<
>
Insider

The top player matchups in each second-round series -- and who has the edge

Blues leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko is going to be seeing a lot of Roman Josi in Round 2. Who has the edge when these two are on the ice? Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

In the first round, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks closely shadowed Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and kept them both scoreless at even strength en route to a four-game sweep of the Calgary Flames.

In the second round, he'll have the greater challenge of trying to shut down the NHL's regular-season scoring leader, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.

The highly anticipated Kesler-McDavid showdown is just one of several critical player matchups that will determine the outcome of the second round. Roman Josi and Nashville's blue line will have to shut down Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues the same way they neutralized Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round. Matt Niskanen and the Washington blue line will have to find a way to shut down Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins without letting Evgeni Malkin's and Phil Kessel's scoring loose. Ryan McDonagh and the New York Rangers can advance only if they manage to contain Ottawa's all-world captain, Erik Karlsson.

Let's take a closer look at each head-to-head matchup and determine which team has the edge in each case: