Boston Bruins - Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres are a decent team ever since they fired Krueger as a coach and replaced him with Don Granato. I wouldn't count them out here. But the Bruins have played quite well lately, and they have a stronger lineup. Marchand has been amazing lately. So I don't say this with certainty, but I have a top dog here. Boston wins!
New Jersey Devils - Pittsburgh Penguins
Similar situation here, though the Devils are maybe a bit colder than the Sabres, and the Penguins hotter than the Bruins. So, Pittsburgh wins!
New York Rangers - New York Islanders
Time for a derby! These games have been going both ways. The Rangers are trending in a really strong way though, while the Islanders are a bit up and down right now. So while I think this one is very up in the open, I know what team I will go with. New York Rangers wins!
Carolina Hurricanes - Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bolts proved me wrong last night. They played really well. With their recent inconsistency though, I still believe more in the Canes here. It's two great teams, so it could go either way, but for me, Tampa are the underdogs here. Carolina wins!
Columbus Blue Jackets - Florida Panthers
The Blue Jackets might be the worst team in the NHL right now. For Florida though, Spencer Knight is supposed to make his NHL debut in net. I think it's a smart choice of game for doing so. Wise management by the Panthers! While I think he's a downgrade compared to Bobrovsky, I still think he doesn't offset the vast differance in quality between these two teams. Florida wins!
Detroit Red Wings - Dallas Stars
It was a close call last night, where Dallas got two points in the end, while Detroit got one. I expect something similar here. A close game, but one where the Stars have the best chance. Dallas wins!
Toronto Maple Leafs - Vancouver Canucks
Holtby performed miracles last night, and stole the game. Vancouver fought hard, but they were really worn down during the game. The effects of Covid were evident. I don't think they can manage to do even decently in a back-to-back game. Especially now that Edler is suspended. There's a risk that this game could turn silly. Even if not, I don't expect the Nucks to be even close. Toronto wins!
Anaheim Ducks - Los Angeles Kings
So, what to think of this? These are two teams that are out of the race. I think the Ducks have looked better lately, so I'll give them the edge, but this could go either way. But I got to pick one, and then it is - Anaheim wins!
In summary, my winners are:
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs