NHL Playoffs Preview: Who will take the Stanley Cup?


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Who will take home and proudly display the Stanley Cup?

Cameron Hines, News copy editor

The NHL playoffs approach and each team holds a legitimate chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup. Here are the predictions for how the drama of the first round will unfold.


Anaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets

The upstart Jets make their first playoff appearance since the move from Atlanta, but draw the Western Conference’s top team in Anaheim. The Ducks may not prove as fearsome as their record indicates, what with a meager +10 goal differential, which stands as the worst among all playoff contenders. But they know how to win close games and boast two of the top scorers in the league in Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

PREDICTION: Ducks in 5

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames

The Canucks lack the excitement and pizzazz that the young Calgary squad, led by rookie Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau, displays, but Vancouver’s solid all-around game and edge in experience will give them the advantage. Losing team MVP Mark Giordano has not yet bursted Calgary’s hopes, but his absence will end what has proved a dream run thus far for the Flames.

PREDICTION: Canucks in 7

St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild

The Blues contain the most depth in the league, and can play stifling defense while producing colossal offensive numbers. Recent injuries to top scorers Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, while troublesome, should not prove a major factor, as both returned for the regular season finale. The Wild, anchored by breakout goalie Devan Dubnyk, do a good job of limiting scoring, but will fall just short in this series.

PREDICTION: Blues in 6

Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks

Elite goalie Pekka Rinne should keep the Predators competitive in this series, but Nashville’s offense cannot compare to that of the Chicago’s, especially if Patrick Kane returns. The stalwart Blackhawks will not advance to the Stanley Cup Finals this year, but will not lose in the first round, either.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks in 7


Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

This should be an easy pick. On one side, you have the Atlantic Division champions with the Canadiens. Vezina favorite Carey Price, lethal sniper Max Pacioretty, and dominant defenseman P.K. Subban give Montreal a formidable core. And on the other side, you have the Senators, who barely slipped into the playoffs on the coattails of rookie sensation Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond. However, the magic in Ottawa will inexplicably carry over for at least one series, as they upend heavily-favored Habs.

PREDICTION: Senators in 7

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings

Both teams possess a deep crop of forwards, but the edge here goes to Tampa. Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson show more danger than any of Detroit’s top scorers, and the Red Wing’s goalie situation remains unsettled. Meanwhile, underrated Lightning netminder Ben Bishop has played his best hockey as of late.

PREDICTION: Lightning in 6

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Nothing seems to have gone right for Pittsburgh this season, and now they face the President’s Trophy winner in the Rangers. Expect a short series as the Penguin’s season comes to a merciful end.

PREDICTION: Rangers in 4

Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders

Hart Trophy contenders John Tavares and Alex Ovechkin square off in what should be the tightest series of the first round. This one truly is a coin toss, and Washington’s home ice advantage could prove the determinant.

PREDICTION: Capitals in 7

As for a personal final prediction? Anaheim takes home the Stanley Cup in a tightly contested series with Tampa Bay.