By Chaten J.
As you all know, the NHL playoffs have begun and it is time to make our predictions, though this article will be published after the start of the playoffs but the picks and predictions were all made before the playoffs officially began. In this article, I will be predicting the winners of each of the eight series that are currently going on. I will start with the western conference and then make my way down until I reach the end and then go over to the eastern conference, so if you just want to see an eastern bracket or a western bracket you can make your way down there now.
Series #1 St. Louis Blues Vs. Minnesota Wild
This series will be a battle of skill versus grit, power versus elegance, both teams will stop at nothing to win. Minnesota is a rough team with an arsenal of skilled offensive players that include the likes of Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek, Miko Koivu, and Mikael Granlund however lets not forget their superb defensive corps, littered with powerful and tough players who will throw the body if need be: Ryan Suter, Marko Scandella, and Jared Spurgeon. While on the other hand the St. Louis Blues are a skilled team that has players that can go for a hit if they need to. The core of the Blues is led by astute and praised coach Ken Hitchcock who has led teams like Dallas and Columbus to tremendous success; in Dallas he even won a Stanley cup. This series will come down to the skill of players like Valdemir Tarasenko on the Blues and the determination of hard, tough defensemen like Ryan Suter, but ultimately I can not see a way that the skill of St. Louis can be held back and I believe it will ultimately be St. Louis that come up on top in this series.
St. Louis over Minnesota in 6 games
Series #2 Nashville Predators Vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago and Nashville were two of the best teams in the NHL this year and I believe that this will be one of the most entertaining series of the first round. This series is highlighted by Nashville’s star defender Shea Weber who is often regarded as the best defenseman in the NHL and the best duo in the NHL consisting of Jonathan Teows and Patrick Kane. The skill that Chicago possesses is nearly unmatched and I believe that it will propel them to the top of this series, and if past results are a show of future success, the Blackhawks will go far this Playoffs. But if they hope to go far, they will have to go through some of the toughest opponents they have ever faced, starting with the Nashville Predators.
Chicago over Nashville in 7 games
Series #3 Anaheim Ducks Vs. Winnipeg Jets
The Anaheim Ducks will definitely be the favorites in this series and will most likely take this series home but The Jets will not go down without a fight. The Winnipeg Jets who have so much to prove as this is the first time that they have reached the playoffs in nearly 20 years, they haven’t been in the playoffs since the original team was reallocated to Carolina. This series will most likely be the easiest one to predict because it is tough to think that a team as strong and as rough as the Anaheim Ducks will fall to a team that had barley got into the playoffs with a second wild card spot. Though I do think that the skill players on Winnipeg, like Andrew Ladd and Mark Schiefele could carry the jets to at least one win this series.
Anaheim over Winnipeg in 5 games
Series #4 Vancouver Canucks Vs. Calgary Flames
This series will be the battle of youth vs. veterans, not to put Calgary down in any way but they have a tall mountain to climb if they want to win this series. Just 5 years ago the Vancouver Canucks were 1 game from winning it all before they fell in a game seven to the Boston Bruins, who coincidentally didn’t make the playoffs this year, in the Stanly cup finals and the echoes of that loss are still being heard today as they enter theirseries with the fast paced Flames. The Flames youth led by stud winger Jonny Gaudreau and arguably the best two-way prospect in the NHL in Sean Monahan will help Calgary play a fast paced game that will be tough for the slower older Canucks to match. I feel that this will be one of the tightest series in the NHL this year but Calgary will end up on top.
Calgary over Vancouver in 6 games
Series #5 Montreal Canadians Vs. Ottawa Senators
The Montreal Canadians are definitely the favorites coming into this series, but they could be potentially upset by the Ottawa Senators who are rallying behind the spectacular goaltending of Andrew Hammond who did not lose once in his first 10 games in the NHL. Sadly this series will ultimately be a short one as the Montreal Canadians are just too strong in goal with the best goaltender in the NHL in Carrey Price, there is no way a team that barley found themselves in a playoff spot will win against a team like Montreal. Though anything can happen in the NHL and it is not odd to see a team that finished last in their conference beat the teams that were ahead of them in the standings, just look at the L.A Kings for example they finished last in their conference last year and still managed to win the Stanley cup. Sullenly, I don’t think that the Ottawa Senators will have as much of a Cinderella like run as the L.A kings were able to pull together and will be kicked out of the playoffs in convincing fashion.
Montreal over Ottawa in 6 games
Series #6 Detroit Red Wings Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Detroit has had a 24 year long playoffs streak and it didn’t end this year and I do believe that they will last one more round this year after they beat the Lightning. The Lighting have a very young and versatile core that can play in nearly every situation, with arguably the best offensive “young gun” in Steven Stamkos and a very solid second line center in Tyler Johnston which could lead their team to success. But the Red Wings still have some of their key players from their Stanly cup run in 2008 like Pavel Datsuk and Henrik Zeterberg who fit perfectly alongside the Prospects like Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. This mix of experience and fast paced youngsters will take Detroit into the second round.
Detroit over Tampa Bay in 7 games
Series #7 New York Rangers Vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
This was hands down the easiest series to predict. I do not believe the Pittsburgh penguins have a sliver of a chance against the New York Rangers. The New York Rangers have the most deep, defensive corps in front of one of the best goaltenders in the league; Henrik Lundqvist. The Pittsburgh Penguins do have the best player in the NHL in Sidney Crosby but they lack depth. Beyond Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, they have nearly no center depth and I believe that they stand absolutely no chance against the New York Rangers. Not to mention that the New York Rangers won the president’s trophy as the league’s best team and the Pittsburgh Penguin’s barely got into the playoffs
New York over Pittsburgh in 5 games
Series #8 Washington Capitals Vs. New York Islanders
Washington will have no problem scoring as they factually have the best scorer in the NHL; Alexander Ovechkin who is paired with one of the leagues best playmakers Nicklas Backstrom. Thought the Islanders do have skill players as well with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo in the line up, they do not have nearly the core that Washington does. The games between these two teams will be heated and this series in up in the air when you talk about who is going to win but I think that in the end the Washington Capitals will take home the series win. I say this because Washington has a lot of veterans from when they won the presidents trophy back in 2012, while this is the first playoffs for most of the young players in New York.
Washington Capitals in 7 games
That wraps up my predictions for the first round of the Stanly Cup. I will do another one of these for the second round once the matchups are official. I hope that this article provided a little bit more clarity when it comes to your bracket and I hope that it will lead you and me to success.