The NHL’s version of the Frozen Four starts tonight, with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders squaring off in the Eastern Conference Finals, while the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars duke it out in Western Conference Finals. We’ve always maintained there’s nothing better in sports than the Stanley Cup.

Our round-two predictions … well, we didn’t pick the Stars, that’s for sure, although we did nail the Golden Knights in seven games over the Vancouver Canucks. We were on board with the Lightning while giving the Boston Bruins too much credit, and we knew the Islands-Flyers series would go the distance, yet we thought it would be Philadelphia still skating right now.

So we were half right? We have picked seven of the 12 playoff series accurately, getting three perfect right down to the number of games. Our picks for this round feel “easy”—but again, if anyone had the Islanders and the Stars still in their brackets right now? They should head to Vegas.

(Symbolically speaking, because you don’t want to catch COVID.)

Tampa Bay vs. New York: We have not picked the Isles yet, and we won’t start now. Sooner or later their luck has to run out, right? This was a team that was outscored in its 68 regular-season games—and just 24 regulation/overtime victories, no less. They have no business being in the ECF against the Lightning. No business. Tampa Bay in five games.

Vegas vs. Dallas: The Golden Knights are the better team, sabermetrically speaking, but the Stars just beat the Colorado Avalanche—the best sabermetric team in the Western Conference. There’s not a lot separating the two teams, but based on goal differential and ROWs, we will pick the better team to emerge in the end. Vegas in seven games.

Make sure to check back at the completion of the conference finals for our final attempt at fruitless NHL predictions this season!