Here is How the NHL Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Will Go
With the NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers finished, we now have 16 teams and are ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to begin this Tuesday.
Here are At the Buzzer’s picks for the first round of the NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
The Montreal Canadiens took down the 5-seed Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round with great authority. While I certainly won’t be taking the Canadiens for granted this time around, I don’t think they can stop the red hot Flyers. The Flyers snuck into the Round Robin at the fourth seed but managed to continue their success from the end of the regular season when they went on a 9-1 run before the NHL’s hiatus began.
During the Round Robin, Philadelphia won all three of their games and their score across those games was 11-3. Both of Philadelphia’s goaltenders look pretty unstoppable, and their team has excellent chemistry. The Canadiens deserve all of the credit in the world for beating the odds and conquering the Penguins, but they lost to Pittsburgh once, and two of their wins were decided by one goal including one game that ended in overtime.
The Flyers should certainly take this Montreal team with a grain of salt, but I see no way in which they could lose. While the Canadiens may be able to win one or two of these games, I have the Flyers winning in 5 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
It seems that we will get a rematch from the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning were the best team in the NHL going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year with a whopping 128 points. Many people expected the Lightning to finish the Blue Jackets quickly, but the exact opposite was true. The Blue Jackets swept the Lightning and only one of their games were close.
This year, the Lightning will be looking for redemption and I think they just might get it. The Lightning were catching fire towards the end of the regular season as they had won 11 straight games across February. While they had two close wins and one bad loss in the Round Robin, I think the Lightning are more than ready to rumble with the Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, just came off of a hard-fought victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in which they played five games over an eight-game stretch, while the Lightning had played only three games during that time. With only one day to recuperate before playing their first game on Tuesday, the Blue Jackets will be awfully tired throughout this series. I really think that Tampa Bay will win the Stanley Cup this year, so I have the Lightning winning in 6 games.
Washington Capitals (3) vs. New York Islanders (7)
This one was a bit of a head-scratcher. Both teams fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the three teams were all vying for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division at the beginning of this season. After the qualifying round of this year’s Playoffs, many are wondering who will win this series.
The Islanders are coming off a resounding 3-1 series win over the Panthers, while the Capitals hobble out of the Round Robin with 1 record of 1-1-1.
While the numbers certainly point to the momentum being on the Islanders’ side, it’s important to remember that the Capitals played those three games without star-defenseman and Norris Trophy Finalist, John Carlson. Carlson is by far the best defender on the team, and he is a leader in the locker room.
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Coach Todd Reirden said he is hopeful about Carlson’s return this Wednesday. Carlson may not solve all of the Caps’ problems, but he will certainly be a major boost for their blue line. With this in mind, I have the Capitals winning a competitive series in 7 games.
Boston Bruins (4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (6)
The Hurricanes went on an unexpected playoff run last year when they made it all the way to the NHL Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, their run came to an abrupt end when they were embarrassed by the Boston Bruins who beat them four games in a row and only allowed 5 goals.
This year the Hurricanes look for retribution against them, this time in the first round of the playoffs. The Hurricanes are hot after coming off a dominant sweep against the New York Rangers. The Bruins are the exact opposite, on the other hand, as they went from the top seed in the East to the fourth after losing all three Round Robin games and being outscored 9-4 over that stretch. While the Bruins definitely have the star power and the better goaltender, I think the Hurricanes might have them on this one.
The Bruins are reeling while the Hurricanes seem pretty unstoppable. I think the NHL’s President’s Trophy winner will be knocked out of the playoffs in the first round again this year, and the Hurricanes will win in 6 games.
Pierson Scheinberg is a student who lives in California, and attends the College Preparatory School. Pierson lived in Baltimore, Maryland until August 2017 when he moved to the Bay Area. Pierson is an avid golfer who enjoys watching all sports. He is a writer and sports analyst for At the Buzzer.
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