2018 NHL Predictions: Playoffs

To conclude this series, we will be looking at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

East:

Philadelphia vs. Columbus

The Blue Jackets have never won a playoff series in their history. They unfortunately continue that burden here. They’ll give it a good fight, but the Flyers should take this series.

Philadelphia in 6 games

Pittsburgh vs. Washington

The Capitals finally got their revenge on the Pens last season en route to their Stanley Cup victory. Neither one of these teams got any better this offseason, so it’s a toss up. I have to go with Pittsburgh here.

Pittsburgh in 7 games

Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey

Tampa and New Jersey met in the playoffs last season, and the result was pretty much what we all expected. The Bolts thwarted the Devils in 5 games. You can expect more of the same here.

Tampa Bay in 5 games

Boston  vs. Toronto

Another first round rematch occurs here. Last year the Bruins eliminated the Maple Leafs in yet another Game 7. Both teams should be solid again and it should be a competitive series, but Toronto’s lack of defense will fail them yet again.

Boston in 7 games

Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh

The Flyers and Penguins meet in the playoffs again in one of the NHL’s fiercest rivalries. One that has been in control of Pittsburgh for the last several years. These two teams usually play a very competitive series. So competitive in fact, that the Flyers have lead the all time matchup 4 series wins to 3 in the playoffs, and 21-20 in the games themselves. Expect another hotly contested series between these two. It will come down to 7 games, but the younger, faster Flyers get the edge here.

Philadelphia in 7 games

Boston vs. Tampa Bay

The Bruins were thwarted in the second round last year by the Lightning in 5 games. Many expected a closer series than what we got. This time around should be different, as the Bruins won’t want to be embarrassed again. This one should go down to the wire as well, but the Bruins will squeak out a win en route to the eastern conference finals.

Boston in 7 games

Philadelphia vs. Boston

The Flyers and Bruins are both franchises with a lot of playoff success. In 6 meetings between the sides in playoff history, they split an even 3-3. Two teams who are both fast and physical should make for a fun series, but the Flyers will win the 7th postseason meeting between these two in 7 games. The Flyers will be advancing to their first Stanley Cup finals since 2010.

Philadelphia in 7 games

West:

Nashville vs. Calgary

While the Flames improved enough to return to the playoffs, they are still no match for the juggernaut that is the Predators. They’ll put up a fight, but Nashville won’t sweat this one too much.

Nashville in 5 games

Winnipeg vs. St. Louis

The Blues are in the same boat as the Flames in the sense that they improved but ran into a powerhouse in Round 1. The Blues won’t get steamrolled by the Jets, but they won’t make Winnipeg sweat either.

Winnipeg in 6 games

San Jose vs. Arizona

What a Cinderella story it would be if the Arizona Coyotes could knock off San Jose in Round 1, even if they took them to 7 games and lost. Unfortunately for the ‘Yotes, that’s not at all likely. The Sharks should roll through Arizona.

San Jose in 4 games

Vegas vs. Los Angeles

We have our third Round 1 rematch of the playoffs in this series. The Golden Knights swept the Kings last season on their way to their Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Vegas got better, and the Kings stayed the same. While that would normally signal another sweep, these two see each other too many times a season for that to happen again. Vegas won’t be threatened too much though.

Vegas in 6 games

Nashville vs. Winnipeg

In last year’s Western Conference semi-finals, the Jets stunned the Predators in 6 games, eliminating the Stanley Cup favorites. Both teams are loaded, but the Predators are more talented and well rested, having played one less game than their adversaries. This one will be a thriller, but the Preds will get their revenge.

Nashville in 7 games

San Jose vs. Vegas

Last year’s meeting between the Knights and Sharks was another classic example of the notorious Sharks meltdown that happens every postseason. In fairness to the Sharks, Vegas was red hot coming into their meeting. This year, however, the Sharks look like a new team, a faster, more physical team. Vegas is solid, but they are not as talented as San Jose. No one in the league may be as talented as the Sharks. The Sharks should cruise into the Western Conference Finals.

San Jose in 5 games

San Jose vs. Nashville

The two losers in last year’s Western Conference semi-finals both get their revenge and get through to the conference finals. Before Vegas, these two were the last two conference champions, both falling to Pittsburgh in 6. Both of these sides are absolutely loaded and it should be a competitive series, but the Sharks are ultimately better equipped and rested. The Sharks will make their 2nd Stanley Cup finals appearance in four years.

San Jose in 6 games

Final

San Jose vs. Philadelphia

Finally, after five weeks, we have reached the point everyone has been waiting for, the Stanley Cup Final. Both of these sides are worthy of being crowned Stanley Cup Champions. In what should be a competitive series, the Sharks just have too much talent for the young and fast Flyers to tame. The San Jose Sharks will be the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Champions, their first cup win in franchise history.

San Jose in 6 games

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