NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference - Odds and Predictions for Round 1

The NHL playoffs are set to commence on Wednesday, April 10 at 7PM EST. We at WSN.com take a closer look at the first-round matchups in the Eastern Conference and the odds of each team making the second-round. Be sure to also take a look at our preview of the Western Conference first-round right here.

Tampa Bay Lightning (1st seed) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild card 2)

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a banner year, tying the NHL record by a team for most wins in a season with 62. They finished first in the entire league an by a large margin. Forward Nikita Kucherov took the Art Ross trophy for most points this season and set a new record for the most points in a season by a Russian-born player, ending the year with 128. The Bolts finished first in goals scored, first in shooting percentage, and first on the powerplay and penalty kill. Their goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, had a season record of 39-10-4 with six shutouts.

Simply put, Columbus is in trouble.

The Blue Jackets scraped into the final wild-card spot by impressively going 7-3 in their last ten games of the season. But the finish to their year left much to be desired, especially after what looked like such a strong performance at the trade deadline - making key roster acquisitions in forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. Tampa simply has too much offensive power for Columbus to contain.

Not only do most analysts predict the Lightning to sweep this series four games to none, the Bolts are expected to win the Stanley Cup.

Game one begins at 7PM EST on Wednesday, April 10. You can check out our detailed predictions for the matchup right here.

Odds: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jacket

If you reside in New Jersey, you can bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets, here:

Sportsbook Tampa Bay Lightning Columbus Blue Jackets Link
888Sport NJ -225 +180
BetStars NJ -225 +185

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Boston Bruins (2nd seed) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (3rd seed)

For the second year in a row, the Boston Bruins will meet the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first-round of the NHL playoffs. Last season, the Bruins overcame the Maple Leafs in a thrilling seven-game series, beating them four games to three.

Boston had a massive finish to the season and was the second team this year to hit triple-digits in season points. The team finished fourth overall in goals for and shots. They were also second in faceoff percentage and took the least penalty minutes on average in the league.

However, although Boston is still an extremely strong team, bringing much of the same roster to the table as last season, the Maple Leafs have added a few new x-factors to their team that will keep Boston’s hands full - namely John Tavares and Jake Muzzin. Add to that the fact that Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner will still need to be contained as well. The only wild card for the Leafs was the struggling play of goaltender Frederik Andersen towards the end of the season. If he can rally and regain his confidence, this could prove to be Toronto’s time to move to the second round.

Game one is slated for a 7PM EST start on Thursday, April 11. The Boston Bruins start as the betting favorite to win the series. You can check out our detailed predictions for the matchup right here.

Odds: Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Sportsbook Boston Bruins Toronto Maple Leafs Link
888Sport NJ -159 +130

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Washington Capitals (1st seed) vs Carolina Hurricanes (Wild card 1)

The Washington Capitals won their long-awaited first Stanley Cup last season. And, although it won’t be easy, they do have the tools to repeat as champions.

The Caps finished the season with a 48-26-8 record and ended up winning the Metropolitan division - their fourth division title in a row. Although this will prove to be no easy matchup. There weren’t many differences between these two teams statistically during the season -, especially during Carolina’s strong finish. Washington was the higher scoring team, but Carolina played with more pressure and ended the season first in the league in shots for.

The Carolina Hurricanes ended the NHL’s longest active playoff drought when they claimed their wild card spot. They will put up a fight but it is expected that they just will not be able to keep up with the deeper, more experienced Washington Capitals. Washington open the series as the favorites to make it to the second round.

Game one is set to start at 7:30 PM EST on Thursday, April 11. Click here to see our detailed predictions for the matchup.

Odds: Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes

Sportsbook Washington Capitals Caronlina Hurricanes Link
888Sport NJ -152 +125

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

New York Islanders (2nd seed) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (3rd seed)

The Pittsburgh Penguins return to the playoffs and they return with much of their core from their back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2016 and 2017. This team is battle tested and, statistically, brings more to the table than their opponents.

The Penguins ranked in the top-ten in all major offensive statistics with the exception of faceoff wins. They were sixth in goals scored and fifth in shots. Goaltender Matt Murray had a season record of 29-14-6 and brings the experience advantage over opposing goalie Robin Lehner.

The New York Islanders saw a lot of change this season, with the loss of John Tavares and the addition of Stanley Cup winning coach Barry Trotz behind the bench. The Isles have their work cut out for them. As mentioned earlier, goalie Lehner has little playoff experience - 49 minutes to be exact. The biggest things the Islanders will have to take advantage of are the facts that they allowed the fewest shots against on average this season while Pittsburgh ranked 14th in the league for most shots against. The Islanders also tended to take less penalties than their opponents.

The Penguins are the favorites in the series but it should be expected to take them six, maybe seven games to eliminate the Islanders.

Game one is set to begin on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 PM EST.

Odds: New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Sportsbook New York Islanders Pittsburgh Penguins Link
888Sport NJ -120 -103

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

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