As the seasons change, the playoff action is getting even hotter.
This week, we pivot to the NHL for second-round series breakdowns of Bruins vs. Islanders and Avalanche vs. Golden Knights. We also preview an action-packed series tipping off between the Bucks and Nets in the East Semifinals.
See all the latest updates for this weekend’s big betting slate!
Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Friday, June 4 | TV: NBCSN
The Golden Knights head into a must-win game on home ice, where they’ve performed much better overall, but they’ll need to pick up the slack in the scoring department. The Avalanche are averaging 5.4 goals per game in the playoffs, anchored by the stellar play of Mikko Rantanen, who has eight goals and five assists in his last 10 outings. After being dismantled 7-1 in the first showdown (with goaltender Robin Lehner behind the net), Vegas lost a heartbreaker in overtime to go down 2-0 overall in this second-round series.
Vegas appears to be struggling to get some momentum going after a grueling seven-game series against the Wild in the first round. It would be surprising if the Golden Knights don’t at least keep this one competitive after their hard-fought Game 2. Based on how frequent the Avs have been lighting the lamp, though, it’ll be a difficult task to outscore them, especially with Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer also minding the net for Colorado.
Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders
Saturday, June 5 | TV: NBC
Boston leads this series 2-1, but every contest has been a back-and-forth battle thus far. The Islanders narrowly lost on home ice in Game 2, falling 2-1 in overtime when Brad Marchand scored off a tough angle. These East Coast powerhouses are closely matched, with both teams sporting high save percentages and about three goals scored per game. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has really stepped it up this postseason with a 1.93 goals-against average.
After only three goals were scored last time in New York, the pace should bounce back as the Islanders try to avoid going down 3-1. It’s been a quiet series for center Brock Nelson, so look for him to play a more active role in the Islanders’ offensive attack. Boston could also be thinner on defense after Brandon Carlo was forced out of Game 3 with a head injury.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Saturday, June 5 | TV: TNT
The Bucks look like a very different squad than the one that got ousted from the NBA bubble last postseason. They just swept the Heat in convincing fashion, with three straight blowouts to close the series. Not many are giving them a puncher’s chance against the Nets and their “Big 3,” however. The most intriguing matchup to watch is Jrue Holiday vs. Kyrie Irving, as the Bucks need Holiday’s defensive intensity to disrupt Irving whenever possible. Trying to stop James Harden or Kevin Durant from racking up the points will likely prove to be a futile effort.
Milwaukee did beat Brooklyn in back-to-back games a month back, but that was without Harden on the court, so this will be the first time the Bucks have faced the challenge of defending all three of their superstars. The Bucks’ backcourt depth took a hit when Donte DiVincenzo suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle, so they’ll need Bryn Forbes (45% from 3-point range) to play a pivotal role on the perimeter.