The NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs are here and that means, for the first time in 3 seasons, we get a full playoff hockey environment with fans, and there will be nothing like it. The playoffs start Monday, May 2nd and the Stanley Cup Finals and the season will wrap up by the end of June. With the details out of the way, let’s jump straight into the predictions.
We will start with the full Western Conference bracket, and then move onto the Eastern Conference side.
West Round 1:
Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators
The Avalanche have looked sharp all year, finishing with the second-most points in the NHL. I simply think they will overwhelm the Preds, despite losing to them in the final week of the regular season. Colorado in 5.
Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues
I think this easily will be the most entertaining series to watch in the first round. These teams were separated by just 4 points in the regular season. When they did meet in the regular season, the Blues took all 3 games, but 2 of those wins came in OT. However, the Wild can explode at any time and give you a rough time. I think they will be able to do that 4 times, and take the series in 7.
Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars
I think this series will be similar to the Nashville vs Colorado series. The Flames overpower the Stars and win in 5.
LA Kings vs Edmonton Oilers
My LA Kings are back in the playoffs. This time, they’re playing for Dustin Brown, who will be retiring after their playoff run this season. The Oilers meanwhile are led by their star duo, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who both put up over 100 points this season. While they may not get help at times, they can win you games alone. I think they’ll do that enough in the series against a somewhat inexperienced Kings team, winning in 6.
West Round 2:
Avalanche vs Wild
This series will be yet another gritty one for the Wild. While I’ll expect them to go down early in the series due to the fatigue of the 7 game series vs the Blues, I think they’ll be able to get it together and make a comeback to beat the Wild. Wild in 7.
Flames vs Oilers
A good old-fashioned battle between two Canadian teams. In this matchup, I will continue to ride the Connor McDavid bandwagon, and take his Oilers in 6.
Western Conference finals:
Wild vs Oilers
This Western Conference Finals matchup will produce a lot of goals. However, Edmonton’s duo will finally be overmatched by an overall better team, and the Wild will advance to the Cup finals, winning in 6.
Now to the East:
East Round 1:
Florida Panthers Vs Washington Capitals
The Panthers have simply been elite this season. They’ve never fallen off and come in with the best record in the NHL. However, they have a worthy first round opponent. It’s the man who will never stop scoring Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. And, hey, I’m here for Ovi to sprinkle his goal scoring magic once again. The Capitals take out the overall #1 seed, and win in a thrilling 7 game series.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
The Leafs are back in the playoffs, finally. However, don’t get too excited Toronto fans. You’re playing the two time defending champions. The Lighting have more experience, and that will win out in this series. Lighting in 6.
Carolina Hurricanes Vs Boston Bruins
I think out of all the Eastern Conference playoff teams, I have found myself watching these 2 teams the most throughout the regular season. The Bruins ended the season on 107 points in a tough division. While Carolina has looked good, I’m believing in the Bruins. Boston in 6.
New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
I’m a simple man, I see Sidney Crosby in a round one series, I take him. This may be the Pens main core last chance to get another ring. I don’t think they’re going out this early. Penguins in 6.
East Round 2:
Capitals vs Lightning
The Caps will obviously have a lot of momentum coming off beating the Panthers, but a 7 game series will put a lot of tread on their tires. The Lightning meanwhile will be ready, and easily take the series in 5 games.
Bruins vs Penguins
This is quite the matchup right here. The atmosphere will be electric. Like I said before, this is maybe the Penguins core last chance to win the cup, they’re not going to go down yet. Penguins in 6
Eastern Conference Finals:
Lightning vs Penguins
Two experienced teams that will both be able to play the style they want at times. This series is destined for 7 games, and I think the Lightning will take it in a OT thriller.
Stanley Cup Finals:
Wild vs Lightning
A 3 peat in any sport, especially hockey is almost unfathomable. There are so many variables and a special group is needed to pull it off. I think the Lighting have that special in them. The Lighting complete their historic 3 peat, and secure the Cup in 6 games.
There are my predictions for this years Stanley Cup Playoffs. I think there will be a lot of upsets and a lot of chaos, but the team that will keep its cool will take it all. Enjoy this summer of playoff hockey folks, there’s nothing like it.