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 The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions

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Metal is my Life
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PostSubject: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:53 pm

The 2015-16 NHL regular season had many ups and downs, and was full of many surprises.

For only the second time in NHL history, no Canadian teams will be participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only other time this occurred was in 1969-70, when there were only two Canadian teams in the NHL. Now there are seven, and all failed to qualify in 2015-16.

This also marks the first time in playoff history that both Florida based teams (the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning) and all three California based teams (the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks) all qualified for the playoffs in the same season.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Washington Capitals (1st in Metropolitan Division) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (2nd Eastern Conference wild card)
The Washington Capitals won the Presidents' Trophy for the second time in franchise history after posting the best record in the regular season. However, the other time they won, in 2010, they were upset by the Montréal Canadiens in the opening round of the playoffs, in one of the most shocking playoff upsets in recent memory. The Capitals hope not to repeat that mistake, where they face the Philadelphia Flyers, who return to the playoffs after a one year absence. Washington won two of the games between the two teams, and Philadelphia won the other two.
Prediction: Washington in six games.

Florida Panthers (1st in Atlantic Division) vs. New York Islanders (1st Eastern Conference wild card)
The Florida Panthers had the best regular season in franchise history, posting 47 wins and 103 points, en route to finishing first in the Atlantic Division. This is only the second division title in the history of the Panthers, who have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Panthers and Islanders meet in the playoffs for the first time. The Panthers have not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 1996, and the Islanders last advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs in 1993. These are the two longest droughts in playoff advances, and one of them will finally advance in this year's playoffs.
Prediction: Florida in seven games.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2nd in Metropolitan Division) vs. New York Rangers (3rd in Metropolitan Division)
For the second consecutive season, the Penguins and Rangers face each other in the playoffs. However, the Penguins enter this year's playoffs a much better team than the previous year, as they struggled with injuries and took until the last day of the season to lock up a playoff spot in a very disappointing season. They got off to a rough start in 2015-16, but after Christmas, they caught fire and managed to finish the season in second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers, who finished 2014-15 with the best record in the regular season, dropped from first to third in the Metropolitan Division.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in seven games.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2nd in Atlantic Division) vs. Detroit Red Wings (3rd in Atlantic Division)
It took them until their last game of the regular season to do so, but the Detroit Red Wings kept their playoff streak alive. They advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th consecutive time, becoming only the fourth franchise in NHL history to make the playoffs 25 straight seasons. This is the longest active playoffs streak in any of the professional major sports leagues. They face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs for the second straight season. The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. However, the loss to Steven Stamkos provides the Lightning with a tough obstacle in the playoffs, though he may return if they can advance.
Prediction: Tampa Bay in six games.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Dallas Stars (1st in Central Division) vs. Minnesota Wild (2nd Western Conference wild card)
For the first time in franchise history, the Minnesota Wild will meet the franchise who started their history in Minnesota, the Dallas Stars (who were known as the Minnesota North Stars when they entered the NHL in 1967 before moving to Dallas in 1993 and becoming the Dallas Stars). Minnesota stumbled into a playoff spot, losing their last five regular season games. Dallas, who missed the playoffs in six of the previous seven seasons, finished first in the Central Division and the Western Conference. Dallas won their first division title since 2005-06 and finished first in the Western Conference for the first time since 2002-03. Dallas won four of the five meetings between the Stars and Wild during the regular season.
Prediction: Dallas in five games.

Anaheim Ducks (1st in Pacific Division) vs. Nashville Predators (1st Western Conference wild card)
After a miserable start to the 2015-16 regular season (having a 1-7-2 record after October), the Ducks then found their stride and were off and flying, as they managed to clinch the Pacific Division title for the fourth consecutive season on the last day of the regular season. They will face the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the playoffs. Nashville won two of the three regular season meetings between the two teams. The two teams have previously met in the playoffs once; back in 2010-11, Nashville defeated Anaheim in the opening round (they advanced beyond the opening round of the playoffs for the first time ever with that victory).
Prediction: Anaheim in five games.

St. Louis Blues (2nd in Central Division) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (3rd in Central Division)
The Chicago Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, face the St. Louis Blues in the playoffs for the 12th time in franchise history. Chicago have won eight of the eleven meetings thus far. The two teams last met in the playoffs back in 2013-14, when the Blackhawks defeated the Blues in six games in the opening round. St. Louis won three of the five regular season meetings between the two teams. St. Louis is considered by many to be a favorite in this postseason due to their strong regular season performance, but they have never won a Stanley Cup, and have not made the Stanley Cup Finals since 1970.
Prediction: St. Louis in seven games.

Los Angeles Kings (2nd in Pacific Division) vs. San Jose Sharks (3rd in Pacific Division)
For the fourth time in six seasons, the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. San Jose won the first meeting back in 2010-11, but Los Angeles won the two later meetings in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The Kings came back from a 3-0 series deficit in the 2013-14 meeting to win the series in seven games, becoming only the fourth NHL team in history to pull off this feat, en route to winning their second Stanley Cup. In the 2015-16 regular season, the Kings and Sharks had five meetings, with the Sharks being victorious in three of them. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones was a member of the Kings' 2014 Stanley Cup winning team.
Prediction: Los Angeles in seven games.
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Lari
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:25 am

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Washington - Philadelphia 4-1
Caps control the puck and the Flyers will chase.

Pittsburgh - NY Rangers 3-4
A lucky bounce could decide this series. The Penguins are playing great hockey lately. The core has gone the distance before, and could do it again. But the Rangers have the best group of d-men plus goalie in the league, and will fight back to take the series after first falling back 3-2.

Florida - NY Islanders 4-3
Another even battle. Islanders have goalie problems in the form of injuries, but there's quality skaters to counter anything the Panthers can throw out there. Very difficult to predict.

Tampa Bay - Detroit 4-0
Wings are out of gas and old. Saturday they already showed they can't deliver in a must-win situation. Bolts are missing Stamkos, but he's not as integral as some may think. It's a sweep, but the games will be close and low scoring. Wings can't solve Bishop.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Dallas - Minnesota 0-4
If Dubnyk gets hot the Wild will upset the Stars. Dallas has problems with defense and goaltending, and the playoffs don't favour teams like that. The Wild are playoff veterans, and especially with the new coach, have a system that works. The Stars bang their heads against a wall, but force OT in Game Four, only to lose once again. Winners of this series should be awarded the 1991 Campbell Conference Championship banner.

St.Louis - Chicago 4-3
Kane and Panarin can be checked, and with Stastny the Blues have some more depth in their offense this season. Hawks won't go down easily though, and this will be a war.

Anaheim - Nashville 2-4
Yes, the Predators will come and spoil the California beach hockey party. With a healthy Shea Weber, a breakout star in Forsberg and the addition of a stud like Ryan Johansen, this is a scary team. If Pekka Rinne plays like he can and should, the Ducks are out!

Los Angeles - San Jose 2-4
The perennial losers get another shot against a titanic successful rival. Nothing supports a Sharks victory. But somehow they will make it happen. Their center depth is key here, as is goaltending.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:22 am

For some nice playoff humor...

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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:12 am

Washington in six (although I wouldn't be surprised if the Flyers beat the perennial playoff chokers)
Florida in six
Penguins in six (I'd normally go against the Pens but I think they got at least one series win)
Lightning in five


Minnesota in six
Chicago in five (hard to pick against the Blackhawks)
Anaheim in seven
Los Angeles in six
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:00 pm

Lovin' the love my Wild are getting. But, being a Minnesota sports fan.....I will stay pessimistic til they prove differently. Stars in 5.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:36 pm

I actually don't know how to feel about my Wings. On one side it's nice they keep the streak going and considering this is apparently the last season with Datsyuk, it's nice to see a bit more of him. On the other, the team is such a broken mess, that i think missing the Playoffs would've been the best option to shake things up (and maybe get rid of Holland)
Tampa will win the round, that's not even a question. I say in 5 games.

As for the others:
Washington in six
Panthers in five
Penguins in seven

Dallas in seven
Ducks in six
Blackhawks in five
Los Angeles in six
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Lari
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:32 pm

Yeah, Holland hasn't really been a good GM ever since the salary cap came into effect.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:55 pm

My Avs choked again but my #2 & #3 teams are still in. (Hawks & Pens)



Caps
Pens
Islanders
Lightning

Stars
Blues
Ducks
Kings


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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:22 pm

Lari wrote:
Yeah, Holland hasn't really been a good GM ever since the salary cap came into effect.

Which by now makes me wonder if Holland actually ever was a good GM. Before the Cap he had Illitch's money and Hakan Andersson as the scout who basically is responsible for all those european players to show up on the Red Wings Roster over the years.

They surprisingly won 2:0 yesterday, i'd never thought that would happen but the change to Mrazek was a good idea (why they didn't start with him is baffling. As dumb as Blashill seems to be, even he should've realized during the regular season that Howard simply isn't good and Mrazed is the goalie to use)
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:10 pm

I saw that the Red Wings were the first team to be eliminated. Lari is right,they are an old team.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:58 am

Not many believed in them, but the Sharks slayed their dragon.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:07 am

I for one didn't think the Sharks could do it but what a great series win. I'm hoping The Hawks can muster two more wins and hoping the Wild lose, they are a team I can't stand for the lfe of me but they are the one team that's such a pain in the a$$ that they can beat anybody.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:02 pm

The Pens have eliminated the Rangers, rather easily surprisingly. Lundquist was chased from the game after giving up 4 goals in the second period. He looked rather ordinary the whole series.
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Lari
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:25 pm

Holtby gets the job done for the Caps. He is the best goalie in the world at the moment. Possibly the best player.

Caps winning also sets up Crosby vs Ovechkin for round 2. It's been awhile since we had one.
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PostSubject: Re: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: First round predictions   Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:14 pm

Glad to see the Rags and the Wild gone.
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