Stanley Cup semifinal round action continues with an NHL tripleheader today. First up, New York looks to take a 2-0 series lead on Philadelphia in their Eastern Conference series. That is followed by Tampa Bay and Boston who are playing on back-to-back nights in their East series that is tied at 1-1. Dallas and Colorado close out the Wednesday NHL schedule as the Stars have a 2-0 lead over the Avalanche in the West. Scoring is on the rise during semifinal contests.
Quarterfinal scoring averaged 5.42 total goals per game over 43 contests. That number has jumped to 6.14 total GPG as final scores have averaged 4.43 to 1.71 during the first seven semifinal matches. Moneyline underdogs have a 5-2 record and the pups are up 6-1 against puck line favorites. Despite increased scoring, OVER has a slim 4-3 edge against UNDER on game total wagers. Lopsided final scores have been common as winners have a 31-12 total scoring edge.
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NHL Semifinal Playoff Picks - Wednesday, August 26, 2020
New York at Philadelphia – 3:00 PM ET Scotiabank Arena
Philadelphia is looking to even their series after New York posted a 4-0 shutout win in Game 1 on Monday. Veteran Andy Greene scored his first goal of the 2020 playoffs and the Islanders held a slim 1-0 lead heading into the third period. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee pushed the lead to 3-0 before rookie Devon Toews scored his first career playoff goal into an empty net. New York has now won five straight against the Flyers by a combined 22-11 final score.
Shots were even (29-29) in Game 1 and Islanders veteran Semyon Varlamov won the goaltending battle against Flyers rookie phenom Carter Hart. Varlamov recorded a second straight shutout and his scoreless streak is at 136:20 dating back to Game 4 of the quarterfinals against Washington. Scoring depth continues to be a plus for New York as nine different players posted one point in Game 1. Philadelphia has not lost two straight playoff games but I see that happening here.
Semifinal Game 2 Pick: New York Islanders (+100)
Tampa Bay at Boston – 8:00 PM ET Scotiabank Arena
Boston and Tampa Bay are the first teams to play back-to-back games during the semifinal round. The Bruins took a 1-0 series with a 3-2 victory in Game 1 on Sunday. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand both posted one goal and one assist for Boston. Jaroslav Halak stopped 35 of 37 shots to post his fourth straight win since taking over for Tuukka Rask who opted out of the playoffs. Victor Hedman scored twice in the third period but it wasn’t enough for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay evened the series with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 2 last night. The Lightning had more jump on offense, outshooting the Bruins by a 40-25 margin, but both teams scored once during each period. Boston led by one goal twice but Tampa Bay battled back and took a 3-2 lead 10:40 into the final frame. Brad Marchand scored his second goal of the game with 3:58 left on the clock. Ondrej Palat won it for Tampa Bay with his first playoff goal just 4:40 into extra time.
Semifinal Game 3 Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (-110)
Colorado at Dallas – 10:30 PM ET Rogers Place Arena
Looking to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole, Colorado is the designated visitor during Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series with Dallas. The Stars have turned into an offensive juggernaut as they have scored 24 goals during their last five playoff games. Heavy underdogs in Game 1, Dallas led 3-1 after the first period and opened this series with a 5-3 victory. Alexander Radulov (2G- 1A) Jamie Benn (3A) and Tyler Seguin (1G - 1A) led the Dallas scoring attack.
Despite being outshot, by a 40-27 margin, Dallas took a 2-0 series with a 5-2 victory in Game 2. Colorado jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the Stars scored four second period goals and an empty net goal in the third. Anton Khudobin was sharp for Dallas as he stopped 38 of 40 shuts to earn his fifth straight playoff win. Filling in for injured starter Philipp Grubauer - Avalanche backup goaltender Pavel Francouz allowed four goals on 26 shots. That’s a problem for Colorado.
Semifinal Game 3 Pick: OVER 5.5 Total Goals (+100)
SI NHL gambling analyst Roy Larking has been posting game day playoff predictions since August 3rd, 2020. His overall record is 29-25 (+719.23) through Tuesday, August 25th, 2020. While all picks are carefully researched – predicting the future isn’t always easy. Bettors are encouraged to explore a variety of NHL information prior to placing any wagers.