ESPN just posted on Twitter that the NHL Playoffs start tonight and this is the first I’m hearing of it. I follow hockey just as much as your dad follows what’s going in your life — I say things like I know what’s going on, but all of my knowledge dates back to the early 2010s. That said, the race for the Stanley Cup is the most electric postseason in sports and I am pumped for it. So, while I may not have any real clue what I’m talking about, I’ve decided to give my predictions on each first round series. Will they be correct? Probably not. Did I do any research for this? Not even a little. Will there be several statements that are either outdated or just blatantly incorrect? I assume many. Let’s do it!
Golden Knights (1) vs. Jets (WC2)
Despite my limited knowledge of hockey, I actually remember quite a bit from when the Golden Knights entered the league and stole all of my favorite players, so I do have a bit of intel on this series. Vegas knows how to score goals. Between Jonathan Marchessault, Jack Eichel, and Riley Smith the Knights have a knack for putting the puck in the net. Who the fuck is on the Jets? No one that I know. Golden Knights in 4.
Stars (2) vs. Wild (3)
Back when I was growing up both of these teams sucked. I couldn’t name a single player on either of these teams without googling it and I said I wouldn’t do that so I’m sticking to it. Since I need to make a prediction, I’ll go based on geographic location. The Stars are from Texas and the Wild are in Minnesota. Seems pretty straightforward. Wild in 7.
Oilers (2) vs. Kings (3)
In a series of old heads vs the future, I always gotta ride with the old heads. Anze Kopitar is my childhood’s Connor McDavid, except he could actually win the cup… twice. I’m not sure if Jonathan Quick is still playing but that guy was a beast and if the Kings still have him I don’t see this going more than six. I think McDavid and the Oilers take their usual first round exit. Kings in 6.
Bruins (1) vs. Panthers (WC2)
Full disclosure: I grew up 10 minutes away from the Panthers arena so I am definitely biased. Though while I will most definitely be rooting for my hometown Ice Cats, I am not naive. I fully expect us to lose in the first round. Not only are the Bruins an exceptional hockey team, but the Panthers just can’t win in the playoffs. I’ve experienced it my whole life, trust me. Bruins in 6 (should probably be 5, but I’m biased).
Avalanche (1) vs. Kraken (WC1)
Who the fuck are the Kraken? Avalanche in 5.
Maple Leafs (2) vs. Lightning (3)
This is so tricky. I hate the Lightning with a passion. I mean, they are just so good. As someone who doesn’t really understand hockey strategy outside of dump-and-chase, the Lightning seem to be the only team that draws up plays and completes passes in traffic. Everyone knows Stamkos is an all-time legend, but Tampa also has Kucherov, Point, and Vaselevski (there’s no way that’s right, but I said no research). On the other hand, the Maple Leafs have Auston Mattews (you should all be impressed I knew to spell his name with an “o”). He’s a beast, but Tampa has multiple beasts. Lightning in 7.
Devils (2) vs. Rangers (3)
The Rangers are gonna obliterate the Devils. Patrick Kane, Foxy, and Panera — that’s three players I know, so the Rangers must be pretty good. I also think they have some eastern european as goalie so that’s a good sign. They are a New York sports franchise though, so you can expect them to lose next round no matter how good they look in the first. Rangers in 5.
Hurricanes (1) vs. Islanders (WC1)
So to be completely honest, when I think of these two teams I think of the Islanders being the better team. However, I don’t really have any reasoning for that outside of the fact that they were good 5 years ago. But with the Hurricanes sitting at the one seed, it feels stupid to take the Islanders in this series. Actually I guess these predictions don’t really mean anything. Fuck it. Islanders in 7.