I’ll keep this short and sweet since I typically hate these sort of posts. It’s the most unpredictable playoffs in all of sports, which is why it’s the best. But I just love throwing my opinion around and eating my words later. So here we go.
Tampa Bay Lightning (1) vs New Jersey Devils (WC2): Lightning in 6
Tampa is very good team. If they dropped to the number two slot I think they would have been in big trouble. They give up a ton of goals, but can score too. The Devils on the other hand might not be deep enough offensively to take advantage of the Bolts struggle, which is why I have them winning in 6.
Boston Bruins (2) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (3): Bruins in 7
I so so so bad want to believe Toronto will win this series. The problem is that Boston is too gifted up front and Toronto lacks the defense to stop them. If they find a way to match the offense then this will be one hell of a series. I’m leaning Bruins just to be safe here.
Washington Capitals (1) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (WC1): Blue Jackets in 6
Probably wrong here, but the Caps have to prove to me they belong in the playoffs. I like Columbus a lot. So underrated when they are playing their best hockey. They cooled off at the tail end of the season, but if they bring the intensity they can steal this series. On the flip side, if the Caps bring it offensively this can be over very quick. Just can’t trust them given their line of work over the past years.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (3): Penguins in 5
The Pens will wipe the face of the Flyers. I don’t even know why I’m giving Philly a game here. The Pens are a veteran group that will come together and go for number 3. The Pens have the best overall offense in the league with arguably 2 of the best 3 players in the game right now with Crosby and Malkin. I should be excited for this in state rivalry matchup but it won’t last long enough to even be fun to watch.
Nashville Predators (1) vs Colorado Avalanche (WC2): Predators in 4
No Varlamov. No Johnson. No shot. Nashville will walk through this series with ease. I could see the Avs stealing a game at home if MacKinnon can score 5 goals, but if I’m a betting man then I just don’t see how I could say that. Nashville is built for a cup and certainly won’t lose a first round matchup against a team who is beat up and just snuck in.
Winnipeg Jets (2) vs Minnesota Wild (3): Jets in 6
I love the Jets. They are my pick to come out of the west. Also EA Sports did a simulator and had the Jets winning the cup. Not surprising since on paper they could be one of the best overall teams in the league. Minnesota is solid, but they don’t have the offensive depth nor the consistency to win this series.
Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs Los Angeles Kings (WC1): Kings in 5
I know I predicted a sweep here and it very well could be. I just didn’t want to hear it if the Knights stole game one….The Kings are not a team I would want to play in the playoffs. When they are healthy they are a scary team to play against. The Knights are inexperienced and the style of play that you need to bring in the playoffs must be elevated. I think the Knights have been playing that elevated game all season and have nothing more to give. Congrats to the Knights though. You had a great season.
Anaheim Ducks (2) vs San Jose Sharks (3): Sharks in 7
I have no idea to be honest. I think this a great matchup and should be a long, exciting series. These teams both have experience, depth, and know each other very well. I think adding Kane to the Sharks offense could give them the spark they need to edge out this series. This is a toss up no matter how you look at it and I am very much pumped to watch.
So that’s my predictions for Round 1. There are a lot of great storylines here and player matchups I’m going to love to watch. I wish I would go into depth into every series, but that would take days to write and the playoff start TONIGHT!!!