Blue Jackets at Lightning | OddsShark Matchup Report
Opening NHL Odds: Lightning -310 Favorites
The Blue Jackets are obviously big underdogs to take this series, but they do have some value to win at least one road game against the Lightning. Remember just a year ago, Columbus won the first two games at Washington in the first round before dropping four in a row. Of course the Capitals used that as a springboard en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup. The Blue Jackets are one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs, winning seven of their last eight games, although they were favored in six of them. Tampa Bay tied the NHL record for most wins during the regular season with 62 but carries a lot of pressure to win the Cup.
Penguins at Islanders | OddsShark Matchup Report
Opening NHL Odds: Penguins -130 Favorites
The Penguins opened as small road favorites but have already seen the line shift toward the home team, as the Islanders are now in that role at most books. New York will begin the series at Nassau Coliseum where the team has a much bigger home-ice advantage than at the Barclays Center, and that could be the key early on. The Islanders have not owned a home-ice edge in the postseason since 1988 when they also hosted the same opponent. Pittsburgh blew a chance to earn home ice in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers as a -300 home favorite on Saturday, with the total going OVER for the first time in five games.
Blues at Jets | OddsShark Matchup Report
Opening NHL Odds: Blues -115 Favorites
The Blues find themselves as small favorites to win the series but small road underdogs in Game 1 after opening as small favorites for the series opener. While the Jets went 25-12-4 at home during the regular season, their opponent went 21-13-7 on the road, which was one of the best records in the Western Conference. Winnipeg also went 4-5-1 in its last 10 games to close out the regular season – blowing a chance to win the Central Division – compared to 8-1-1 for a St. Louis team that nearly stole the title away in the final week. These teams have only met once since November 24, with the Blues winning 1-0 as +180 road underdogs on December 7. The Jets had won the previous four meetings along with 11 of 13 in the series.
Stars at Predators | OddsShark Matchup Report
Opening NHL Odds: Predators -185 Favorites
This series could very well come down to goaltending, as Dallas netminder Ben Bishop was one of the best in the league when healthy. Bishop blanked the Wild 3-0 in the regular-season finale on Saturday, with the Stars rewarding their backers as -155 home favorites. He had missed the previous five games with a lower-body injury, so his health remains a concern. The Predators are riding a three-game winning streak into the playoffs though behind a rejuvenated offense that totaled 11 goals during that stretch to help win the Central title.
Golden Knights at Sharks | OddsShark Matchup Report
Opening NHL Odds: Sharks -110 Favorites
This figures to be a very physical series, and home ice may not even be a factor. Dating back to last year’s second-round playoff matchup, the visitor has won five of the past nine meetings. That would help explain why the Golden Knights are small favorites to advance past the Sharks in this series again even though they are now small road underdogs in Game 1 after opening as a pick’em matchup. Again, the key could be goaltending, with San Jose’s Martin Jones struggling through the worst season of his career and Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury recently returning to action.