The Leafs really let Game 1 get away from them and they can’t repeat that performance again. They’ve already shuffled their lines and are already anticipating life without Michael Bunting following his hit on Erik Cernak. His exclusion opens the door for rookie Matthew Knies and the pressure will be on him to provide a spark.
The Rangers had their way with the Devils in Game 1 of their series and their experience and talent shone. Igor Shesterkin looked like the Vezina winner everyone expected him to be. Meanwhile, the Devils looked like a young team going through the playoff gears for the very first time. Their goaltending could have been better. Their power play, a woeful 0-for-4, needs to be better.
People forget that, at one point, the Winnipeg Jets were among the league’s best teams. They’ve underachieved with their core for years, but an early series lead over the Pacific Division champion is a great step in the right direction for the Jets.
Vegas needs more from everyone: their big guns, their power play, their transition game, everything. Yes, that includes their goaltending which already looked the weaker between both teams with Connor Hellebuyck on the other side. But if their offense actually plays to its potential — Jack Eichel had a performance to forget in Game 1 — they can give themselves a chance.
The Avs’ health was a big question mark entering the series, but how many experts thought the reigning champions would start their series against Seattle on the wrong foot? Good on the Kraken for taking it to the Avs with a balanced lineup and even solid goaltending from Philipp Grubauer. Seattle delivering another blow in Game 2 would put the Avs on the ropes — they haven’t lost consecutive games in over a month.
Colorado’s talent might still outweigh Seattle’s own. Mikko Rantanen has already done much of the heavy lifting throughout this season and he could use more help.