Round 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to get underway Tuesday, May 17th. The four matchups are Florida vs Tampa Bay, Carolina vs New York, Colorado vs St. Louis, and Calgary vs Edmonton.
We’re back with our Round 2 NHL Playoff predictions after going 8-for-8 in our Round 1 predictions. While we didn’t predict the correct number of games for every series, we did correctly pick each series winner for Round 1.
Will we keep it rolling with our Round 2 NHL Playoffs predictions? We’re confident in our Round 2 picks after crunching all the numbers and thoroughly analyzing each matchup.
Here are Round 2 Predictions for the 2022 NHL Playoffs:
Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning
The Florida Panthers will be out for revenge when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2 of the 2022 NHL Playoffs. The Bolts eliminated the Cats in six games during Round 1 of last year’s postseason. Florida had the highest-scoring offense during the regular season and added Philadelphia superstar Claude Giroux at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, the same reasons the Panthers lost to the Lighting last year are the same reason we’re predicting them to lose again this year. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy wasn’t at his best in Round 1, but he’s significantly better than Florida’s two goalies. Furthermore, the Panthers went 0-for-17 on the power play in Round 1 and now have to face Tampa’s elite penalty kill. The Brayden Point injury is worrisome, but Tampa Bay’s superior defense and goaltending will lead them past the Panthers once again.
Prediction: Lightning in 6
Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers
Much like the Panthers vs Lightning series, the other Eastern Conference matchup is a rematch of a recent series. The Hurricanes and Rangers meet in Round 2 after the Canes swept New York in the Qualifying Round of the 2020 Playoffs. While both rosters have changed in that time period, the core pieces remain the same. Picking New York in this series means predicting NYR goalie Igor Shesterkin to return to form vs the Canes. He had a few great showings in Round 1 but struggled in road games at Pittsburgh. Carolina goalie Antti Raanta, meanwhile, looked rock solid vs the Bruins in the opening round.
Aside from goaltending, there isn’t much pointing to the Rangers here. The Canes had the second-best Corsi percentage in the regular season, while the Rangers were bottom-10. Carolina’s home-ice advantage is significant, as they are 33-8-4 at PNC Arena this season. Even if Shesterkin can steal a game or two at MSG, the Rangers will struggle in Carolina’s electric home arena. Barring an otherworldly performance from Shesterkin, the Canes should handle the Rangers convincingly in this series. Look for shutdown blueliner Jaccob Slavin to continue receiving praise as he shuts down the Rangers’ stars and propels the Canes to the Eastern Conference Final.
Prediction: Hurricanes in 5
Colorado Avalanche vs St. Louis Blues
Is there any team capable of slowing down the Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs? The Avs were the only team to sweep an opponent in Round 1, as they eliminated the Nashville Predators in four games. The quality of the opponent certainly improves for Colorado in Round 2 with the St. Louis Blues. This is a team that scored four-plus goals in 12 straight games during a late stretch in the regular season. They also took down a very impressive Minnesota team in six games during Round 1. Unfortunately, their run will likely come to an end against this star-studded Avs team.
When these two teams met in Round 1 last year, it wasn’t even close. Colorado swept the Blues in four games and outscored them by a 20-7 margin. St. Louis’ roster has improved in areas since that time, but the goaltending remains the same. Blues fans are counting on Jordan Binnington going on a run similar to 2019, but the reality is the netminder posted an ugly .901 save percentage in the regular season and lost his starting gig. This is a determined Colorado team that has too much talent to be denied by the Blues. Making us more confident in the pick is a devasting injury to top-four Blues’ d-man Torey Krug.
Prediction: Avalanche in 5
Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers
The Battle of Alberta in Round 2 of the NHL Playoff is a hockey fan’s dream. What makes it sweeter is that both clubs had to win a Game 7 to get here. Connor McDavid went beast mode in Round 1, but it won’t be as easy against this elite Flames’ defense and goaltending. Jacob Markstrom had a Vezina-calibre season in the Calgary crease and is a significantly better goaltender than Edmonton’s Mike Smith. It is a bit concerning, however, that the Oilers got four goals past Markstrom on two different occasions this season. If Edmonton was fully healthy, we might be leaning Oilers on the strength of McDavid. Top defenseman Darnell Nurse is reportedly playing through a leg injury, while superstar forward Leon Draisaitl has an ankle sprain. Calgary averaged 41 shots per game in Round 1 and their well-balanced offense will overpower a shaky Oilers’ blueline that has cost the team in previous postseasons.
Prediction: Flames in 7