We now have two teams just a game away from reaching the conference finals as we move through the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Three of the four series remaining in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs are now through four games and each conference has one team just a game away from getting within one series of the Stanley Cup Final.
There have also been blowouts throughout this second round, including the recent Game 3s.
After losing each of the first two games of their series against the Florida Panthers on home ice, it didn’t seem like things could get much worse for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
However, they’re now not only on the brink of elimination, but on the brink of being swept.
Many fans are feeling like it would be true Leafs' style to go out this way after having not won a playoff series since 2004 until this year’s first round. They simply aren’t matching the physicality of the Panthers.
Toronto’s roster is incredibly talented, but they’re getting hit anytime they touch the puck, and they aren’t doing the same to Matthew Tkachuk and the Panthers.
Game 4 will be in Florida, so they’ll need to address that, and quickly, to stay alive.
At 39/10 the Panthers lie behind only the 11/4 Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup outright market.
For a series that features two of the top defensive teams throughout the regular season, we’ve seen quite a lot of goals. Just as surprisingly, all four games of this series have been blowouts.
The Hurricanes took each of the first two games by final scores of 6-1 and 5-1.
However, the Devils were no stranger to that as they had an almost identical experience in the first round against the New York Rangers.
When the series shifted to New Jersey for Game 3, they responded in a big way with an 8-4 win.
Despite still being at home for Game 4, they were outmatched yet again and the Hurricanes stormed home with another 6-1 win to take a 3-1 series lead.
NHL Playoff update: Panthers have Maple Leafs on the brink
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The Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken series has been as back-and-forth as it gets.
Although the Stars were the clear picks heading into it, the Kraken have proven that their elimination of the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, in the first round was no fluke.
They’ve been getting contributions from a wide range of skaters, but it was the stars on Dallas that showed up in Game 4.
They put up six goals on the Kraken to ultimately win by a final of 6-3, which also makes Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger 4-0 this postseason following a loss.
After tying up the series at 2-2, Dallas is now 10/21 to win the series against 7/4 Seattle.
The only series in the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs that is just three games in is between the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights.
There’s been strangely long breaks between games and each matchup has been a multi-goal victory.
After Vegas won a back-and-forth shootout 6-4 in Game 1, the Oilers answered with a convincing 5-1 victory. However, when the series shifted up to Edmonton for Game 3, the Golden Knights got their revenge with a 5-1 victory of their own.
Game 4 remains up in Canada, so it will be on Connor McDavid and the Oilers to answer back again to tie the series 2-2.
The Golden Knights and Oilers are still the top two fancies to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, at 7/4 and 11/5 respectively.
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