Well, we’re on to the next round of worthless NHL playoff predictions, and the President’s Trophy curse is alive and well. How did we do in the first round? Well … we got the Edmonton, Vegas, Dallas, New Jersey (*), Carolina (*), and Toronto (*) picks correct, but we lost out on the upsets by Seattle and Florida, too. The asterisks denote that we even got the numbers of games correct—so we actually didn’t do too bad. We won’t let it go to our heads, as we pick the second round below:
Dallas vs. Seattle: The Stars were the top sabermetric team in the Western Conference, and Seattle is still a very young, inexperienced group—that is now dangerous and overflowing with confidence. Dallas only had 2 more regulation wins than the Kraken did, however. This is going to be a complicated series, but we will stick the top team—although we expect them to to have to fight for every inch of ice, all the way to the end. Dallas in seven games.
Vegas vs. Edmonton: The Oilers were the second-best team out West, despite the fact that the Golden Knights have home ice for this matchup (finishing two points higher in the standings). That makes this prediction really tough, but with seven more regulation victories than Vegas, it means Edmonton should win this series despite the lower seeding. We are calling the “upset” here, although we don’t think it’s really a true upset. Edmonton in six games.
Carolina vs. New Jersey: With Boston out, the Devils now carry the weight of being the top sabermetric team left in the Eastern Conference. Carolina was just fifth in this measurement, and the gap between the two teams is small. Also, thanks to the one-point edge in the standings, the Hurricanes have home ice. As for the RW data, both teams were tied with 39 apiece. We have to go with the smart decision here, which is against our emotions. Carolina in seven games.
Toronto vs. Florida: The Panthers pulled off the upset for the ages, so will they be exhausted afterward? We say yes. The Maple Leafs have a huge edge in sabermetrics (although so did the Bruins), and they have home ice as well. Plus, there’s emotion flowing for Toronto in advancing to the second round for the first time since 2004. The Leafs also had the second-most RW wins in the East, after Boston. Everything points to Toronto here. Everything. Toronto in five games.
Check back before the next round for our subsequent batch of worthless predictions!