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2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second round picks, predictions and odds

The second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs is upon us.

And if I'm honest, there have been more exciting opening rounds — five of the eight first-round matchups ended in five games or fewer. There was very little parity, with all four #1 seeds advancing and three #2s. However, the first round did see two Game 7s.

In a matchup as old as time, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs gave the hockey world a storyline no matter which team won. Ultimately, the Maple Leafs lost early in overtime to extend their record to 0-6 in series-clinching games since 2004.

I feel the hockey world let out a sigh of relief to see the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated after the magic they worked at this year's trade deadline. The Dallas Stars' fourth line scored early in the third period to give them the 2-1 series-clinching victory on home ice.

Here are your second-round matchups:

#1 New York Rangers vs. #2 Carolina Hurricanes

#1 Florida Panthers vs. #2 Boston Bruins

#1 Dallas Stars vs. #3 Colorado Avalanche

#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #2 Edmonton Oilers

Let's get into the second round series previews!

New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes picks and predictions

Series Winner & Total - Carolina Hurricanes (+105) & Series Total Over 6.5 (+165)

Unfortunately, we couldn't get a full second-round series preview as the Golden Knights and Stars still had to wrap up their Game 7 on Sunday night. So, the Rangers and Hurricanes have already kicked off their series.

After scoring three goals in the opening period, the Rangers held onto their lead and closed out a Game 1 victory despite a late push from the Hurricanes in the third period.

Mika Zibanejad scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. If you remember, Zibanejad carried the Rangers to their second-round victory in the Rangers’ 2022 playoff run. He scored goals in four of the final five games of that series and finished with eight points. With three points in the opening game of this series, it seems he's well on his way to continuing that dominance.

The Rangers handled their business against the Washington Capitals convincingly, finishing the series in four games. This series was never close; New York outscored Washington 15-7 and only trailed twice in all four games for a grand total of 3:21 minutes.

The Hurricanes lost just one game to the New York Islanders, but like the Rangers, they dominated their opponents, winning in five games. The Islanders had one of the most demoralizing losses in a playoff series I've ever seen. They had a 3-0 lead after the first period and ended up losing the game 5-3, allowing four third-period goals. It was all but over at that point.

The big question mark will be the special teams battle. The Rangers had the league's third-best powerplay (26.4%) and penalty kill (84.5%), while the Hurricanes had the league's second-best powerplay (26.9%) and the best penalty kill (86.4%).

These teams played three times this season; here is how the games went:

Nov. 2nd - Carolina 1 @ New York 2

Jan. 2nd - Carolina 6 @ New York 1

Mar. 12th - New York 1 @ Carolina 0

These were the top two teams in the Eastern Conference this season, and this will be one of the more exciting series to watch. After losing Game 1, I'll take the value on the Hurricanes.

Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins picks and predictions

Series Winner & Pick - Florida Panthers -1.5 (-115) & Sam Reinhart 3+ Goals (-130)

This was a tad unfair for the Bruins. Two days ago, they had to play a gruesome Game 7 against the Maple Leafs and then travel to Florida for Game 1 against the bigger and badder Panthers, who've had a whole week of rest.

The Panthers won the battle of the Florida convincingly against the NHL point leader Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning. They managed to hold him goalless throughout the whole series; however, he did have seven assists. One of the hardest things to do against the Lightning in the playoffs is to consistently beat Andrei Vailevskiy – well, they did exactly that. Florida outscored, outshot, and out-chanced Tampa Bay, proving that the Panthers deserved to win this series.

The Bruins almost blew a 3-1 series lead to the Maple Leafs, but Jeremy Swayman's play in Game 7 saved the Bruins' season. It wasn't just Game 7; Swayman had a collective .950 S% throughout the series. Although David Pastrnak scored the series-winning overtime goal, he was quiet. He finished with only four points in seven games. Brad Marchand had eight points in the first four games but was held pointless in the remaining three. The Bruins must have Pastrnak and Marchand simultaneously to take down last year's Eastern Conference champions.

These teams played four times this season; here is how those games went.

Oct. 30th - Florida 2 @ Boston 3 OT

Nov. 22nd - Boston 3 @ Florida 1

Mar. 26th - Boston 4 @ Florida 3

Apr. 6th - Florida 2 @ Boston 3 OT

Seeing the Bruins sweep the season series against the Panthers was shocking. However, I don't see that as something they can carry over to the playoffs.

Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche picks and predictions

Series Winner & Pick - Dallas Stars (-125) & Series Leader After Game 4, Tie (+145)

If the Dallas Stars go on to win the Stanley Cup after having to play the two most recent champions in the first two rounds and then the winner of the Pacific Division and the entire Eastern Conference, it could potentially be the best Stanley Cup run of all time.

The Stars managed to squeak by the Vegas Golden Knights on home ice in Game 7, thanks to the game-winning goal from the returning Radek Faksa. Jake Oettinger fumbled in Game 1, allowing four goals on just 15 shots. But Oettinger returned to his 2022 Stanley Cup run against the Flames with a 1.62 GAA and a .942 S%. This will be a tough matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, given they lit up the runaway Vezina trophy leader, Connor Hellebuyck. Oettinger had a 1-2 record, 4.74 GAA and a .858 S% in three games against the Avalanche in the regular season.

The Avalanche made the Jets seem like a cakewalk in the first round after losing all three games against them in the regular season. The big three of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar came through for this Avalanche team, all finishing with nine points in five games. Heading into this series, Alexandar Georgiev was a massive worry for Colorado, and after allowing seven goals in Game 1, he silenced the critics. He had a .933 S% for the rest of the four games. Will he be able to continue this play against a much deeper Stars team will be the question.

These teams played three times this season; here is how those games went.

Nov. 18th - Colorado 6 @ Dallas 3

Jan. 4th - Colorado 5 @ Dallas 4 OT

Feb. 27th - Dallas 1 @ Colorado 5

Apr. 7th - Dallas 7 @ Colorado 4

Colorado won the season series 3-1, but one thing's for sure: both these teams can score against one another. We'll be playing the game total over when these two teams play, but this series is going the distance.

Vancoucer Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers picks and predictions

Series Winner & Pick - Edmonton Oilers (-260) & Zach Hyman 4+ Goals in Series (+100)

It's the Battle of Canada; these are the remaining two Canadian teams. This will be the first time these teams have met in the playoffs since 1992, when the Oilers defeated the Canucks 4-2.

The Canucks defeated the Predators in six games in what might be known as one of the most boring first-round matchups in the entire first round. The series had only 25 goals and averaged 44 shots on goal per game.

In Games 1 and 4, the Canucks had late third-period comebacks to steal those games and, in Game 6, found the only goal of the game, which resulted in the series-clinching goal with 1:30 left in the game. The Canucks had three goalies secure wins for them, with their third-string goalie Arturs Silovs securing the shutout in Game 6 to advance.

The Oilers have a much faster pace and high-end talent up front, which will undoubtedly be a much more difficult test for the young goaltender. If they want a chance to win, I think they’ll need Thatcher Demko back, who’s availability is in serious doubt.

The Oilers continued their dominance against the Kings, beating them in five games for the third straight year in the first round. The powerplay continued to shine, converting on nine of their 20 powerplay opportunities. This is problematic for the Canucks, as they torched the Kings' second-best penalty kill (84.6%) in the regular season. Vancouver had a 90.9% penalty kill in the opening round, but they allowed 22 powerplay opportunities – don't expect to get as lucky against this powerplay.

These teams played four times this season; here is how those games went.

Oct. 11th - Edmonton 1 @ Vancouver 8

Oct. 14th - Vancouver 4 @ Edmonton 3

Nov. 6th - Edmonton 2 @ Vancouver 6

Apr. 13th - Vancouver 3 @ Edmonton 1

Vancouver swept the season series, and the games weren't necessarily close. They outscored Edmonton 21-7, but three of these games were early in the season, and the last match Edmonton was without Connor McDavid. I don't expect the Canucks to repeat this level of success.

Odds mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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