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May 17, 2022

NHL Predictions: This week's biggest NHL matches

This week's NHL games

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers predictions

Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers predictions

NHL insight, stats, and odds

NHL Predictions: This week's biggest NHL matches

Inform your NHL predictions ahead of this week's biggest matches with Pinnacle's weekly update, including analysis, team news, and the latest hockey odds.

The eight teams progressing to the second round of the playoffs have now been confirmed after three teams secured their progression in their Game 7 on Saturday before Sunday’s drama saw the New York Rangers and the Calgary Flames both needing overtime to complete the line-up.

Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues predictions

The St. Louis Blues appear to have their work cut out as they take on the top seeds in the Western Conference in the second round, hosting the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of their series on Saturday night.

The Avalanche, led by coach Jared Bednar, swept the Nashville Predators 4-0 in the previous round, and they will fancy their chances against St. Louis, having finished 10 points clear of the Blues in the regular season.

Colorado also won the two most recent of the season’s three meetings between the two sides, including a 4-3 win on their last visit to the Enterprise Center in October.

The Avalanche won 56 of their regular-season games to finish second in the Presidents’ Trophy standings, and will be well-rested having taken care of Nashville at the earliest possible opportunity.

St. Louis won three matches on the spin to oust the higher-ranked Minnesota Wild in the first round in what was something of an upset. The Blues will need the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, David Perron, and Ryan O’Reilly (who all scored five goals against the Wild) to be at their best if they are to have any chance of upsetting the odds once again, although their key player could be goaltender Jordan Binnington, who enjoyed a .943 save percentage (ranked joint-second in the playoffs) and a 1.67 goals against average (third) in the first round.

Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning predictions

The Sunshine State rivalry will likely go up a notch when the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning meet in the second round, with the Amalie Arena the venue for Sunday’s Game 3.

The two teams met in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in the first round last season, with the Lightning running out the comfortable winners as they won the series in six games. 

Tampa, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the New York Islanders' run of four straight titles from 1980-1983, and they perhaps demonstrated their desire for a piece of history in their first-round success over the Toronto Maple Leafs as they were never in front in the series until winning Game 7 on the road.

The Panthers should be a different beast this time around, having won the Presidents’ Trophy by finishing the regular season with the highest number of points, while they were easily the top scorers in the NHL with 340 goals, 25 clear of the next-best Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Panthers also had the best home record in the regular season with 34 wins and just seven defeats while they ended a dismal playoff run by defeating the Washington Capitals in the first round, having not won a playoff series since they reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996.

Clearly Florida have improved on seasons gone by but this is the postseason and Tampa Bay have shown that they are the masters of playoff hockey and will not be relinquishing the trophy without a fight.

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers predictions

The New York Rangers have little time to recover from their first-round exploits against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in which they became the first team in NHL playoff history to record three consecutive comeback victories in elimination games within the same series.

The Rangers are now through to the second round for the first time since a six-game loss to the Ottawa Senators in 2017, and face Metropolitan Division winners, the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes finished six points clear of their second-round opponents in the regular season, helped by winning three of their four meetings with the Rangers, which includes the last two at Madison Square Garden only last month.

Carolina, who boasted the best defensive record in the regular season, can also call on recent playoff success over New York, having swept the best-of-5 qualifiers between the two sides in 2020, and they will be confident of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers predictions

The Calgary Flames needed overtime in Game 7 to get the better of the Dallas Stars and now take on the Edmonton Oilers, who were pushed all the way in a 4-3 series win of their own against the Los Angeles Kings.

Calgary finished seven points clear of the Oilers to win the Pacific Division and secure home advantage for this second-round clash, although Sunday’s encounter will be at Rogers Place where Edmonton were strong in the regular season. Only Colorado could better the Oilers’ 28 wins on home ice in the Western Conference.

Although Calgary have plenty of firepower at their disposal, the key player to their chances of success could be goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who boasts a playoff leading 1.53 GAA and a joint-second ranked .943 percentage. Given that the Oilers have the leading point-scorer Connor McDavid (14) in their ranks, along with the likes of Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane, Markstrom will surely have to be on top of his game.

The four regular-season meetings between the two sides were split 2-2 with the home side victorious in all four games, although Calgary won the two most recent meetings in March by an aggregate total of 12-6. However, the Oilers are 4-1 in five postseason series against Calgary.

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