Punters Guide to the 2022 NHL Playoffs

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by Rae Dover
| 08/05/2022
Ice Hockey Playoffs 2022

The fun of playoff hockey is soon upon us, as the NHL playoffs finally get underway in early May. The 16 teams that will be fighting for the Stanley Cup this season have been decided, with the top eight from the Eastern and Western Conferences set to do battle. Below, you can find out everything that you need to know about the NHL Playoffs in 2022.  If you are a newcomer to ice hockey, then have a look at our beginner's guide at TrueNorthCasinos.

NHL 2022 Playoffs Schedule

The NHL playoffs will be back to normal for the first time in two years in 2022. The previous two seasons have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which meant travel restrictions ensured that the NHL was forced to adapt.  However, this season, the original format that was used between 2014 and 2019 was reinstated, meaning that the top eight teams from each conference progressed to the playoffs. The NHL playoffs get underway on May 2nd, and will run until the Stanley Cup finals, which will be staged in early June.

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Eastern Conference Contenders

The Eastern Conference has produced the winners of the Stanley Cup in each of the previous two years, and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking for a historic third straight victory in the competition this season. However, it will be more difficult for them this season, as they are set to finish third in the Atlantic Division, below the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs. 

The Panthers certainly look to be the outstanding side in the East this term, as they have picked up the President's Trophy for scoring more NHL points than any other side. Furthermore, they boast an incredible home record, which has seen them lost just seven times at the FLA Live Arena. Scoring goals has been made to look very easy by the Panthers this term, as they have netted on more occasions than any other side in the NHL. However, defensively they may need to improve.  The Toronto Maple Leafs will be one of three Canadian sides in the playoffs. They are second seeds in the Atlantic Division, and have been relentless at the Scotiabank Arena this season. However, memories of their recent setbacks in the playoffs weigh heavily on the minds of fans, which includes their capitulation against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round 12 months ago. But, Sheldon Keefe’s side looks to have the quality to better that performance this time around.  

A good value play from the Eastern Conference may come in the form of the New York Rangers. The Rangers have been consistent both home and away throughout the season, and that could be crucial when the playoff series get underway.

Western Conference Contenders

The big shocks in the NHL have come in the West this season, as the Vegas Golden Knights have missed out on a top-eight finish despite being among the favorites at the beginning of the season. However, there was at least success for a side from California, as the Los Angeles Kings became the first side from the state in two years to qualify for the playoffs.  The Kings could yet have a big part to play in the post-season, as they have been very good on the road throughout the season. Only the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames have recorded more victories away from their home arenas. Canadian side Edmonton Oilers will also be an outside bet in the playoffs, as the side coached by Jay Woodcroft look to win their sixth Stanley Cup crown. The Oilers have been excellent at home throughout the season, but their away record will need to improve if they are to go deep in the playoffs.  

Many will see the Western Conference as a straight shootout between the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames. The Avalanche have been the favorites in the betting throughout the season, and have already confirmed their spot at the top of the conference standings. They have won more home games than any other side in the West, and have the best attacking, and second-best defensive records.  The Flames look more than capable of challenging the Avalanche though, as they look set to end the season in second overall, while they have already captured the Pacific Division ahead of the Oilers and Kings.  

The TrueNorth Stanley Cup Prediction

The Stanley Cup is an unpredictable time of the season, and many hockey betting tips go out the window! Shocks can happen as early as the first round. However, the Avalanche and Flames look like the pick of the sides in the Western Conference, as very few can boast their attacking flair or defensive prowess. We could see the Avalanche just about edging through in the series between the sides, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a thrilling game seven.  

The Eastern Conference is slightly harder to judge, as all sides could beat each other on their best day. It’s hard to pick too many faults in the Panthers offense, but defenses normally win championships.  For that reason, we could see the Rangers win the East and challenge the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals. It may be an outside play at the current prices, but we shouldn’t dismiss the Rangers' challenge, as they have form both at Madison Square Garden, and on the road!

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