The first round of the NHL playoffs has come to a close and we are looking ahead to the second round. NJ online sports betting players witnessed some incredible upsets in the opening round of the NHL postseason as hockey once again displayed it has far more parity than other major sports. The top four seeds in the playoffs, all division winners this regular season, fell in the first round of the playoffs. That leaves all four wild card teams still alive in the chase for the Stanley Cup. Those who made NHL playoff predictions on some early upsets are rolling in the dough, while others are looking to make up for it with some conference semifinals sports betting picks.
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Before making any New Jersey online sports betting NHL playoffs predictions, take a tour of all the NJ sportsbooks including the SugarHouse Sportsbook app. There are plenty of promotions to take advantage of for all customers who create an account at SugarHouse Sportsbook NJ. With reliable lines for all sports including hockey, we are using NHL playoff odds from the SugarHouse Sportsbook app to make NHL picks as we near the Stanley Cup Final!
NHL Playoffs Betting Picks - Lines From SugarHouse Sportsbook App
AROUND THE LEAGUE: The themes of the first round were division winners losing in disappointing fashion and thrilling Game 7s to close out series.
In an epic Game 7 comeback, the Carolina Hurricanes won a playoff series for the first time since 2009. The defending-champion Capitals held a two-goal lead in the second period, but the Hurricanes stormed back, survived overtime and capitalized in double overtime for a thrilling victory. This comes just one night after the Bruins delivered some Game 7 misery to the Maple Leafs with a 5-1 win and the Sharks incredibly and controversially overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period before winning in sudden-death overtime. It only took nearly two seasons, but the Vegas Golden Knights have officially lost a playoff series to a Western Conference team.
Ice Time With Sauce: Free NHL Conference Semifinals Picks *SugarHouse Sportsbook lines as of April 24 at 10:30am*
Columbus Blue Jackets (+127) vs. Boston Bruins (-157)
After stunning the top overall seeded Lightning with a first-round sweep, the Blue Jackets are once again underdogs against the Bruins on the SugarHouse Sportsbook app.
In an impressive four-game dismantling that shocked NHL fans and sports betting NJ online players alike, the Blue Jackets owned Tampa Bay in every aspect. That includes special teams, which was a reversal of trends from the regular season. We think those trends show themselves again against a much more physical and defensively responsible Bruins team. Boston just went through a seven-game war with Toronto while Columbus sat home and waited, but are they rested or rusty? It was the latter for the Lightning against Columbus last round, and we think it’s the latter for the Blue Jackets against Boston.
Columbus can continue to call themselves David to everyone else’s Goliath, but they aren’t shocking anyone here the way they did last round. Boston has a game suited to wear down the Blue Jackets while producing offense, so the Bruins are the NHL series pick, and likely in six games if we had to choose.
Series Pick: Boston Bruins (-157)
Additional Bet: Over 5.5 Games (-190)
Carolina Hurricanes (-103) vs. New York Islanders (-121)
After pulling off a double-overtime win in Game 7 against defending-champion Washington, Carolina is slight underdogs against the Islanders in the second round, according to Sugarhouse Sportsbook.
New York was an incredible defensive team all season long and although sweeping Pittsburgh was stunning, them winning the series isn’t at all. They’ve gotten great goaltending all season, play a strong defensive structure and they do not beat themselves, which is something NJ sports betting online players should look for deep in the postseason even if a team doesn’t possess a flashy offense.
We think this comes down to which defense and non-star goalie plays better, and out NHL pick is Robin Lehner and the Islanders in that regard. We’ll take strong defense over strong offense any day when teams are evenly matched, making New York in six or even seven games part of our NHL playoffs predictions.
Series Pick: New York Islanders (-121)
Colorado Avalanche (+120) vs; San Jose Sharks (-148)
The Sharks pulled off a stunning Game 7 comeback to defeat Vegas, and now they’re favorites on Sugarhouse Sportsbook to advance beyond the Avalanche in the second round.
Colorado knocked off the Western Conference top seed in Calgary after clearly being taken light by the Flames following Game 1. The top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen had for 21 points in the five games as they steamrolled the Flames, but we wouldn’t count on it going that way again. Playoffs are a different animal, but let's not forget the Sharks defeated the Avalanche all three times this season and were an awful matchup for them.
After San Jose’s miraculous Game 7 win, it’s hard to see them losing to Colorado, especially with the confidence they just gained in round one. Goaltender Martin Jones is at the top of his game, as is the San Jose power-play unit, which scored four goals in the third period of Game 7 last round. This is another series where we think the time off hurts the team who won quickly last series, and Colorado is taking nobody by surprise in the second round. San Jose is playing several notches above where a team like Calgary was, so give us the Sharks as our NHL prediction out West, and we’ll call it six games.
Series Pick: San Jose Sharks (-148)
Additional Bet: Sharks -1.5 Games (+140)
Dallas Stars (+135) vs. St. Louis Blues (-167)
Both the Blues and Stars pulled off first-round upsets, and now St. Louis is a rather heavy favorite against Dallas on the SugarHouse Sportsbook app.
St. Louis was famously in last place at the start of 2019, and have turned that into a playoff series win and possibly more. They got a new coach, Jordan Binnington provided stability in net and the team’s depth and commitment to its style started to become noticable. They shut down one high-powered opponent already in the Winnipeg Jets, but can they do it again?
Our NHL series pick here is the Stars because Dallas is the more versatile team. They have the top offensive line in the playoffs so far (Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin & Alexander Radulov), veteran defensive playmakers and stellar goaltending. Both goalies give you a reason to believe they can help carry their team to another series win but when it comes to the upstart Binnington and Dallas’ Ben Bishop, we are going with Bishop’s extensive experience deep the postseason. Plus, they defeated a Nashville team that feels like a better version of the Blues in some ways and we think they keep that train moving to the Western Conference Final.
Series Pick: Dallas Stars (+135)
Additional Bet: Over 5.5 Games (-175)
Best of luck!
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