We’re on to round two where so far, the Penguins defeated the Canadiens, Islanders defeated the Panthers, Maple Leafs defeated the Blue Jackets, and the Rangers upset the Carolina Hurricanes. Meanwhile, the Flyers snagged the three-seed from the Washington Capitals, while the Bruins and Bolts held steady at one and two.
In the Western Conference, Edmonton defeated Chicago, Nashville beat Arizona, Minnesota defeated Vancouver, and Winnipeg beat Calgary. Colorado manages to snag the top seed from St. Louis, while Dallas overtakes Vegas for the three seed in the Western Conference.
With the matchups set for the round of 16, I’m predicting the bracket as is, with no reseeding. Seeing as that’s how the NHL operates currently when it comes to playoffs, I figured we should stick with that and see what happens here. Without further ado, the round of 16 commences and we see who advances.
- (5) PIT v. (4) WSH
- WSH in 5 games
Pittsburgh and Washington meet in the playoffs, again, and nobody is surprised. This series is going to be filled to the brim with star power and goals. It will be interesting to see who each team will have in net as well. After getting the monkey off their back in 2018, the Caps take it to Pittsburgh again and prove why they’re the better Metro division team.
- (11) NYR v. (3) PHI
- PHI in 4 games
The Flyers have always had trouble against the Rangers, and New York would be riding a big wave of momentum after their first round upset of the Hurricanes. The Rangers goaltending situation is a bit murky at the moment, but they can make up for that with stellar play in front of the net. Philadelphia’s depth, however, is going to be too much for the Rags to handle, and the Flyers are going to move on.
- (7) NYI v. (2) TBL
- TBL in 4 games
Two tough teams, but one clearly has the edge. While the Islanders have been hanging around the fringes of the playoff picture, Tampa has been consistently in the race. The Bolts are too skilled to lose to an Islanders team that just can’t match up with that. Barzal and Nelson won’t be enough to counter Kucherov and Stamkos, and the Bolts will take this one in six games.
- (8) TOR v. (1) BOS
- BOS in 4 games
Boston and Toronto. We’e seen this series multiple times before, and we all know how this plays out. Boston has had Toronto’s number in the playoffs as of late, and that won’t change this year. Sorry Leafs fans, looks like you’ll have to wait at least another year for that run at the Cup.
- (5) EDM v. (4) VGK
- EDM in 5 games
I’m all in on the Edmonton wave. Call it being underwhelmed by Vegas, or impressed with Edmonton’s one-two punch of McDavid and Draisaitl. I call it a second round “upset” of the four-seed Golden Knights. If Edmonton can get McDavid and Draisaitl rolling early on, it could prove to be too much for Vegas to handle.
- (6) NSH v. (3) DAL
- NSH in 5 games
A rematch of the Bridgestone Winter Classic between Nashville and Dallas awaits us, and this is going to be one brutal series. We all remember how physical their meeting was back in January. A series between the two is going to be downright nasty. While Dallas may have the vets and an edge in the seeding, I think Nashville just has the momentum to roll past Dallas.
- (10) MIN v. (2) STL
- STL in 4 games
Minnesota rides their wave into a matchup with the reigning Stanley Cup champions. While Minnesota may have the momentum from defeating the seven-seeded Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis is just too good. No knock on Minnesota, but St. Louis is a force to be reckoned with once again, and will move past Minnesota in less than five games.
- (9) WPG v. (1) COL
- COL in 4 games
Winnipeg had the biggest layoff of the Western Conference teams after sweeping Calgary in the play-in round, and it shows in their series against the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have a solid blueline, mixed with some great young, talented forwards. Colorado takes advantage of a cold (pun intended) Winnipeg team and advances after just four games.
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