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Our Fearless Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Another year of no playoff action in Ottawa is certainly not how we wanted things to end up. For that eventual day when they do make it, the Seven Player profile is the key to them going deep in the playoffs.


Let’s see how the opening round shapes up for each of the combatants:


EASTERN CONFERENCE


The performance of both of these teams was a surprise this season. I, for one, had the Bruins missing the playoffs as I thought their candle was flaming out with the aging of Bergeron. While you may have had them in the playoffs, no one had them winning the President’s Trophy.


The Panthers underperformed most of the season based on their lineup. They might have missed the playoffs if Keith Tkachuk hadn’t called them out in the press.


Both profiles are solid, on paper, but no one on the Bruins profile underperformed this year. This one will be closer than you might think. However, I don’t see an upset in the making here.


Prediction: Bruins in 6


Update: Antti Raanta started Game 1 for Carolina


Normally, the power forward for Carolina would be Andrei Svechnikov. His loss may cost them in later rounds. I don’t see that happening here. The Canes are deep down the middle and are built for playoff hockey. Their system and coaching will help them overcome the loss of Svechnikov in the short-term.


The Islanders are deep down the middle as well. The Bo Horvat acquisition is a key piece to their puzzle, and they won’t go quietly. Noah Dobson proved that last year wasn’t a fluke. He has playoff experience and could rock the boat. The Islanders were hot as a pistol in their run to making the playoffs. Both teams have legit #1 goalies and reliable back-ups.


I think the Canes are built for now and they will get it done.


Prediction: Canes in 6


However, when you overhaul a lot of pieces on your team heading to the playoffs, that seems to contradict the “we believe in our room” statement that you hear at the podiums.


In the end, I think this one will get decided in the crease and I am not sold on Samsonov.


Prediction: Bolts in 7



The Devils were the other surprise team of the East. Most figured they would be better this year. However, a 49 point jump was the biggest jump of anyone in the East. They have legit depth at center, Ondrej Palat brings valuable experience from Tampa, and Dougie Hamilton put himself in the Norris Trophy conversation. They are a little short on experience.


The Rangers are deep and made key acquisitions at the deadline with Tarasenko and Kane. Their key advantage in this series would be Chris Kreider. This series is going to be a war and the one weakness in the Devils’ profile is a top power forward. I think Kreider will impose himself and this will be a learning year for the Devils.


Prediction: Rangers in 5


WESTERN CONFERENCE



It’s hard to believe the Jets are the lowest wild card team given that they were first in the conference at the midway point.


Upon reflection, it makes a bit more sense when you look at their profile. Their leading scorer isn’t in the profile. Kyle Connor is a winger and is not a power winger. The Knights look great everywhere but in goal. However, they should prevail in this series as they are much deeper down the middle.


The Jets have a lot of skill. However, their skill is on the perimeter with players like Connor and Ehlers. Unless Helleybuck can stand on his head, I don’t think this will be close.


Prediction: Golden Knights in 5


The Avalanche were hoping to get Gabriel Landeskog back for the playoffs. That won’t happen and that isn’t a deal breaker from them. Despite that he is their captain, they just reach back into the lineup and get another power forward in Valeri Nichushkin. Their profile is complete with plenty of spare parts.


Based on the fact that no Kraken goalie had a save percentage above 90 this year, it does make me wonder who they got 100 points. Matty Beniers will be a great player. However, he is their top center on the depth chart point wise.


This will be quick and painless.


Prediction: Avalanche in 4


Update: Korpisalo started Game 1 for LA, Vilardi is hurt


The Oilers were the hottest team in the West down the stretch. The Ekholm acquisition has paid huge dividends. I saw these two teams play live a couple of weeks ago in LA. The Oilers were the better team in all three zones.


Upon examination of the profiles, it makes sense. The Oilers are built for a run as long as Stuart Skinner doesn’t succumb to the pressure of playoff hockey.


The Kings are not deep enough down the middle and their inexperience in net is similar to the Oilers. However, the Oilers have the puck….a lot.


This won’t be close.


Prediction: Oilers in 5


From a profile perspective, the Stars key components are much older. Joe Pavelski is the Stars version of Claude Giroux as he defies Father Time. However, he is their top center and he was last year too. The emergence of Robertson as a bona fide star could tip the balance in their favour. The Stars appear deeper and Oettinger is a legit #10 goalie in the league.


The Wild play a very defensively disciplined game. Dean Evason runs a tight ship. They have to win that way as they are not deep down the middle at all. I don’t like the way they are built. However, they play the way they need to in order to be competitive.


This one is a toss up and I think the Stars will prevail on home ice.


Prediction: Start in 7


Not calling a ton of upsets in round one. I think the Wild Card teams in both conferences pose little threats. Last year, the Capitals qualified for the playoffs with 100 points. The Kraken are the only wildcard team to hit the century mark.


Round one is typically the best round with games every night. However, I think the big boys have separated themselves from the pack with solid Seven Player Profiles.


Pat Maguire | Sens Nation Hockey


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