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Rangers, Bruins and Lightning: all for… this!
The first round of the playoffs is behind us. Tonight, the second round gets underway.

For those who want a quick update, here’s the series schedule. Games in Toronto (7 p.m.) and Dallas (9:30 p.m.) start tonight, and those in Carolina (7 p.m.) and Vegas (9:30 p.m.) begin tomorrow.

In the first round, as you can see, there were some surprises. In fact, even though Toronto and New Jersey were higher up the standings, four teams (Tampa Bay, New York, Boston and Colorado) folded sooner than expected.

And when I say faster than expected, I mean much faster.

As a result, several series brackets have been destroyed. Those who didn’t take any chances with their predictions find themselves behind after one round.

For what it’s worth, I predicted the Stars, Golden Knights, Oilers, Hurricanes and Devils, but underestimated the Kraken, Panthers and Maple Leafs.

But will that stop me from playing the game again? No!

So, with just a few hours to go before the start of the second round, here are my predictions for what lies ahead in the coming week – or weeks, actually.

  • Maple Leafs in six against the Panthers
  • Hurricanes in six against Devils
  • Stars in seven against the Kraken
  • Oilers in six against Golden Knights
Big clubs like the Bruins, Lightning, Rangers and Avalanche will be looking at this and wondering what they did wrong not to be one of the eight teams still alive.

After all, at the moment, these clubs are really saying “it was all for… this…”.

When you look at what these teams gave up to lose in the first round, you have to wonder. After all, it’s a high price to pay for not making it far in the playoffs.

Note that I prefer to see a team try to win (rather than the status quo) when it has the chance to do so, but we can still step back and analyze the whole thing.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (a club that hasn’t been scattered by injuries) went out and got Michael Eyssimont, but they mostly emptied their bank of picks to get their hands on Tanner Jeannot, whose injury prevented him from making an impact.

In the short term, Tampa doesn’t look good on this one. It’s a formula that didn’t work in 2023 after years of success. In the short term, it’s not a success, but who knows if Jeannot might do better in the future if he’s healthy.

The Bruins mortgaged next year’s roster in addition to trading at least two first-round picks for rental players. In all, six picks were traded for guys who are free as a bird.

And this morning, they’re not preparing for the second round.

It’s hard to speak against the Avalanche on the cost of deals gone wrong, but when a club wins the Cup and doesn’t make it past the first round the following year, it’s a case of “so much for that” in my eyes. The club worked so hard to overcome injuries during the season.

And of course, the Rangers (Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko) are in a class of their own.

It’s rare that the team that picks up the biggest player at the deadline wins the Cup. The Rangers have picked up two such big players in the space of a few weeks.

Usually, it’s a club like the Maple Leafs (Ryan O’Reilly, for example) or like the Bruins and Lightning – ironically – that goes all the way. The Rangers learned that this year.

The Rangers, on the other hand, let the likes of Ryan Reaves, Julien Gauthier and Samuel Blais go to make room for stars during the season. Normally, a club looks for strength during the season.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for a club like the Rangers in the next few days. Will Gerard Gallant pay?

In gusts

– It’s true.

– Playing in front of a big crowd is motivating for the Remparts. [BPM Sports]

– Indeed it is.

– Gildor Roy is disappointed with his Bruins. [98.5 FM]

– Happy reading.

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