintz’s fourth playoff advancement. He’s leading the team in postseason points this year, and if he can keep up this momentum, it’s likely the best is yet to come. Hintz is a player to watch.
Connor McDavid Will Record Over 20 Shots
It’s impossible to talk about stand-out players this postseason without mentioning McDavid, who has already recorded three goals, seven assists, 10 points, and 27 shots. The Oilers knocked out the Los Angeles Kings in the first round in six games, and McDavid’s talent was an obvious and essential part of the team’s success.
During the 2022-23 regular season, the 26-year-old center recorded 64 goals, 89 assists, 153 points, and 352 shots, ranking him first in the league on goals, assists, and points, and third on shots. Facing the Golden Knights in the second round of the playoffs, McDavid will have his work cut out for him, but I still think 20 shots is extremely doable.
Chandler Stephenson Will Record Over 6 Points
Through the regular season, Stephenson put up 16 goals, 49 assists, 65 points, and 120 shots for the Golden Knights, before adding another four goals, four assists, eight points, and eight shots in the first round of the playoffs. Going into a series against the Oilers, I think Stephenson will be a player to watch.
Chandler Stephenson buries his 4th goal of the playoffs just 9 seconds into the power play, 4-0 Vegas!#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/8rjn1qYLmQ
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) April 28, 2023
This is Stephenson’s fifth trip to the playoffs in his nine-year career and his fourth time advancing to the second round. The 29-year-old center has firmly established himself as a leader in Vegas, and I think another six points is very likely in the upcoming series.
Seattle Kraken vs. Dallas Stars
|Game 1||May 2||9:30 p.m.||American Airlines Center|
|Game 2||May 4||9:30 p.m.||American Airlines Center|
|Game 3||May 7||9:30 p.m.||Climate Pledge Arena|
|Game 4||May 9||9:30 p.m.||Climate Pledge Arena|
|Game 5||May 11||TBD||American Airlines Center|
|Game 6||May 13||TBD||Climate Pledge Arena|
|Game 7||May 15||TBD||American Airlines Center|
Prediction: Stars in seven games.
Dallas and Seattle met three times during the regular season, with the Stars winning two games, both on the road. Neither team had an easy win in the first round of the playoffs, but the Kraken knocking out the reigning-champion Avalanche was a major upset. Still, I think the Stars will have the edge in this matchup, even if it takes them the full seven games to prove it.
Since the Stars placed higher in the regular-season standings and, therefore, have home ice advantage, Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 will be played at American Airlines Center in Dallas, while Games 3, 4, and 6 will be played at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Vegas Golden Knights
|Game 1||May 3||9:30 p.m.||T-Mobile Arena|
|Game 2||May 5||7:00 p.m.||T-Mobile Arena|
|Game 3||May 8||8:30 p.m.||Rogers Place|
|Game 4||May 10||10:00 p.m.||Rogers Place|
|Game 5||May 12||TBD||T-Mobile Arena|
|Game 6||May 14||TBD||Rogers Place|
|Game 7||May 16||TBD||T-Mobile Arena|
Prediction: Oilers in six games.
The Oilers and Golden Knights met four times during the regular season, with the Golden Knights winning three games (one at home and two on the road). While I’m picking the Oilers to advance, I don’t think this series will be easy. The Golden Knights played extremely well in the first round and have a very strong roster, so I doubt they’ll go down without a fight.
Since the Golden Knights placed higher in the regular-season standings and, therefore, have home ice advantage, Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, while Games 3, 4, and 6 will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
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