theScore Bet specials: Can DeAngelo, Tkachuk shine in crucial Game 1s?
The other two second-round series begin on Wednesday night. While the matchups are juicy in their own right, there are plenty of enticing storylines within them.
Let's break down a couple of those storylines alongside some theScore Bet specials.
Special: Tony DeAngelo to record 1+ points & Hurricanes to win (+130)
Tony DeAngelo's tenure with the New York Rangers was a mixed bag, to say the least. He showed flashes of brilliance on the ice - especially offensively - while accumulating 97 points over 161 games, equating to 45 per 82. He was particularly effective in 2019-20, piling up 53 points in just 68 games.
DeAngelo followed that up in the worst way imaginable. He found the scoresheet only once in six games to start the 2021 season before engaging in a reported altercation with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. That led to DeAngelo being pulled from the lineup entirely and eventually bought out.
He landed on his feet with the Carolina Hurricanes, signing a one-year deal worth just $1 million. The full story hasn't been written, but, to date, the signing couldn't have worked out much better. DeAngelo put up 51 points over 64 games, picking up at least one point 59% of the time (playoffs included).
He's the team's No. 1 offensive blue-liner and spearheads a potent power play. DeAngelo's being put in every position to succeed offensively, and he figures to have a good chance of doing so against his former team.
The Rangers were often on their heels against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. They ranked dead last in expected goal share and allowed more shots, chances, and goals at five-on-five than all other playoff teams.
Now going up against a dominant five-on-five side, with a potent power play quarterbacked by DeAngelo, the Rangers should give up more than their fair share of chances.
Carolina is favored to win the opening game of the series. If it does, there's a good chance DeAngelo gets involved in the scoring.
Special: Matthew Tkachuk to record 2+ points & Flames to win (+270)
Matthew Tkachuk lives for games against the Edmonton Oilers. He's probably best remembered for his feud with Zack Kassian, but when not mixing it up physically, the star winger is doing serious damage on the scoresheet.
Tkachuk has absolutely terrorized the Oilers over the last couple of years. He has picked up at least a point in 10 of 14 meetings since the beginning of last season, including eight of the last nine. Tkachuk piled up 14 points in those nine games, good for an average of 1.55 per game.
While Tkachuk was pretty quiet by his standards in the first round, he only came one point shy of one per game despite shooting on a goaltender (Jake Oettinger) who posted a .954 save percentage in the series. Not to mention, he missed plenty of time while sitting in the sin bin following fighting majors against Michael Raffl and John Klingberg.
As well as Mike Smith played in the opening round, I have a hard time believing he'll muster up performances close to the level we saw from Oettinger.
The Battle of Alberta is also more prone to offensive outbursts than you'd expect. Three of four meetings this season featured seven goals or more, with the two sides combining for 33. That's a whopping 8.25 per game.
Sure, there was a 14-goal affair mixed in. But the point is - Darryl Sutter or not - there's plenty of potential for fireworks when these sides meet.
If that continues to be the case, that sets up well for Tkachuk - fresh off a 100-point season - to have a big game for the heavily favored Flames.