2020 NHL Playoffs Analysis - Conference Finals Picks

2020 NHL Playoffs Analysis – Conference Finals Picks

Written by on September 14, 2020

With the 2020 NHL playoffs approaching its season-ending Stanley Cup finals and both, the New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights now, completely desperate to extend their respective conference finals matchups, it’s time to take a look at which two teams will end up competing for this season’s Stanley Cup trophy. Let’s get right to it so you can put your bets against their Stanley Cup odds.

Conference Finals: Who will Reach the Stanley Cup? | NHL Betting Predictions

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders 

The Lightning are up on the Islanders 3-1 in their Easter Conference finals matchup. Tampa Bay completely throttled their conference counterparts int their series-opening 8-2 demolition on Sept. 7. The Lightning took a 2-0 series lead by shutting out the explosive Isles 2-0 in Game 2 before New York got some revenge by recording a thrilling 5-3 win in Game 3. 

However, Tampa Bay flexed their muscles again to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in their convincing 4-1 win on Sunday. Now, the Lightning are one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals. 

“All the guys are pretty excited to play for the big prize, but we have business to do here,” said goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has played every minute of every Lightning game this postseason. “We have to win the fourth one first.”

Prediction

Not only are the Lightning up 3-1 over the Islanders, it’s how, they’ve gotten there that reveals this series is effectively over, whether that gets done in Game 5 or Game 6. If Tampa Bay’s mind-boggling eight-goal explosion in Game 1 wasn’t enough to convince you that Tampa Bay is headed to the Stanley Cup Finals, the fact that they’ve held the Islanders t one goal or less in two other wins should be enough to sway even the most ardent Islanders fan and NHL betting enthusiast that once believe New York could win this series. 

Series Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning in 5

Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights

I’ll get right to it by saying that, not only was Vegas my pick to represent the Western Conference finals in this year’s Stanley Cup finals, but to actually win it all. Now, down 3-1 against the Dallas Stars, Vegas is fighting an uphill battle in order to get past the Stars and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. 

The good news is that Vegas has suffered all three losses by a single goal, so it’s not like they’ve gotten dominated by the Stars. Not only that, but Vegas got the most convincing win of the series by taking out Dallas 3-0 in Game 2. The Golden Knights have outshot and outplayed the Stars for major stretches of every game, but Dallas is getting timely goals and Vegas is really struggling to score.

“You can’t play the shot clock,” said Stars forward Joe Pavelski. “There is a big commitment in our locker room. Would we like better stretches at times? Absolutely. We understand where we’re at, and we haven’t done anything yet. We’re one step closer, but nothing has been accomplished yet, so we’ll just stay focused, try to play our best game of the series (in Game 5).” 

Then, there’s the fact that, since the 1982 playoffs, when the NHL adopted the conference format, teams with a 3-1 lead in the conference finals have won 34 of 35 series. Teams leading 3-1 in any NHL best-of-seven series have won 91 percent of the time. 

Still, the Golden Knights won’t just roll over.

“There’s no quitters in that locker room. I know we’re going to battle till the end,” vowed forward Jonathan Marchessault. 

Prediction

While I believe Vegas is going to go all-out to extend this series, they’ve yet t solve Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin who has turned back an impressive 119 of 125 shots in the series. 

“I just try to find the puck and react to it,” Khudobin said. “I don’t know if it’s luck or whatever, but let’s call it luck.” 

Luck or not, I’m now going with Dallas to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, although I’m going with Vegas to extend this series one more game by winning Game 5 on Monday night.

Series Pick: Dallas Stars in 6


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