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NHL Playoff predictions

Four playoff games to add on to day four of the NHL playoffs. These four games will all be the second games of the series which currently sit 1-0 in a best of seven formats.

Predictions today will take into consideration what occurred in the first matchup between the two teams and where the series is expected to go from here.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers

Pittsburgh won game one on the road in triple overtime in one of the most entertaining postseason hockey games of the century. The Rangers went up 2-0, only to blow the lead and then blow a 3-2 lead as well. 

Game 1 was played over a whopping 106 minutes of clock time; the players were visibly exhausted in the middle of the second overtime. Evgeni Malkin ended the game with a beautiful redirect goal towards the beginning of the third period, ending the game abruptly after an intense build-up.

Pittsburgh generated a ton of chances, which was a bit shocking due to the hostile environment that Rangers fans created. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin had a fantastic game, but in the end, his team didn’t help him out enough by putting up goals.

The Rangers will be ruthless on Thursday, and win game two at home with ease to make up for their poor offensive performance on Tuesday. Expect New York to head to Pittsburgh with one of the most entertaining matchups of the playoffs tied one apiece.

Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers

The Panthers were the best team in the regular season this year, and they were proving that two periods into Tuesday night’s game, one matchup with the Capitals. But, leading 2-1, the Panthers conceded twice in two minutes midway through the period and ultimately fell 4-2. 

Caps’ goalie Vitek Vanecek played fantastic, allowing just two goals on only 32 shots. All around, it was a spectacular performance from Washington and a subpar showing from the NHL’s best team.

For a team leading the league in goals scored, the Panthers came up dry in their return to the playoffs. Game 2 will be electric, with Florida needing a win to avoid heading to Washington down 2-0 in the series. 

The Panthers will win emphatically on Thursday, and they won’t let up when they head on the road.

Nashville Predators @ Colorado Avalanche 

Colorado absolutely smashed Nashville in Game 1, leading 5-0 after the first period, including two goals, 22 seconds apart from another, in the first three minutes of the contest.

They only got off 13 shots against opposing goaltender David Rittich, but ⅖ of them went into the back of the net. Rittich was pulled after just one period, but the onslaught didn’t stop there. 

Backup Connor Ingram entered an already lost game and faced another 32 shots, 30 of which were parried. Matt Duchene was able to slot home a couple of postseason goals, but they were matched by Colorado. 

The 7-2 finish has to be concerning for Nashville as the electric offensive showing by the Avalanche proved why they are one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Finals come summertime. Nashville is no match for the firepower of Colorado, and at home, they’ll go up 2-0 on the less than impressive Predators.

Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames

A fantastic defensive outing from both squads in Game 1, Dallas was able to stop Calgary’s high-powered attack. But, for a team that loves to score, they were ultimately held to a 1-0 loss after Lindholm slotted away a finish for the Flames just five minutes into the game.

55 straight minutes of scoreless hockey, and just 42 total shots in the game, the hard-fought match was well earned by the Flames.

Calgary goaltender Jacob Markstrom had to make just 16 saves en route to a shutout in game one of this postseason. The odds of Dallas shooting the puck that few times again in this series is very unlikely.

Their game two matchups on Thursday will be higher scoring; that is almost a guarantee. But Calgary will find ways to score on the poor Stars defense and ultimately go up in the series 2-0 as they head to the Lone Star State. 

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