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Fearless Round Two Playoff Predicitons

Round one of the NHL playoffs never ceases to amaze. The Seven Player Profile Predictor went .500 in round one. In baseball, that’s a guaranteed Hall of Fame induction. In the ever-increasing betting world we live in, you break even. After the juice, of course.

Here’s an assessment of each series and predictions for round 2 based on the strength of the profile.


Boston Bruins (A1) vs Florida Panthers (W2)

Well, this one shocked a lot of people, including myself. I didn’t expect it to be a cakewalk.

The Panthers never played with enough consistency for me to believe they could take the Bruins in a seven-game series. I never believed the Bruins were as good as they showed throughout the season. No one is. That said, I thought they were the better team. Ironically, the return of Patrice Bergeron for the last three games didn’t help. He struggled and so did they.

For the first five games, the Bruins looked like the better team despite a flu bug running through their dressing room. Even the game-five loss was a dominant performance where Bobrovsky stole a game. In games six and seven, the Bruins became what I expected them to be at the start of the season when I predicted they would miss the playoffs.

A heart-warming note for Sens Nation would be seeing what Matthew Tkachuk did to the Bruins in round one. That is but a taste of the terror that Brady will unleash on the opposition in the not-too-distant future.

Prediction: Bruins in 6 Result: Panthers in 7

Carolina Hurricanes (M1) vs New York Islanders (W1)

The Canes were, in round one, what they were all year; Physical, structured and consistent. I expected the Islanders to give them a good test. In the end, it may seem like a fluky goal was the difference. The Canes’ profile played better than the Islanders’ profile did.

Prediction: Canes in 6 - Called it 😊

Toronto Maple Leafs (A2) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (A3)

I wasn’t big on Ilya Samsonov going into the playoffs. Turns out, he was the better Russian goalie in that series. He showed mental toughness rebounding from game one. The key piece was Ryan O’Reilly who managed to have an impact in those two key road games and had seven points in the series.

Prediction: Bolts in 7 Result: Leafs in 6

New Jersey Devils (M2) vs New York Rangers (M3)

After the first two games of the series, I thought this prediction was rock solid. Chris Kreider ran roughshod over them and Vanecek looked shaky in the Devils net. I understand that Akira Schmid played great in the Devils net. However, the Devils two centers, Hughes and Hischier were more productive than Zibanejad and Trocheck were for the Rangers. Ondrej Palat’s experience from Tampa Bay was worth his weight in gold and the Devils managed to keep the Rangers to the outside at home.

Prediction: Rangers in 5 Result: Devils in 7


Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs Winnipeg Jets (W2)

When I predicted the Knights in five games, I didn’t know the Jets would lose Josh Morrissey in game 3 and Mark Scheifele in Game 4. The Knights were healthier and deeper. This result made sense.

Prediction: Golden Knights in 5 - Called It 😊

Colorado Avalance (C1) vs Seattle Kraken (W1)

I was way off on this one. I didn’t take the Kraken seriously enough and perhaps I took the Avalanche too seriously. The Avalanche were the best team down the stretch trying to get 1st overall in the west. They expended a lot of effort to get it only to come up short. They may have drained themselves in the process.

That said, the Avalanche top two centers delivered. Beniers struggled to get momentum, but another former Bolt proved to be worth his weight in gold in the playoffs in Yanni Gourde.

The Avalanche could have survived without Gabriel Landeskog. However, the loss of Nichushkin left them without an option at power forward. That said, the Kraken lost Jared McCann and up sprung Oliver Bjorkstrand.

Mackinnon ended up doing a lot on his own and, in game 7, like the Rangers, the Avalanche couldn’t get to the net.

Prediction: Avalanche in 4 Result: Kraken in 7

Edmonton Oilers (P2) vs Los Angeles Kings (P3)

This one played out as I expected for the most part. The Oilers were 60% on the power play in round one. Every player in their profile delivered when needed. Skinner showed some resilience bouncing back from getting pulled and then that late game broken stick mishap.

The Kings just weren’t deep enough down the middle.

Prediction: Oilers in 5 Result: Oilers in 6

Dallas Stars (C2) vs Minnesota Wild (C3)

As long as the Wild are carrying Suter and Parise on their cap, they are going to be in tough to deliver a team that can win in the playoffs. They are very well coached and play a very structured game. In the end, they couldn’t exploit Joe Pavelski being out of the lineup.

Filip Gustavsson became more beatable as the series went along and Jake Oettinger is rock solid.

Prediction: Stars in 7 Result: Stars in 6



Toronto Maple Leafs (A2) vs Florida Panthers (W2)

Leafs Panthers

1. #1 all star center Auston Matthews, Sasha Barkov

2. #2 all star center John Tavares, Carter Verhaeghe

3. Top power forward William Nylander, Matthew Tkachuk

4. Specialist/Utility Player/Agitator/ Ryan O’Reilly, Eric Staal

Shutdown center

5. All star offensive d-man Morgan Reilly, Brandon Montour

6. Top shutdown d-man Mark Giordano, Aaron Eckblad

7. All star goalie Ilya Samsonov, Sergei Bobrovsky

This one is going to be really tight. However, power forwards had a great impact on the opening round. This was never more evident than Matthew Tkachuk and how he affected the outcome of the series with the Bruins.

I think he is going to eat Nylander’s lunch, and this will go the way of the Panthers as long as Bobrovsky holds up his end of the bargain.

Prediction: Panthers in 6

Carolina Hurricanes (M1) vs New Jersey Devils (M2)

Hurricanes Devils

1. #1 all star center Sebastian Aho, Jack Hughes

2. #2 all star center Martin Necas, Nico Hischier

3. Top power forward Jesper Fast, Tim Meier

4. Specialist/Utility Player/Agitator/ Jordan Staal, Ondrej Palat

Shutdown center

5. All star offensive d-man Brent Burns, Dougie Hamilton

6. Top shutdown d-man Jacob Slavin, Ryan Graves

7. All star goalie Antti Raanta, Akira Schmid

Combined with added rest the Canes have had and the emotional letdown I would expect from the Devils having played the Rangers in 7, I think the Canes get it done here.

The Canes are deep and built right. The Devils have the speed and the experience of Palat can’t be understated. However, I am not subscribing to the “Akira Schmid is the next Patrick Roy” just yet.

Structure and strength trumps the speed dynamic in this series.

Prediction: Canes in 6


Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs Edmonton Oilers (P2)

Golden Knights Oilers

1. #1 all star center Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid

2. #2 all star center Chandler Stephenson, Leon Draisaitl

3. Top power forward Mark Stone, Evander Kane

4. Specialist/Utility Player/Agitator/ Ivan Barbashev, Zach Hyman

Shutdown center

5. All star offensive d-man Alex Pietrangelo, Darnell Nurse

6. Top shutdown d-man Shea Theodore, Mattias Ekholm

7. All star goalie Laurent Broissoit, Stuart Skinner

This is the marquee match up of round two. Both teams are healthy and reasonably well rested. I love the Oilers depth down the middle. However, the Oilers are about to play the least penalized team in the league in the regular season.

Neither team really has an edge in goal though Brossoit has more experience. Mark Stone is making an early bid for the Conne Smythe which will make the Brannstrom trade go down nicely ☹

I think the Oilers have drawn a tough second round match up. Would like to have seen this in the conference finals.

Prediction: Golden Knights in 7

Dallas Stars (C2) vs Seattle Kraken (W1)

Stars Kraken

1. #1 all star center Joe Pavelski, Matty Beniers

2. #2 all star center Roope Hintz, Yanni Gourde

3. Top power forward Jason Robertson, Oliver Bjorkstrand

4. Specialist/Utility Player/Agitator/ Jamie Benn, Jordan Eberle

Shutdown center

5. All star offensive d-man Miro Heiskanen, Vince Dunn

6. Top shutdown d-man Gary Suter, Adam Larsson

7. All star goalie Jake Oettinger, Philipp Grubauer

If I am honest, I am looking for a reason to pick Stars. Call me petty, but I don’t like seeing expansion teams excel without knowing any growing pains.

Dave Hakstol has the Kraken playing great five on five hockey and will likely be on the ballot for the Jack Adams. Peter DeBoer has the Stars playing great structural hockey as well and they swallowed up the Wild in round one.

In the end, Jason Robertson had a great round one and I expect that to continue as power forwards seem to be the order of the day in the NHL playoffs.

Coupled with Oettinger being a stud in goal, I like the Stars in my head and in my heart.

Prediction: Stars in 5

Round one of the playoffs has really highlighted the debate for “Going for it” at the trade deadline.

If you look at the teams that bowed out, the Rangers went all in on this season. The logic seemed solid. Kane had a decent first round. Tarasenko was invisible.

Boston loaded up with Bertuzzi and Orlov and both played well. The logic was sound as they likely view this as Bergeron’s swan song.

The Islanders swung for the fences on Bo Horvat and this was likely key to getting them to the dance in the first place. However, in round one, he was ineffective.

Then again, the Avalanche pretty much stood pat and look what that got them.

If you have to change the team substantially at the deadline, you are likely not as good as you think.

I view the trade deadline to plug holes and add depth. I don’t look at it as trying to add star power as this can affect the chemistry of the team. It may hurt to say this, but the Ryan O’Reilly acquisition was the difference in getting the Leafs through round one by giving them a third line center with experience and leadership.

I expect the power forwards to continue to dominate the playoffs this season and that only bodes well for the Senators’ future.

By Pat Maguire | Sens Nation Hockey


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