NHL Playoffs Picks, Odds: Expert Predictions for Leafs-Bruins, Golden Knights-Stars, Kings-Oilers

We have three games scheduled for Wednesday, with some Western Conference powers set to play the second games of their respective series.

Many fans expressed their displeasure with the Vegas Golden Knights, who again used the long-term injured reserve rule to their advantage. Mark Stone suffered a ruptured spleen that kept him out for part of the regular season in Monday night's Game 1 against the Dallas Stars. Tomas Hertl, acquired at the trade deadline while injured, also scored in the Golden Knights' series opener.

In case it wasn't clear, the defending champions entered this postseason as the ultimate villains. How dare any other team use the LTIR function to its advantage until the next collective bargaining agreement? Especially restricting the salary cap like that? Shame!

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Kings hope to turn the tide after walks by Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman in Game 1. Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs will once again stir up their fans' emotions to play Game 3 against the Boston Bruins. Another 60 minute (and longer) roller coaster ride.

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Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins — Game 3

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

The series is tied at 1-1

Serial Contradictions: Bruins -115, Maple Leafs -105

Key takeaways

  • For the fourth time since 2013, the Leafs and Bruins will play Game 3 in Toronto. The Maple Leafs have won the last two Game 3s against the Bruins, holding the B's to two goals in each game. Also, Auston Matthews scored in both of those Game 3s.
  • Jeremy Swayman is Boston's projected starter for Game 3. Swayman has won each of his last four appearances, including his last three regular season games.
  • You know who could be responsible for a playoff goal? Brad Marchant. Since last season's first-round exit against Florida, he's been scoreless in his last four playoff games.
  • Of course, that can be extended to Mitch Marner, who has 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

Knights lead 1-0

Serial Contradictions: Stars +130, Golden Knights -165

Key takeaways

  • Mark Stone's goal in Game 1 against Dallas extended his 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 has a ways to go before he can match Jonathan Marchessault's scoring streak. The reigning Conn Smyth Trophy winner extended his streak to 11 games when he scored on Monday night. He has nine goals and 16 points in those games.
  • Jason Robertson's Game 1 goal was his sixth against Vegas in a playoff game. In last year's series, Robertson had five goals and six points in six games against the Knights.
  • Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger allowed four goals on 15 shots against Vegas in his team's Game 1 loss. It was the third time Ottinger allowed four or more goals against the Golden Knights.

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Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers — Game 2

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

Oils lead 1-0

Serial Contradictions: Oils -450, Kings +360

Key takeaways

  • Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman had five career hat tricks entering Game 1 of the Kings-Oilers series, but his most recent game against Los Angeles was his first in the playoffs. All six have walked as a member of the Oilers, five of which come from the 2023-24 season and the playoffs.
  • Connor McDavid has scored points in playoff games before. But his Game 1 performance was the first time he had a five-point game in the postseason.
  • Los Angeles Kings goalie Cam Talbot made his first postseason appearance since May 12, 2022, when he was a member of the Minnesota Wild. However, Talbot has just three Stanley Cup playoff wins in his last 12 appearances. He has not finished a game with a save percentage above .900 since shutting down the Vegas Golden Knights as a member of the Wild on May 26, 2021.
  • Anze Kopitar is tied for fifth in playoff goals for the Kings with 24. His next two finishes tied for third with Dave Taylor and Jeff Carter. Luc Robitaille has the most Kings goals in the postseason, with 41, followed by Wayne Gretzky with 29.
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(Photo by Mark Stone and Matt Dussein: Sam Hodt/Getty Images)

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