Stanley Cup Playoff Preview
by Jack Ansley
Founder of Jacks2Cents
Hockey is back. Last week the NHL announced that the regular season is over and that the Playoffs will begin sometime in July. One thing that is changing then previous years is the format. The playoff bracket consists of the top 12 teams in each conference. The top 4 seeds in each conference get a bye into the first round of the playoffs. The other teams will have to play each other in 5 game play in series. After the play in the round, the remaining sixteen teams will battle it out in seven games series just like how the normal playoffs are in a normal year.
8 Toronto Maple Leaf’s vs 9 Columbus Blue Jackets
The first matchup in the Eastern conference side of the Bracket Features the Toronto Maple Leaf’s vs. the Columbus Bluejackets. The Maple Leaf’s finished the shortened regular season with 36 wins and 81 points. They finished 3rd place in the Atlantic division. Their opponent in this matchup is the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets finished the season with 33 wins and 81 points When the season was paused, they were on the outside looking in they were tied with the Carolina Hurricanes
This is going to be a good series. Both teams were in the playoff race during the regular season.
Both teams have plenty of star power and playoff experience. Overall, I think Toronto is the better team and I think Toronto will win the series in 5 games.
8 Calgary Flames vs 9 Winnipeg Jets
The first matchup in the western conference side of the bracket is between the Calgary Flames vs the Winnipeg Jets. The Flames finished the season with 79 points and finished the year third place in the Pacific Division. The Jets finished the season with 37 win and 80 points. They finished in 4th in the central division and were in the wild card race in the western conference when the season was paused.
This is also going to be a good series between two teams that are very similar to each other.
Both teams are young hungry and eager to make their mark in the playoff. I think in the end the deciding factor is going to be Goaltending and Conner Hellebuyck has been one of the best Goaltenders in the west if not the whole League. I think the Jets take the series in 5 games.
5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs 12 Montreal Canadians
The next matchup in the East is between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadians. The Penguins finished the year with 40 wins and 86 points. The Penguins finished third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Canadians on the other hand finished the season with 31 wins and 71 points. When the season was paused, they were in fifth place in the Atlantic division and drifting out of the playoffs.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that this series is going to be as good as the other two. Even though when during the season the Penguins were not playing their best hockey. Over the past few months, they have had the opportunity to heal up and get the big piece back on the ice like Nick Bjugstad, and Jake Guentzel. I think when they are healthy the Penguins are one of the best teams in the league. I think the Penguins win the series in 3 games.
5 Edmonton Oilers vs 12 Chicago Blackhawks
The next matchup in the west is between the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers finished the season with 37 wins and 83 points, they were in 2nd place in the Pacific division. The other team in this matchup is the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks were in the basement of the Central Division with 32 Wins and 72 points.
This matchup is very similar to the last one as I think this one is not going to be close. I think the Oilers are going to be too much for the Blackhawks. I think the Oilers win the series easily.
7 New York Islanders vs 10 Florida Panthers
The next matchup on the eastern conference is between the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers.
The Islander finished the season with 35 wins and 80 points. They were in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division when the season ended.
The Florida Panthers finished the season with 35 wind and 78 points. When the season ended, they were fourth in the Atlantic division.
I think this series should be close because of the playoff history between these teams. But I think overall Florida is the better so I think they will win in 4 games.
7 Vancouver Canucks vs 10 Minnesota Wild
The next matchup in the west is between the Vancouver Cannucks and the Minnesota Wild. The Cannucks finished the season with 36 win and 78 points. At the time of the pause, they were fourth in the pacific division. The Canucks are looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Wild finished the regular season with 35 wins and 77 points they were in 6th in the central division when the season was paused.\
Even though these teams were in very different spots when the season paused, I still think this will be a competitive series. I think Vancouver will win this series in four games.
6 Carolina Hurricanes vs 11 New York Rangers
The Next matchup in the Eastern conferences is between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers.
The Hurricanes finished the season with 38 wins and 81 points. When the regular season ended, they were in fourth in the Metro and they were in a wild card spot. The Rangers finished the season with 37 wins and 79 points. They finished in 7th place in the metro division.
This series could be interesting even though these teams are in two different places. But I think that this series between two division rivals should be good. I think the Hurricanes win in 5 games.
6 Nashville Predators vs 11 Arizona Coyotes
The final matchup of the qualifying round of the playoff is between the Nashville Predators and the Arizona Coyotes. The Predators finished the season with 35 wins and 78 points. They finished in 5 in the central division. The Coyotes finished the season in the same spot with 33 wins and 74 points. They were also fifth in the pacific division.
This should be a good series these teams were in similar spots when the season ended. I think in the end Nashville’s playoff experience and their star power. I think the Predators win the series in 5.