May 19, 2024

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NHL playoff picks, odds: Expert predictions for Leafs-Bruins, Golden Knights-Stars, Kings-Oilers

NHL playoff picks, odds: Expert predictions for Leafs-Bruins, Golden Knights-Stars, Kings-Oilers

We have three games available for Wednesday, including a group of Western powers who are about to play the second games of their series.

Many fans have expressed their displeasure with the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that has once again used the long-term injured reserve rule to their advantage. Mark Stone, who had a ruptured spleen that sidelined him for much of the regular season, certainly looked good against the Dallas Stars in Game 1 on Monday night. Tomas Hertl, who was acquired at the trade deadline while injured, also scored in the Golden Knights' series-opening win.

If it wasn't obvious, the defending champions entered this season as the absolute villain. How dare they use the LTIR function to their advantage like other teams have done and will continue to do until the next collective bargaining agreement? Especially with the salary cap being as restrictive as it is? Shame on them!

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Kings are hoping to turn things around after being led by Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman in Game 1. Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs return home for Game 3 against the Boston Bruins and will once again have their fans' feelings in mind. Another 60-minute (maybe longer) ride on a roller coaster.

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Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins – Game 3

How to watch: 7 PM ET on ESPN, SN, CBC

The series is tied 1-1

String odds: Bruins -115, Maple Leafs -105

Main sockets

  • For the fourth time since 2013, the Leafs and Bruins will play Game 3 in Toronto. The Maple Leafs have won their last two games coming into Game 3 against the Bruins, holding a two-goal lead in each game. Also, Auston Matthews scored in both games.
  • Jeremy Swayman is Boston's projected starter for Game 3. Including his final three games of the regular season, Swayman has won each of his last four games.
  • Do you know who might be deserving of a playoff goal? Brad Marchand. He has not scored in his last four playoff games, dating back to last season's first-round exit to Florida.
  • Of course, we can extend that to Mitch Marner who has scored just one playoff goal in his last 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
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Vegas Golden Knights at Dallas Stars – Game 2

How to watch: 9:30 PM ET on ESPN, SN360

The Knights lead 1-0

String odds: Stars +130, Golden Knights -165

Main sockets

  • Mark Stone's goal in Game 1 against Dallas extended a six-game scoring streak dating back to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against Florida last summer. Stone has six goals and 10 points in that span.
  • However, Stone still has a way to go before equaling Jonathan Marchessault's scoring streak. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner extended his streak to 11 games when he scored Monday night. He has nine goals and 16 points in those games.
  • Jason Robertson's goal from Game 1 was his sixth goal scored against Vegas in a playoff game. In last year's series, Robertson scored five goals and six points in six games against the Knights.
  • Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger allowed four goals on 15 shots in his team's Game 1 loss to Vegas. It marks the third time dating back to last year that Oettinger has allowed four or more goals against the Golden Knights.

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Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers – Game 2

How to watch: 10pm ET on ESPN2, SN, CBC

The Oilers lead 1-0

String odds: Oilers -450, Kings +360

Main sockets

  • Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman has five career hat-tricks in Game 1 of the Kings-Oilers series, but his most recent one against Los Angeles is his first ever in the playoffs. All six have occurred as a member of the Oilers and five of them are from the 2023-24 season and playoffs.
  • Connor McDavid has compiled points in playoff games before. But his performance in Game 1 marked the first time he had a five-point game in the postseason.
  • Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cam Talbot made his first postseason appearance since May 12, 2022, when he was a member of the Minnesota Wild. However, Talbot has only three Stanley Cup Playoff wins in his last 12 games. He has not finished a game with a save percentage above .900 since the Vegas Golden Knights shut out as a member of the Wild on May 26, 2021.
  • Anze Kopitar ranks fifth all-time in Kings playoff goals with 24. His next two goals would put him in a tie for third place with Dave Taylor and Jeff Carter in a tie for third place. Luc Robitaille has the most goals scored by the Kings in the postseason with 41 with Wayne Gretzky second with 29.
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(Photo by Mark Stone and Matt Duchene: Sam Huddy/Getty Images)