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NHL Playoff Update: Leafs and Devils under pressure

The Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils face series deficits, while the Edmonton Oilers are back on track behind exceptional play from Leon Draisaitl.

We saw plenty of upsets to open up each series in the second round of the NHL Playoffs, so the initial primary focus was on whether the favorites could bounce back. 

However, they weren’t all able to answer the bell, so let’s check out where each series stands.

Leafs let down fans again

Toronto Maple Leafs fans have been enduring a long period of disappointment, with the team having not won a Stanley Cup in 56 years. 

What has arguably been worse has been their inability to even make it out of the first round since 2004. 

They finally did so this season, but find themselves 2-0 down to the Florida Panthers. 

After being upset in Game 1 on home ice, the Leafs blew a 2-0 lead in Game 2 to fall once again. 

Now the series heads down to South Beach for Game 3. 

Toronto are still favored to win Game 3, but they have already lost as favorites in each of the first two games, so the pressure is solely on them, particularly as they are on the road.

Devils disappoint in back-to-back games

The New Jersey Devils entered their second-round series following a grueling seven-game series with the New York Rangers. 

Therefore, a rough Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes wasn’t too surprising to see. 

However, following a 5-1 loss with an even worse 6-1 loss doesn’t bode well for Devils fans. 

They’ll get to head home to the Prudential Center in New Jersey for Game 3, but it’s quite the hole to dig themselves out of. 

It’s worth noting that the Devils went down 2-0 to the Rangers in back-to-back 5-1 losses in the first round, so it’s not out of the question for them to bounce back. 

Keep an eye on how they handle their goaltending situation in Game 3.

Stars shut down Seattle’s momentum

There’s no denying that the Seattle Kraken have been the surprise story of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Not only did they eliminate the defending Stanley Cup-champion Colorado Avalanche in the first round, but they also started the second round with an upset over the Dallas Stars. 

However, Joe Pavelski and company quickly bounced back with a dominant Game 2 victory. 

The final score of 4-2 is not wholly reflective as the game felt much worse than that for Seattle. 

The series, of course heads to Seattle for Game 3, although it is Dallas who remain the favorites to take a 2-1 series lead.

Edmonton answer in style

The most recent Game 2 saw us enjoy the Pacific Division rivalry between the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights, and to say the result was never in question would be an understatement. 

After taking a 4-0 lead in the first period, the Oilers were able to take their foot off the gas a bit and cruise to a smooth 5-1 victory. 

Leon Draisaitl continued his incredible 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff run with two more goals to make it 13 thus far. 

With the free-scoring German playing alongside eventual-MVP Connor McDavid, the Oilers could be a huge problem for weeks to come.

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