Finally some meaningful ice hockey. Below are my score predictions for every series, a little bit of what to watch for and recommended bets all at the bottom of the page. My prediction for the Stanley Cup will also be at the bottom, and other recommended bets beyond the first round as well. I had a lot of success last season throughout the playoffs, and i'll still have daily bets for each night of hockey.
(1) Washington Capitals vs (WC2) Toronto Maple Leafs
The Caps ended up winning the president's trophy again this year (best regular season record), and they're currently the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. The Leafs are finally headed in the right direction, but I don't think they'll have enough to get past the Caps this year. I like Washington to win the series convincingly, but the Leafs will at least take a game or two off them.
Prediction - Capitals in 5
(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (3) Columbus Blue Jackets
The Pens have had another impressive season, but injuries have hit them pretty hard in the last few weeks. Letang is out for the rest of the season, and although no-one has announced anything official Malkin by the sound of it he'll be back at some point in this series. The Blue Jackets have surprised a lot of people this year, and they've been incredibly tough to beat at home. Assuming Malkin comes back, I still think the Pens have enough firepower and playoff experience to get the job done. Should be plenty of goals, i'll be taking the over in most games in this series for sure.
Prediction - Penguins in 7
(1) Montreal Canadiens vs (WC1) New York Rangers
The Canadiens start off the season on a roll, but had a horrific run during the season which lead to their coach being fired. They seem to have sorted themselves out in the last few games of the season, and have a healthy Carey Price going into the playoffs. The Rangers always seem to struggle against the Canadiens, and they have an even worse record when Carey Price is in net. The Rangers will win a few games, but with the Canadiens at full strength, hard to pick against their record against New York.
Prediction - Canadiens in 6
(2) Ottawa Senators vs (3) Boston Bruins
The Senators will be confident going into this series having won their last 6 games against the Bruins. Boston will also have Marchand back after his suspension for the spearing incident against the Lightning (smacked someone in the nads with his stick). Most of these games could be ugly, and should be pretty low scoring. I like the Bruins to get the job done, but the Senators will take at least two games off them.
Prediction - Bruins in 6
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs (WC2) Nashville Predators
The Blackhawks seem to be having another one of those seasons, scoring for fun and making it look easy. They've won the last 4 matches against the Preds, and although Nashville have been pretty good this year I can't see them stopping the Hawks. These games should have plenty of goals, but Chicago have way too much firepower for the Preds to handle.
Prediction - Hawks in 5
(2) Minnesota Wild vs (3) St. Louis Blues
At one point the Wild were the team to beat in the entire NHL, but the last month of the season they were a bit of a mess, and pretty much fell apart during the race for the #1 seed with the Hawks. The Blues have been pretty underwhelming this year, yet they still comfortably made the playoffs. This is one of the two series where an upset could happen, i'm still picking the Wild to win, but if the last few weeks of the season are anything to go by, the Blues will have a shot.
Prediction - Wild in 6
(1) Anaheim Ducks vs (WC1) Calgary Flames
The Ducks ended the season on a tear, and have won the last few meeting with the Flames. Calgary surprised a lot of people by how much they have improved since last season, but I see the Ducks carrying on their run to end the regular season and winning convincingly.
Prediction - Ducks in 5
(2) Edmonton Oilers vs (3) San Jose Sharks
McDavid is the real deal, and the Sharks will have fun trying to figure out how to stop him. San Jose haven't been playing too well the last month or so, but making it all the way to the final last year leaves them with plenty of playoff experience to take into the playoffs this year. The Sharks will definitely win a couple, but I think McDavid keeps rolling and the Oilers eventually win this series.
Prediction - Oilers in 7