NHL Playoff Predictions
After an extended break due to the novel coronavirus, the NHL is set to return on August 1st. With this year’s playoffs set to be unlike any other, let’s take a look at some first-round NHL Playoff predictions.
Pittsburgh Penguins (5) vs. Montreal Canadians (12)
Our Prediction: Pittsburgh in 4 games
The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to prove to be too much for Montreal to handle. After four months off, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are going to be next to unstoppable. Plus, Jake Guentzel will be returning from injury. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh sweeps Montreal in three straight games.
Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs. New York Rangers (11)
Our Prediction: New York in 4 games
This series should be close for the most part, but New York has the edge. Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad both turned themselves into legitimate superstars this season, and it’ll be next to impossible for Carolina to contain them.
New York Islanders (7) vs. Florida Panthers (10)
Our Prediction: New York in 5 games
Although Florida had a better season than most expected, and players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Noel Acciari had breakout years, New York will take this close series. Matthew Barzal will be too much for the Panthers to handle, and Jean Gabriel-Pageau will likely find his touch as well.
Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
Our Prediction: Toronto in 4 games
This should be an entertaining series to watch, but the Leafs offense will be too much for Columbus. The Blue Jackets will have no answer for Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and the Maple Leafs other top forwards.
Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
Our Prediction: Chicago in 5 games
Despite the fact that the Oilers are heavy favorites in this series, I’m going with Chicago for one reason; Patrick Kane. Patrick Kane lights up the Oilers every time he faces them, and I expect him to do the same this series. Aside from Kane, the Hawks also have Toews, Debrincat, as well as rookie sensation Dominik Kubalik on the blueline who should help them take this series.
Nashville Predators (6) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)
Our Prediction: Nashville in 4 games
With young pieces in Clayton Keller, Barrett Hayton, and Christian Dvorak, the Arizona Coyotes have a promising future, but they’re not enough to help them succeed yet. With one of the best defensive corps in the National Hockey League, as well as a handful of explosive forwards, Nashville should take this series.
Vancouver Canucks (7) vs. Minnesota Wild (10)
Our Prediction: Vancouver in 5 games
Vancouver surprised a lot of people this season by making the playoffs and now they’re likely to make it to the second round, at least. The Canucks have a plethora of young, explosive forwards capable of putting the puck in the net, including Elias Pettersson, Jake Virtanen, Adam Gaudette, among others. The playoff experience of Tyler Toffoli and J.T. Miller should also be valuable towards the Canucks.
Calgary Flames (8) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9)
Our Prediction: Winnipeg in 5 games
Out of all eight series, this Canadian clash should not only be the most exciting to watch but will also likely be the closest series. The Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames are very evenly matched up front, on the blue line, and in goal. Winnipeg’s top 6 forwards, including Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, and Mark Scheifele, should help Winnipeg narrowly edge out the Flames.