Another round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books, meaning the crop of remaining NHL teams has once again been halved. The Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes advanced past the Seattle Kraken, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New Jersey Devils, respectively.

The way fans feel about a playoff series before the puck drops in Game 1 will likely be much different than how they feel about the series once it’s handshakes. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back on the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and giving each series a letter grade.


Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils (‘Canes win series 4-1) – Grade: C-

Heading into the series, this pairing looked like it may be perfect for playoff hockey. Both teams showcase balance up and down the lineup with young talent trying to prove themselves in playoff hockey.

Unfortunately, the watchability of this series left much to be desired.



Not only was the 4-1 series finish anti-climactic, but the games themselves were almost entirely blowouts as well. Obviously Jesper Fast’s Game 5 overtime winner was electric, but other than that the slimmest margin of victory was FOUR GOALS! In fact, none of the first four games even had a one-goal game anytime past the second intermission.


Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers (Panthers win series 4-1) – Grade: B-

Anything involving the Leafs in the playoffs is sure to draw a lot of intrigue, whether it’s through fandom or hatred. This second round series vs. the Panthers was no different.

While the series ended up being a little lopsided in the Panthers favourite, there was still a lot to like here. The “We Want Florida” hoopla, the villain roles of Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett, the masterclass of Sergei Bobrovsky, and the continuation of a never-dying narrative regarding the Leafs falling on their face in playoffs (yes, we know they made it through the first round).



On top of that, all the games were close on the scoresheet. Game 1 would prove to be the biggest goal differential, as that 4-2 Panthers win was the only game not to finish as a one-goal affair. Toss in a couple overtimes and we’ve got a lot of entertainment value.



If the Leafs had managed to extend the series a little longer, this series certainly had potential for the best of the second round.  


Vegas Golden Knights vs. Edmonton Oilers (Knights win series 4-2) – Grade: B+

The Vegas Golden Knights officially squashed any chance for Canada to bring the Cup north of the border for the first time in 30 years. While the groan from Oilers fans may be deafening loud, it shouldn’t take away from the entertainment of this series.

Two high-flying offences certainly lived up to their reputations in this series with an average of nearly SEVEN goals per game! This also may be an indication of shaky goaltending, but that also just makes for entertaining hockey, right?



While the Oilers lost the series, Leon Draisaitl was a highlight in it. It will be hard to forget his four-goal performance in Game 1 that the Oilers still lost. On top of that, Jack Eichel has shown that he has the jam to compete in playoffs, and he has now officially defeated the only man drafted before him in Connor McDavid.

Finally, this series had bad blood, and NOTHING makes for more entertaining hockey than bad blood. Between the suspensions of Alex Pietrangelo and Darnell Nurse, the “F--- around and find out” comment from Evander Kane, and Draisaitl coldly pulling his hand away in the handshake line… it’s safe to say this was the most confrontational series we’ve seen this postseason.



Dallas Stars vs. Seattle Kraken (Stars win series 4-3) – Grade: A

The clock struck midnight on the Seattle Kraken’s Cinderella story, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the scrappy underdogs. After a gruelling seven-game series against the Avs, the Kraken found themselves heading back to Game 7 against Dallas. Incredible.

On Dallas’ side, there was more than enough to celebrate in terms of entertainment. Roope Hintz, take a bow! Joe Pavelski, are you SERIOUS? Wyatt Johnston, WHAT A GOAL!



The Stars and Kraken put up the most goals per game on average in the second round with nearly 7.5 lamps lit.

Game 1 really set the tone with a 5-4 OT thriller, highlighted by Joe Pavelski’s four-goal performance in a losing effort, and Yanni Gourde’s OT winner. Game 7 was a tight 1-0 game until Johnston buried a beauty.



The only thing keeping this series from A+ status was that fact that there were a number of blow outs. Otherwise, this pairing was top notch.

Do you agree with the rankings? Let us know @BarDown!