And then there were four. The Bruins, Hurricanes, Sharks and Blues are the four teams remaining battling it out of the 2019 Stanley Cup.
I was able to bounce back a little bit in round 2, going 3-1 with my series picks, but I’m still far from breaking even after the 1-7 first round.
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Boston Bruins (2) vs Carolina Hurricanes (WC1)
The Bruins and Hurricanes finished with the third and fourth most points in the NHL in the second half of the season, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that these teams are battling it out in the Conference Finals (outside of the Lightning being eliminated as the best team in the second half).
I see these teams as very even both on paper and in terms of how they are playing leading into this series.
The Hurricanes have now won 6 straight games after going down 3-2 in their first round series with the Capitals. The Bruins seemed to figure out the Blue Jackets and won 3 straight in fairly convincing fashion after being down 2-1.
I really think this series could go either way, so I definitely love the odds for the Hurricanes as big 2.45 underdogs. Jordan Staal has played great this playoff and he should be able to match-up well against Bergeron and company. Slavin has shown he is an elite defenseman and overall I’ve been very impressed with the Hurricanes defense unit. Boston probably has the edge in net, but I wouldn’t feel like I’m in a bad spot if I’m the Hurricanes in that department either.
This series should be much closer to a pick’em in my eyes, so I’m happy to take the Hurricanes at these odds and roll the dice.
Play: Hurricanes 2.45 @ SportsInteraction.com
San Jose Sharks (2) vs St. Louis Blues (3)
This is another series I think could go either way. Continuing with the second half analysis from the previous series write-up, the Blues were the second best team in the second half of the season next to only the Bolts. This Blues team came on in a big way after an awful start.
The Sharks needed another game 7 and arguably some more luck with a big off-side call negating an Avalanche goal that would have tied the game at 2-2. Is this luck that will eventually run out for the Sharks or are they overcoming challenges en route to a Cup win.
Again, these are two elite teams and I think this series will come down to a few bounces. Binnington is playing great for the Blues and Martin Jones has found his playoff ability for the Sharks. With Pavelski back I think the Sharks take the edge in terms of talent, but the Blues play a very structured, disciplined game.
In the second half of the season the Blues only gave up 91 goals, which was second to only the Islanders. On the flip side, the Sharks scored 149 goals in the second half of the season, only two behind the Lightning.
This is a series that is going to come down to offense vs defense. As I mentioned before I think this is another coin flip series, but I do give a slight edge to the Blues. I just think they have a better chance to smother the Sharks offense, than the Sharks have of finding many goals against the Blues.
Play: Blues 2.20 @ SportsInteraction.com