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Which team is most likely to pull off a 2nd round upset?

May 30, 2021, 11:28 AM ET [8 Comments]
HockeyBuzz Hotstove
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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on which underdog is most likely to pull off a 2nd round upset.

Todd Cordell

If Toronto wins against Montreal I do think all four favorites will advance. That said, I think Carolina is going to give Tampa Bay a heck of a fight.

They’re a terrific 5v5 team (both sides had 53 xGF%’s in the regular season), their special teams are fantastic, and Alex Ndeljkovic has given the Hurricanes all they could possibly hope for between the pipes. He ranked 6th in Goals Saved Above Expected during the regular season and, on a per start basis, cracked the top-5. He’s not Andrei Vasilevskiy, but he’s been very good and given the Hurricanes true stability between the pipes; which is all they need to contend with how good the rest of the roster is.

In the end, I think Tampa Bay has more top talent and depth – I guess that’s to be expected when you spend $100 million – and that should be enough to see them through. There’s just no real weakness for Carolina to exploit. But, again, I think the Hurricanes will give the defending champs a run for their money.

Sean Maloughney

Assuming that the Leafs do advance I think that the Winnipeg Jets could still make some noise. Despite limping through the end of the regular season, the Jets did come on strong against the Oilers and not only found a way to shut down McDavid and Draisaitl but also get some healthy scoring from all lines.

The Jets have the top end skill to keep up with the Leafs in Ehlers Scheifele Connor and Wheeler but also deeper with a great third line with Copp Lowry and Appleton. Assuming Tavares is out long term the Jets ability to roll out 4 lines could be too much for Toronto.

Last but certainly not least is Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck was red hot against the Oilers and while Edmonton had their own issues Hellebuyck turned aside plenty of grade A chances. While the defense may be suspect for Winnipeg the last line of defense is about as elite as they get.

numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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