The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are officially underway and the first round is already seeing teams clean out their opponents in a hurry. We’ve had two sweeps and a third is possible this week.
This year’s playoffs are using a unique scheduling plan due to COVID-19. Teams were realigned into four divisions because the league needed a Canada-only division due to quarantine issues up north. The NHL has given told the Canadian government they need a decision by June 1 for figuring out semifinals and potential finals travel questions.
The top four teams in each division earned a playoff berth, with the first two rounds played entirely within each division. The winner of each series within the division will face off in the second round. The winner of each of those ensuing four series will advance to the Stanley Cup semifinals. The semifinals will feature re-sorting of seeds based on regular season record.
The playoff bracket is starting to come into focus. The first division settled is the Central, although the 2/3 matchup still needs to figure out who gets home ice advantage. As of May 11, three division champs have been crowned and the Vegas Golden Knights are likely to claim the fourth.
Here’s a look at how the bracket is shaking out for the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
NHL playoff bracket by second round divisional matchups (through June 10)
No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning lead series 3-1 over No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes
Game 1: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 1
Game 2: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 1
Game 3: Hurricanes 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 4: Lightning 6, Hurricanes 4
Game 5: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 0
No. 4 New York Islanders win series 4-2 over No. 3 Boston Bruins
Game 1: Bruins 5, Islanders 2
Game 2: Islanders 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Game 3: Bruins 2, Islanders 1 (OT)
Game 4: Islanders 4, Bruins 1
Game 5: Islanders 5, Bruins 4
Game 6: Islanders 6, Bruins 2
Montreal Canadiens (4) win series 4-0 over Winnipeg Jets (3)
Game 1: Canadiens 5, Jets 3
Game 2: Canadiens 1 Jets 0
Game 3: Canadiens 5, Jets 1
Game 4: Canadiens 3, Jets 2 (OT)
No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights win series 4-2 over No. 1 Colorado Avalanche
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Golden Knights 1
Game 2: Avalanche 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Game 3: Golden Knights 3, Avalanche 2
Game 4: Golden Knights 5, Avalanche 1
Game 5: Golden Knights 3, Avalanche 2
Game 6: Golden Knights 6, Avalanche 3