2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One Predictions
It is that time of year again where all the media, wannabe media, bloggers, and podcasters sit down and pretend they are smart with their Stanley Cup predictions. We here at Teal Town USA are no different. Previously, Teal Tinted Glasses and the After Dark crew both weighed in. Now it’s time for the writers to have their say and make their selections.
Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Aiden Carlsen picks the Washington Capitals.
Reason: Ovi, Kuz, Oshie, Shattenkirk, Carlson, the list goes on and on. There’s too much star power to lose to the young Maple Leafs.
Joe Hospodor picks the Washington Capitals.
Reason: Auston Matthews will probably emerge as a force to be reckoned with down the line. For now, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Holtby, Shattenkirk and Williams are too much for Toronto to reckon with. Capitals in 5.
Daniel Parker picks the Washington Capitals.
Reason: Washington in 6, Washington has the star power (Ovechkin/Shattenkirk) to propel them to round two against the borderline Toronto team.
Felix Chow picks the Washington Capitals in five games.
Kevin Lacy picks the Washington Capitals in four games.
Ian Reid picks the Washington Capitals.
Reason: Toronto is a fun team that plays a fun style of hockey so it’s a shame that they limped into the playoffs only to face a very good Washington team. Unfortunately, the Capitals will be too much for the Leafs to overcome. Still, I think that the upstart Leafs will put up a better fight then they are getting credit for. I like the Capitals in six games.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Aiden Carlsen picks the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Reason: Kris Letang is out, the Pens are down one of their defensemen and Bobrovsky just had an incredible season. If the team can click like it did over its massive win streak then not even Sid the Kid can pull off a series win.
Joe Hospodor picks the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Reason: Nobody wants to see Pittsburgh lose in the first round more than I do. But despite Columbus’ tremendous 16-game win streak earlier in the season, they’ve since come back down to earth in a hard way, winning three or more consecutive games only two other times. Look for Columbus to put up a fight here, but expect the same result as last time. Penguins in six.
Daniel Parker picks the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Reason: This Columbus team is actually very good, I think they can knock out the defending Stanley Cup champions and take them down, Missing Letang will prove to be fatal for the Penguins. Blue Jackets in seven.
Felix Chow picks the Columbus Blue Jackets in seven games.
Kevin Lacy picks the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Ian Reid picks the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Reason: I want to believe in Columbus, I really do. However, even without Letang, the defending champions are still a great team and until I see the Blue Jackets get over the hump I just have a hard time picking them. Should be a hell of a series though. Penguins in seven.
Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers
Aiden Carlsen picks the Montreal Canadiens.
Reason: With a healthy lineup, the Canadiens have a fantastic defense and strong offense. The biggest factor of the series will fall upon how Lundqvist plays. If he falters like he has at some times this season then Montreal won’t have much trouble heading to the second round.
Joe Hospodor picks the Montreal Canadiens.
Reason: Lundqvist is 4-9-2 with a 3.87 GAA in regular season games played at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens swept the season series against the Rangers, and with a healthy Price back in net for Montreal, there’s nothing standing in the way of them running away with this series. Canadiens in five.
Daniel Parker picks the New York Rangers.
Reason: I think the rangers can outlast the canadiens and steal a game or two in a low scoring tight checking series, I think this is the best series in round one from the east. Rangers in seven.
Felix Chow picks the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
Kevin Lacy picks the New York Rangers in six games.
Ian Reid picks the Montreal Canadiens.
Reason: The Rangers are a much better team than their seeding indicates but unfortunately for them they drew the toughest of the admittedly weak Atlantic division. For me, this comes down to goaltending and we have seen Carry Price carry far weaker teams further than they should have gone and this is probably the best incarnation of the Canadiens we have seen in some time. I got the Canadiens in five.
Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins
Aiden Carlsen picks the Ottawa Senators.
Reason: This matchup could go either way but I’m going the edge to the Sens. Craig Anderson has been playing some great hockey since coming back and they’ve been playing well all season.
Joe Hospodor picks the Boston Bruins.
Reason: Odd matchup out East, especially given the lack of playoff series played by both these teams in recent years. The Senators swept the season series, but Boston’s coming off a six-game win streak near the season’s end and is playing the right kind of hockey after not making the playoffs for the last three years. Boston in seven.
Daniel Parker picks the Ottawa Senators.
Reason: I don’t think Boston is as good as they think they are or anyone does, Nor do I think Ottawa is that good, to be honest, but I think Ottawa takes down Boston in five but all games will be close, just Ottawa coming out on top by shutting down Marchand.
Felix Chow picks the Ottawa Senators in six.
Kevin Lacy picks the Boston Bruins in seven.
Ian Reid picks the Boston Bruins.
Reason: I love Craig Anderson’s story as much as the next guy and would not be disappointed to see the Senators win this series. That is my heart speaking though, my brain says that Ottawa has punched above their weight class all year and Boston has underachieved. Bruins are the better team and win the series in five games.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators
Aidan Carlsen picks the Chicago Blackhawks.
Reason: Chicago led the Western Conference for a reason and with the depth they have at the forward position, they should be able to knock out the Predators decently quick.
Joe Hospodor picks the Chicago Blackhawks.
Reason: This should be a second-round matchup (maybe even a Conference final). Having to watch two of the most dynamic Central Division teams face off in the first round is criminal. Make no mistake: this is going to be one of, if not the toughest playoff series we see this year. It’ll ultimately come down to goaltending, and how each netminder handles themselves in the playoffs. And unfortunately for Pekka Rinne, he might find himself breaking a goalie stick in Game 7 for a second straight year. Chicago in seven.
Daniel Parker picks the Nashville Predators.
Reason: This one was the hardest to pick in my opinion as both teams are fast skilled and very deep, but I thinkNashville’s speed and skill from the blue line will be the deciding factor in this series. Nashville in seven.
Felix Chow picks the Chicago Blackhawks in five games.
Kevin Lacy picks the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Ian Reid picks the Chicago Blackhawks.
Reason: I just think that Chicago is the far superior team and would be my pick to make it out of the Western Conference this year. While Nashville can go toe to toe with Chicago on defense, the offense for the Blackhawks is superior as is the goaltending. Pekka Rinne has had a pretty down year and holding off the ‘Hawks is a huge ask for Jussi Saros. Blackhawks in six.
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues
Aidan Carlsen picks the St. Louis Blues.
Reason: The Blues have been one of the hottest teams ever since Yeo took over while the Wild have been faltering these past couple months. Despite ending the season on a four-game win streak, I see the Blues continuing their solid play and chasing Dubnyk.
Daniel Parker picks the Minnesota Wild.
Reason: This one was hard as well to pick because I think either team could win, but Minnesota is so much more talented in my opinion, but the Blues play a heavy hard to play against type of game and have good scorers up top, but Minnesota is better all around. Wild in seven games.
Joe Hospodor picks the Minnesota Wild.
Reason: Yet another first-round playoff series featuring a head coach going up against his former team in Mike Yeo. Yeo’s arrival in St. Louis seems to have righted the ship for the second half of the Blues’ season. But the playoffs live and die on key goaltending, and Jake Allen and Devan Dubnyk couldn’t have had any more of a different season from each other. Minnesota in five games.
Felix Chow picks the Minnesota Wild in six games.
Kevin Lacy picks the Minnesota Wild in six games.
Ian Reid picks the Minnesota Wild.
Reason: I know that I’m going to crap on the Sharks later for how they backed into the playoffs *spoiler alert*. The Blues have been an undeniably better team under Mike Yeo but I have next to no faith that Jake Allen can win the Blues a series if the Wild find their game, something they should have no problem doing with Dubnyk in net. I got the Wild in five games.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames
Aidan Carlsen picks the Anaheim Ducks.
Reason: The Ducks came out of nowhere these past couple months and haven’t taken their foot off the gas yet. They look like the team that has the best chance of beating the Hawks in the West and the Flames won’t stop that potential matchup despite a solid goalie and high scorers.
Joe Hospodor picks the Calgary Flames.
Reason: So much talk about Calgary not winning a game at Honda Center, so little talk about Randy Carlyle not winning a playoff series since 2009. To be fair, this will be Glen Gulutzan’s first time as a head coach in the playoffs, but Anaheim comes into this series with everything to prove after four straight Game 7 losses. Calgary has nothing to lose, and while I don’t think they’ll go deep, as far as spoilers go they fit the bill. Calgary in seven games.
Daniel Parker picks the Anaheim Ducks.
Reason: Although I would not be surprised to see Calgary prevail somehow, I think these two teams will beat each other to the ground making for an inviting second round match for whoever prevails. Anaheim in six games.
Felix Chow picks the Calgary Flames in six games.
Kevin Lacy picks the Calgary Flames in seven games.
Ian Reid picks the Anaheim Ducks.
Reason: This was the hardest series to pick for me, neither goaltending tandem inspires confidence, the defense might be a wash although I do give the edge to the Flames at forward. That being said, the Ducks play a heavy and antagonistic style of hockey that I think will ultimately unravel the Flames kids and the Ducks will move on after six games.
Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks
Aidan Carlsen picks the San Jose Sharks.
Reason: The Sharks were finally getting past their atrocious March and if they can hit the refresh button this post season then the team should be able to capture at least some of the success they had in January and February.
Joe Hospodor picks the San Jose Sharks.
Reason: Breath, Sharks fans: I’m picking San Jose. While the realist in me sees a struggling squad plagued with injuries heading into a playoff series against a team of players half their age with twice the amount of working knees, this series will come down to goaltending. Martin Jones proved himself as a show stealer in the earlier rounds of the playoffs last year, and he’ll be one year more experienced against a team with little of it. I don’t know about the rest of the postseason, but at least for this series, Sharks in six.
Daniel Parker picks the Edmonton Oilers.
Reason: Who do I want to win? San Jose. Who do I think wins, Edmonton, I think this team comes out hard and fast and we all know what happens when this sharks team goes down, they do not bounce back well, they almost roll over and die… I think the Sharks should win this series, to be honest, the play of late looks as though this team is tired and fatigued in need of days off, maybe, hopefully, this team was just saving energy for this moment, but I doubt it. I think Edmonton takes it in seven, they’re fast strong and ready to compete, and well, Connor Mcdavid is kind of good.
Felix Chow picks the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.
Kevin Lacy picks the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.
Ian Reid picks the Edmonton Oilers.
Reason: The big scare for Sharks fans right now is the status of Joe Thornton and Logan Couture. My concerns go far beyond that. Even if/when both players reenter the lineup they will likely be nowhere near 100 percent. My concern comes from the drop off in play this year of Marc-Edouard Vlasic. If Vlasic can’t be himself and at least somewhat mitigate Connor McDavid this series will be over and over quickly. An injury to a player like Hertl would really be the final nail in the coffin. I think the Sharks will put up a fight but this series ends in six games with the Oilers moving on.