Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? The first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books, and hockey fans could not have asked for a more entertaining round.
Among the storylines after the first round are the eliminations of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins and the defending Stanley Cup champions Colorado Avalanche.
The Seattle Kraken, who defeated the Avs, picked up their first series victory in franchise history. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs (2004) and New Jersey Devils (2012) ended two of the longest playoff series win droughts in the NHL.
Who will come out on top in round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Now, as we head to round two, the storylines are new and just as exciting. My personal favorite is that the most recent championship among the eight remaining teams was in 2006 when the Carolina Hurricanes won. In other words, we’re going to get a fresh champion this season.
The quest to become that champion starts on Tuesday, and a few members of our staff here at Puck Prose got together to pick a winner in each second-round series. Without further ado, here are our staff picks for the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carolina Hurricanes vs New Jersey Devils
Matt McGinnis: Devils in six
Richard Jelinek: Devils in seven
Jaroslav Husvar: Hurricanes in six
Vinnie Parise: Devils in six
Brendan Semon: Devils in five
While everyone may not agree on the same winner in this series, there is one thing that can be agreed upon: This will be a long series.
Both teams played at least six games in their first-round matchup, so it would only be fitting that they’d do so again in round two. These were the top two teams in the Metropolitan Division in the regular season, separated by a single point, so this should be a great matchup.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers
Matt McGinnis: Maple Leafs in five
Richard Jelinek: Maple Leafs in five
Jaroslav Husvar: Maple Leafs in five
Vinnie Parise: Maple Leafs in four
Brendan Semon: Maple Leafs in six
It would appear that our staff is all-in on the Maple Leafs now that they’ve made it out of round one for the first time since 2004. It would also appear that Florida’s upset win over the Bruins does not carry much weight.
If Toronto can play loose now that that massive weight has been lifted off of its shoulders, this could be a quick series. If the Panthers can sew in some doubt as they did against the Bruins, we could be in for a much longer battle.
Dallas Stars vs Seattle Kraken
Matt McGinnis: Stars in seven
Richard Jelinek: Kraken in six
Jaroslav Husvar: Kraken in seven
Vinnie Parise: Stars in six
Brendan Semon: Stars in seven
Once again, our staff is calling for a long series here. Dallas is coming in off a six-game series, while Seattle’s first-ever win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs took seven games.
This series could turn out to be a battle of the goaltenders if Jake Oettinger and Philipp Grubauer can continue to play the way that they did in the opening round. Also, keep an especially close eye on the early portion of the games in this series, as the Kraken have made a habit of scoring first.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Edmonton Oilers
Matt McGinnis: Golden Knights in seven
Richard Jelinek: Golden Knights in six
Jaroslav Husvar: Golden Knights in six
Vinnie Parise: Oilers in seven
Brendan Semon: Oilers in six
There is not as much love here for the Edmonton Oilers as one might expect even though they’ve now eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in the first round in consecutive years.
The Golden Knights had the best record in the Western Conference in the regular season, edging out their second-round opponent by two points.
If Vegas can contain the Oilers’ power play, this series could go in its favor, but if not, Edmonton may get the better of the Knights and our Puck Prose contributors.
If the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs turns out to be anything like the first round, hockey fans won’t want to miss a moment.