Stanley Cup Wild Cards Are Holding Their Own in Round 2

Published on 3-May-2019 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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Stanley Cup Wild Cards Are Holding Their Own in Round 2

It's not like what the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche did are anywhere near as rare as what UMBC did to Virginia in the 2018 NCAA basketball tournament.

In both the NHL and NBA post-season, instances of the lowest seed eliminating the top seed in first round play are more frequent but not necessarily common.

And only the 2012 Los Angeles Kings have gone all the way to earn a title.


This season, though, two clubs have a shot at a title, and with every NHL regular-season division winner eliminated, the Avs and Jax have gotta be doing the Why not us? Why not now? mantra.

It's never really a fluke when any team wins a best-of-seven series, but the real test comes when a first-round underdog claims the next one.

The Blue Jackets stole a game in Boston, which compensated for their splitting two on home ice, which happened when the Bruins took Game 4, 4-1.


Coach John Tortorella is deploying every trick in the book -- including the trapping game -- to keep his crew on par with the swifter Bruins, but it's still a tall order.

Their counter starts with Sergei Bobrovsky standing on his head and everyone else matching the Bruins' trademark physicality.


Out West, there's no doubt Colorado's an up-&-coming team, and their youth movement seems to be ahead of schedule.

Hard-core fans realize that Nathan McKinnon is in the upper echelon as a skater with the puck right now. Dude's turning quick strikes into an every-game occurrence, like this one in Game 3:


Dude's also got a baseball player's hand-eye skills, as he displayed in the Avs' 3-0 victory in Game 4:


With both series now squared at 2-2 and both favorites having home ice advantage in the sprint to the finish, both Colorado's and Columbus's situations are even more underdoggy.

Still, Bovada only has them at +115 against Boston's and San José's -135 in each Game 5.


They've earned their cred as regards belonging in the mix this spring.

With the results they've each gotten in a seven-game series, they've seen what the favorites have to throw at them, and they're clearly starting to believe they can handle it.

That's when upsets become a real possibility. Especially for No 8 seeds with allegedly nothing to lose.