Andrew Berkshire selects his best NHL picks for the day, as four of four match-ups in Game 2 are first-round matches.
Six of the eight teams with lower seeds won the opening game of their series. The favorites in two series have fought back to tie the series. Tonight, four more series will be played where the favorites have a 1-0 deficit. Which team can bring their series to a tie and which one loses 2-0 at home? Find out.
Toronto Maple Leafs beat Tampa Bay Lightning by 1.55
Sheldon Keefe, the Leafs’ head coach heading into this series is like a dog showing its belly and rolling on his back. He allowed the Lightning, with home-ice advantage to dictate the pace of the game by starting his bottom six forwards in front of the Lightning’s best players. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and the Leafs didn’t hit the ice until almost 11 minutes after the start of the period. By that point, the Leafs had already fallen behind 2-0. This was a truly dismal performance.
Michael Bunting was suspended for 3 games by the Leafs, a well-deserved punishment. But the Lightning’s defensive line is either injured or will miss the next two or three games. It’s time to go for it for the Leafs, to be aggressive and to display their talent.
Auston Mathews can score at any time vs Tampa Bay Lightning 2,05
Auston Matthews has no choice but to act. It’s not so much an intuitive or data-driven decision that he is due. Toronto, which is in the midst of a major organizational change, was just humiliated by the Maple Leafs at home, during a season where the Lightning made a terrible start to the playoffs.
Kyle Dubas’ contract is about to expire, so they did everything possible at the deadline for trades to make him better. Now is the time. Matthews is the leader of this team. John Tavares might be captain, but they all look up to him to set an example. Matthews must do it tonight.
New Jersey Devils beat New York Rangers by 1.76
The Devils were humiliated in their home building by the Rangers’ veteran players, Chris Kreider and Vladimir Tarasenko, along with younger players such as Adam Fox who had four assists.
Igor Shesterkin will be a tough opponent for the Devils on Thursday, and I am confident this young team can rally. The Devils’ head coach Lindy Ruf called the team a rebellious group, which they will have to show tonight on their home ice Wunderdog NHL consensus.
Winnipeg Jets beat Vegas Golden Knights 2,35
The Jets were expected to win Game 1, but I didn’t expect them to do it in such a way. The Jets’ entire roster looked like they had been shot from a cannon. In Game 1, they had the upper hand in the most important metrics that are publicly accessible and outscored the Golden Knights.
The Jets didn’t just score early, but they also held the lead in expected goals and shot attempts in each of the three 5-vs-5 periods and all other situations. They even doubled the Golden Knights in terms of high-danger chances. They not only excelled overall but also dominated both the Mark Stone line and the Jack Eichel, destroying the Vegas offense. The jets were ready to go.