Over the last few days, the NHL has announced that it will be continuing with the second phase of its plan-to-play on Monday. This means that teams will officially be able to report to their practice facilities to begin their road to the NHL Stanley Cup. The teams will be re-seeded each round, which will make matchmaking quite interesting as the playoffs progress forward. In this piece, I will be discussing the 2019-2020 NHL Quarter-Final round according to the teams I predicted as victorious in the play-in round and my re-seeding of the round-robin teams.
Representing the top four teams in the east will be the round-robin teams. The other four teams that fall into place will be the winners of the play-in round. My Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals match-ups are:
- (1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs (8) New York Rangers
- (2) Philadelphia Flyers vs (7) Toronto Maple Leafs
- (3) Washington Capitals vs (6) New York Islanders
- (4) Boston Bruins vs (5) Pittsburgh Penguins
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s some good hockey in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals. These games will begin the best-of-seven series format throughout the rest of the 2019-2020 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. My first prediction of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals is the Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the New York Rangers, 4-2. Next, I’m choosing the Philadelphia Flyers to advance past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2. In the first upset of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, I believe the New York Islanders will dethrone the Washington Capitals, 4-3. Finally, the Boston Bruins outlast the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2.
Excited is an understatement when I realize just how the Eastern Conference played out after my round-robin and play-in predictions. Here are the match-ups for the Western Conference Quarter-Finals based on my previous predictions article:
- (1) St. Louis Blues vs (8) Chicago Blackhawks
- (2) Vegas Golden Knights vs (7) Minnesota Wild
- (3) Dallas Stars vs (6) Winnipeg Jets
- (4) Colorado Avalanche vs (5) Nashville Predators
Everything is shaken up to its core when we are discussing the Western Conference Quarter-Finals. In the play-in series, three of the four teams advancing are considered massive underdogs. That being said, I expect the St. Louis Blues to sweep the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-0. Now, the Minnesota Wild over the Vegas Golden Knights is my first upset pick in the Western Conference Quarter-Finals, 4-2. Here’s another underdog story: the Winnipeg Jets barely advance against the Dallas Stars, 4-3. Finally, the Colorado Avalanche take care of the Nashville Predators, 4-1.
NHL Quarter-Final Series to Watch
This seems like a trick question. We’ve been without hockey for so long, so why not watch all of them, right? I understand that. Allow me to highlight the best two series in the NHL Conference Quarter-Finals based on my predictions. To be fair, I will be selecting one from each conference.
Beginning with the Eastern Conference, I believe the must-see series if the playoff match-ups shape up like this is the Philadelphia Flyers versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Everyone loves overtime hockey, but especially in the playoffs. Two of the three games between the Maple Leafs and Flyers during the 2019-2020 season went to a shootout. While I predict a seven-game series between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders, Philadelphia and Toronto have the potential to be more exciting.
In the Western Conference, it’s the Winnipeg Jets versus the Dallas Stars. These teams played each other four times in the 2019-2020 regular season. Half of those games went to a shootout. In my opinion, a series with heavy overtime potential and the bonus of an underdog victory tells the best story. This is that series. I’m giving this a full seven games, but I could see the Jets defeating the Stars in six games.
Mandatory Credit – Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports