So, how did we do with our first-round predictions for the National Hockey League playoffs?
- Philadelphia over Montréal in five: The Flyers won in six games.
- Tampa Bay over Columbus in four: The Lightning won in five games.
- Washington over New York in six: The Islanders won in five games.
- Boston over Carolina in six: The Bruins won in five games.
- Vegas over Chicago in five: The Golden Knights won in five games.
- Colorado over Arizona in five: The Avalanche won in five games.
- Calgary over Dallas in six: The Stars won in six games.
- St. Louis over Vancouver in seven: The Canucks won in six games.
Well, that was a mixed bag, and the biggest upset—seeing the defending Stanley Cup champs from St. Louis collapse after the restart—is somewhat shocking. Vancouver posted six fewer regulation wins than the Blues did in the shortened regular season, but clearly, the Canucks were more prepped for the restart than St. Louis.
We nailed two series exactly and picked five winners in eight overall: barely above average. Maybe we can do better in the second round? Doubtful, but we will try anyway …
- Colorado vs. Dallas: The Avs are the now the team to beat in the Western Conference, for sure. They finished with a whopping 11 more regulation wins than the Stars did, and both teams have momentum coming into this series. This is a total mismatch, statistically speaking, and we will support Colorado here. Avs in five.
- Tampa Bay vs. Boston: This is a flat-out grudge match. Two years ago, the Lightning eliminated the Bruins in five games during this round, and last year, Boston advanced to the Cup Finals before losing to St. Louis. The Lightning have lost in the conference finals or the Finals four times since 2011. Is this their year? Maybe. Lightning in seven.
- Vegas vs. Vancouver: There was not a lot separating these two teams in the regular season, and both squads have won 7 times since the restart began. The Golden Knights are the top seed, and that should give them the slight edge on the ice. Plus, they are a sentimental favorite of ours, since we covered their first season in the NHL. Golden Knights in seven.
- Philadelphia vs. New York: The Isles were outscored by a goal during their 68-game regular season, but they are 7-2 overall since the restart. Clearly, they’re a different team. The Flyers were significantly better during the regular season and have stayed hot. We’re going to go with consistency here, plus home ice. Flyers in seven.
Make sure to check back at the completion of the second round for our next attempt at fruitless NHL predictions!