We’re back with the second part of our First Round predictions for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s only been one game, but yesterday didn’t go so hot. Onward!
Toronto versus Washington
If you’re looking for a potential upset this spring, keep looking. It’s great for the Maple Leafs to be back in the playoffs. Great for Toronto, the league, and the ratings. But this spring is going to be a one-and-done for them. They’re young and improving, and with Auston Matthews leading the way the sky seems to be the limit for them moving forward.
That being said, this Washington team is just too deep. They have too much offense and they don’t give up many goals. There have been a lot of talented Capitals teams since Alexander Ovechkin entered the league, but you have to imagine if they’re going to win it all, it’s got to be this year. They showed their commitment to winning this spring by acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk at the trade deadline. They”ll be playing long into the spring.
Toronto gave up the most goals against among playoff teams. The Capitals scored the third-most. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Prediction: Capitals in 5.
Nashville versus Chicago
The Nashville Predators are usually a tough team come playoff team. I’d expect the same from them this year, but I don’t think they’ll be tough enough. The Blackhawks may be the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing. And, once again, they find themselves atop the West.
Smashville has been okay this year, but nothing to the point of suggesting they’re poised for an upset. They’ve largely disappointed after being tabbed by some as a Cup favorite before the season started. It’d be nice to see them find that potential, but I don’t see it. I’ll give them a win in game 3 and 5 but that’s it.
Prediction: Blackhawks in 6.
Calgary versus Anaheim
This should be another entertaining late-night tilt for those of you watching from the East Coast. The Ducks won the Pacific yet again and finished the year with a strong 8-2 run in their last 10. They’ll be led by Ryan Getzlaf, who I’ve always been a fan of. Simply put, he possesses the ability to take a series over and dominate.
The Flames surprised a bit this year by making the jump and getting back into the playoffs. Certainly a young team being led by a a few young standout players (Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan to name a few). I think this series may be closer than people think, but I don’t believe the Flames will pull it off.
Prediction: Ducks in 7.
How do you think these First Round matchups will play out? Sound off below!