The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on Thursday night as there are two games on the schedule. There are now just eight NHL teams left standing in the postseason, and the Second Round is just getting underway.
Thursday night features a pair of terrific battles and one game set to take place in each conference. The Florida Panthers host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East, and the Colorado Avalanche host the St. Louis Blues in the West.
Both series have a team looking to take a 2-0 series lead, while the other team will be doing all that they can to even things up.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers came into the playoffs as the top overall seed in the NHL, but they have had some trouble so far in the postseason. Tampa Bay is the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, and they look like they are ready for a three-peat.
The Lightning wasted little time on Tuesday night in taking control of Game 1, and they cruised to a comfortable 4-1. The Panthers now have their backs against the wall in Game 2, and they have to find a way to get the offense going again.
Both of these teams aren’t afraid to speed up the tempo, but it was Tampa goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy that took control of Game 1. Florida has battled back all season long, and they could put together a dominant performance in this one.
St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche have gone a perfect 5-0 so far this postseason. They are now looking to take a 2-0 series lead against the St. Louis Blues. Colorado picked up a 3-2 overtime win in the series opener, but that game set the tone for how competitive this series might be.
St. Louis upset the Minnesota Wild in the First Round, and the Blues are a team that knows how to win in the playoffs. Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 51 saves on Tuesday night, and he is good enough to take over a series.
The Avalanche just continue to overwhelm opponents on offense, and they will look to use that same strategy again in this game. Colorado just has so many offensive weapons that it’s hard to slow them down every single night.
St. Louis can steal a home-ice advantage if they pick up a win in Game 2 of the series.
Home Teams Roll on Thursday Night
Home ice advantage is a real thing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that will show up in a big way on Thursday night. The Panthers are desperate for a win on home ice over the Lightning as they can’t lose both games at home.
Colorado will be in for a battle on Thursday against St. Louis, but the Avalanche have yet to lose a game in the playoffs. You can expect a couple of great matchups on Thursday, but each home team is going to get a win.
Take the Florida Panthers -170 and the Colorado Avalanche -240 as they pick up playoff wins.