Sports NHL playoffs bracket 2021: East Division series predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions

06:10  16 may  2021
06:10  16 may  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 6, 2021

  NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 6, 2021 Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Calgary – TBA (previously Josh Leivo)

The Stanley Cup First Round will have eight best-of-7 series , all played within the four divisions -- the West, the MassMutual East , the Discover Central and Scotia North. The four teams that advance from their divisions will play in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, and will be seeded 1-4, based on regular-season points and The two winners from the semifinals will play in the Stanley Cup Final. Eight of the nine staff members who predicted the Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup believe Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs .

At odds of +250, the Boston Bruins are favored to win the NHL ’s East Division title. Boston is followed by the Philadelphia Flyers (+375), Pittsburgh Penguins (+400), and Washington Capitals (+400). Four of the top seven teams in the NHL in 2019-20 in terms of points are housed among this group. The Flyers allowed the fewest shots on goal per game last season (28.7). Carter Hart’s 2.42 GAA was second-best among NHL goalies who played at least 40 games. The Flyers could be one of the most complete teams in the NHL and have a great shot at winning the 2021 Stanley Cup .

The NHL postseason is officially here.

Sixteen teams begin the gauntlet of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs and there's no telling who will be the last club standing and drinking out of Lord Stanley's Cup.

The East Division was made up of eight teams that stretched from the Mid-Atlantic region up to New England. Four teams remain: the Penguins, Capitals, Bruins and Islanders. There are some familiar faces — and some history — between these clubs.

Will it be Sidney Crosby and the Penguins marching out of the division, or will it be Mr. 700-Plus Goals Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals? And don't count out the 2019 runners-up from Beantown or the guys from Long Island.

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 14, 2021

  NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 14, 2021 Players in the COVID protocol are: St. Louis' Jake Walman and Nathan Walker, and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov.St.

play . The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and it's time for a refresher (1:12). Greg Wyshynski breaks down the NHL playoff format this season and how it differs from years past. From the first round all the way through the Stanley Cup Final, ESPN has you covered; consider this your homepage for the entire 16-team tournament from start to finish. Read on for the full playoff picture, including previews, analysis, highlights, scores and more for each team and series .

2021 Stanley Cup Odds for Top Contenders. SPORTSBETTINGDIME.COM. [May 7]: With the NHL Playoffs not far away, the Golden Knights and Hurricanes continue to make a push The Washington Capitals’ average odds have also shortened to +1100 after reclaiming the East Division lead. The Hurricanes are currently leading the Central Division , while their average odds are at +1000 to win

Sporting News looks at the East Division playoffs and predicts how the first round will shake out.

NHL playoffs bracket 2021

diagram: stanley-cup-playoffs-2021-first-round-051321-sn-illustration © Provided by Sporting News stanley-cup-playoffs-2021-first-round-051321-sn-illustration

NHL playoffs 2021: East Division predictions

(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) New York Islanders

The backstory

Two years ago, these teams met in the first round of the postseason and the Islanders swept the Penguins in a lopsided affair with new bench boss Barry Trotz at the helm. It's now Year 3 on the Island for the 2019 Jack Adams Award winner; will we see a repeat?

It has been a while since these teams have faced each other; the last of their eight-game set in 2021 (the Penguins won the season series 6-2-0 with one overtime win and one shootout win) was on March 29. Both teams have made changes up front since then: the Penguins added Jeff Carter and the Islanders, after losing captain Anders Lee in mid-March, brought on Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the Devils.

Anaheim Ducks send Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale to AHL

  Anaheim Ducks send Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale to AHL Zegras and Drysdale are clearly the cornerstones of the Ducks’ current rebuild. Who can blame them for wanting to take another look at their elite ability in action in the Pacific Division postseason. However, it’s 2021-22 and full NHL seasons for the duo that the Ducks and their fans should really be excited about.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily.

The above NHL Playoff bracket odds are created using a combination of NHL futures odds , game lines, conference championship predictions , and most importantly for 2021 , Division betting lines. Why Are The NHL Playoff Bracket Odds Important? When studying the list of teams that could potentially qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs at premium legal online sportsbooks, they will be listed in order of how likely they are to win the title. Futures betting lines do not provide much insight into how the championship team will arrive at that conclusion, and what caliber of teams they’ll face along the

The 2021 NHL Playoffs are set to begin. Here’s everything you need to know about the bracket and how to watch the league 's new postseason format. With the NHL having temporarily realigned its divisions this season to ease travel during the pandemic, the playoffs will have a different format. The 56-game regular season featured four divisions : the East , Central and West divisions , which had eight teams each, and the North division , which included the league 's seven Canadian teams.

There also the mainstays in this series, including the uber-talented and top Islanders point producer Mathew Barzal (17 goals, 28 assists) and, of course, Crosby. The Penguins captain posted a 62-point campaign in 2021, which included three goals and nine assists against the Isles. It'll be interesting to see how he handles New York's stifling defense this postseason; in 2019, he had one assist as the Pens were swept.

X-factor: Semyon Varlamov

The Russian netminder posted a Vezina Trophy-worthy season with a 19-11-4 record, a .929 save percentage and an NHL-best seven shutouts. Hot goaltending is usually the tell for a strong club. If he could replicate his .921 save percentage from the 2020 bubble, then the Islanders should be in a strong position to make a long run.

The big number: 125

Known for having a stingy defense, the Islanders allowed just 125 goals in 56 games in 2021, second-fewest in the league. Only the Golden Knights allowed fewer (122). By comparison, the Penguins allowed 155 goals.

NHL playoffs bracket 2021: North Division series predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions

  NHL playoffs bracket 2021: North Division series predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens. Oilers vs. Jets. Who will advance? Sporting News breaks down the first-round matchups.Sixteen teams are set to begin the gauntlet of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, and there's no telling which will be the club to drink out of Lord Stanley's Cup.

Stanley Cup Playoffs predictions . NHL .com staff members make their picks for first round, Final, Conn Smythe. Showdown name and logo, NHL Centennial Classic name and logo, NHL Centennial Season logo, NHL 100 Classic name and logo, NHL Global Series name and logo, NHL China Games name and logo, NHL Power Players name and logo, NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe name and logo, and Don't Miss A Moment are trademarks of the National Hockey League .

The NHL wrapped up its season about 70 days ago (September 28), with the Lightning skating to a 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That was only the team’s second-ever Stanley Cup Title, and much of the same is expected from the Lightning once the new season gets underway. And the lone Eastern Conference team to make the top-three is the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning erased the horrors of the 2018/19 playoffs – when they were swept by Columbus in the first round after a record- breaking regular season – to

Though New York allowed just 2.23 goals against per game, the team only scored 2.71 goals for per game. The Isles will need their defensive game in this one as the Penguins were second in the NHL at 3.45 GF/GP.

SN's pick: Islanders in 6

Gallery: 5 must-watch series during the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs (SMG)

a hockey game in the snow: For the first time since the Florida Panthers inception in 1993, we will finally get the much-coveted all-Florida playoff matchup. These Panthers aren't the Panthers of years past either, as Florida actually has a chance to take down the reigning Stanley Cup champions if things break right for them.  Look for the Tampa Bay Lightning to get back both Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov from the injured list for this series. The Lightning will need Stamkos and Kucherov's offensive talents to help match the Panthers, who have been a bit of a scoring surprise this year with Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Carter Verhaeghe.  Also in the Panthers' favor? The team's record against the Lightning this year, sitting at 5-3 with the playoffs on the horizon.

Series schedule

Date Matchup Time (ET) (TV channel)
Sun., May 16 at Pittsburgh Noon (NBC, SN, TVA Sports)
Tue., May 18 at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Thu., May 20 at New York 7 p.m. (NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports)
Sat., May 22 at New York 3 p.m. (NBC, SN, TVA Sports)
*Mon., May 24 at Pittsburgh TBD
*Wed., May 26 at New York TBD
*Fri., May 28 at Pittsburgh TBD

(* If necessary)

MORE: Islanders legend Bryan Trottier enters NFT world with works commemorating HOF career

(2) Washington Capitals vs. (3) Boston Bruins

The backstory

The squads were evenly matched in the regular season, splitting the eight-game set (two of Boston's losses were in OT/SO). The Bruins scored 26 goals, the Caps pumped in 24 and each team averaged 30.0 shots on goal per game. Both teams have solid netminders, goal-scoring machines and strong defense, but only one has veteran rearguard Zdeno Chara. The big man is now with the Capitals after spending the previous 14 years with his first-round series opponent.

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It'll be interesting to see how they match up in the postseason. The Bruins will have netminder Tuukka Rask leading the charge while Caps rookies Vitek Vanecek (who left Game 1 early with a lower-body injury) and Ilya Samsonov (who before Saturday was on the league's COVID-19 list) could split time. Will the duo be able to stop Boston's "The Perfection Line"? Will Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Caps trade deadline pickup Anthony Mantha, who is making his playoff debut, be able to match the Bruins' offense? This should be a good one.

X-factor: Taylor Hall

The winger was acquired by Boston around the trade deadline, and after scoring 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 37 games for the Sabres, he was reinvigorated in Beantown. He potted eight goals and added six assists in 16 games with the Bruins. Hall has some postseason experience: in 2020 with the Coyotes (six points) and in 2018 with the Devils (six points). He's aiming for a new contract and an extended stay in Boston, so the 29-year-old will need to prove his worth.

The big number: 86.0

Special teams could play a critical role here. The Bruins' penalty kill was second in the NHL at 85.9 percent effectiveness during the regular season, a critical fact considering the Capitals has the third-best power play (24.8 percent). In the season series, the Bruins' power play was only 70 percent effective while the Capitals put home nine goals in 30 chances and averaged 1.13 power-play goals per game. It would be best if Boston stayed out of the box so Ovechkin can't set up in his office, but if it does rack up the penalty minutes, then it will need to lock it down the way it did against the rest of the division.

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SN's pick: Bruins in 5

Series schedule:

Date Matchup Time (ET) (TV channel)
Sat., May 15 at Washington 7:15 p.m. (NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports, OMNI)
Mon., May 17 at Washington 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Wed., May 19 at Boston 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, SN360, TVA Sports)
Fri., May 21 at Boston 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, SN360, TVA Sports)
*Sun., May 23 at Washington TBD
*Tue., May 25 at Boston TBD
*Thu., May 27 at Washington TBD

(* If necessary)

East Division first-round odds

Penguins -156 Islanders +128
Bruins -138 Capitals +110

Betting odds courtesy of FanDuel as of May 14.

Sporting News' 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs predictions

Rounds 1, 2

East Division
(1) Penguins vs. (4) Islanders Islanders in 6
(2) Capitals vs. (3) Bruins Bruins in 5
(3) Bruins vs. (4) Islanders Bruins in 6
North Division
(1) Maple Leafs vs. (4) Canadiens Maple Leafs in 7
(2) Oilers vs. (3) Jets Oilers in 5
(1) Maple Leafs vs. (2) Oilers Maple Leafs in 7
Central Division
(1) Hurricanes vs. (4) Predators Hurricanes in 5
(2) Panthers vs. (3) Lightning Lightning in 6
(1) Hurricanes vs. (3) Lightning Hurricanes in 6
West Division
(1) Avalanche vs. (4) Blues Avalanche in 5
(2) Golden Knights vs. (3) Wild Golden Knights in 6
(1) Avalanche vs. (2) Golden Knights Golden Knights in 7

Stanley Cup semifinals

(1) Golden Knights vs. (4) Bruins Golden Knights in 6
(2) Hurricanes vs. (3) Maple Leafs Maple Leafs in 6

Stanley Cup Final

(1) Golden Knights vs. (3) Maple Leafs Golden Knights in 6
Conn Smythe Trophy Marc-Andre Fleury

John Tavares skates for first time since suffering frightening head injury .
It is an incredible sight to see after Tavares was knocked unconscious partway through the first period in game one of the Toronto-Montreal series, and could suggest that a return to the lineup can come a lot quicker than expected.It is an incredible sight to see after Tavares was knocked unconscious partway through the first period in game one of the Toronto-Montreal series, and could suggest that a return to the lineup can come a lot quicker than many expected. The Maple Leafs have a commanding lead in the series after winning the last three and could eliminate the Canadiens Thursday night.

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