Madhouse Enforcer's 2014-15 NHL Predictions: Stanley Cup Playoffs | NBC Chicago
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Madhouse Enforcer's 2014-15 NHL Predictions: Stanley Cup Playoffs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ben Smith, middle, celebrates as Los Angeles Kings right wing Marian Gaborik, left, and center Anze Kopitar look away after Game 6 of the Western Conference finals of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs in Los Angeles, Friday, May 30, 2014. The Blackhawks won 4-3.

    The NHL season is finally upon us, and every writer and pundit worth their salt is making their picks as to who will hoist the Stanley Cup next June.

    Unfortunately, all those worthy writers are busy with other things, so you’re stuck with our picks for the NHL playoffs next spring.

    Eastern Conference First Round:

    Pittsburgh over Philadelphia

    Columbus over Washington

    Tampa Bay over New York Islanders

    Montreal over Boston

    No real surprises here, other than we have the Canadiens knocking off the Bruins. A couple of those series could turn out to be real doozies, as the Penguins and Flyers loathe each other the way the Bruins and Canadiens do. The Lightning and Islanders will showcase some of the best young talent in the NHL, but we have the Bolts knocking the Isles off.

    Western Conference First Round:

    Anaheim over San Jose

    Los Angeles over Minnesota

    Chicago over Dallas

    St. Louis over Colorado

    No upsets on the Western Conference end for our first round, but the Stars could certainly give the Blackhawks fits, and the Avalanche could do the same for the Blues. It’s just really hard to pick against the top four teams in the conference, so we went with the coward’s way out and didn’t.

    Eastern Conference Second Round:

    Pittsburgh over Columbus

    Montreal over Tampa Bay

    We have our first big upset of the playoffs so far with the Habs knocking off the Bolts. Plenty of experts have picked the Lightning to reach the Stanley Cup Final, or even to win it, this year, but we’re gambling on Carey Price stepping up in a big way. The other series wasn’t as close in our eyes, but the Blue Jackets are an up-and-coming team that could pull an upset if they get a great series out of Ryan Johansen and Sergei Bobrovsky.

    Western Conference Second Round:

    Los Angeles over Anaheim

    Chicago over St. Louis

    For the third year in a row, we’re predicting that the Western Conference Final will feature the Blackhawks and the Kings. Los Angeles is simply too strong in all facets of the game, and the Ducks, while improved over last year, still won’t have enough. As for the Hawks, the questions about their defensive depth won’t be as pertinent come playoff time, and with the loads of experience they have in all phases of the game, they should be able to outlast St. Louis.

    Conference Finals:

    Montreal over Pittsburgh

    Chicago over Los Angeles

    In another surprise, we’re picking Montreal to win the Prince of Wales Trophy over the favored Penguins. Both teams move the puck well, so we should see a fascinating battle. As for the Blackhawks, the Kings are always going to be a really tough team to play against, but we’ll bet that the Hawks will have what it takes to avenge last season’s Game 7 defeat.

    Stanley Cup Final:

    Chicago over Montreal

    Breaking news: Blackhawks blog picks Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. It’s hardly an original thought, and plenty of commentators are picking the Hawks to win their third championship in six seasons, but the evidence is there to support the claim. The team bolstered their center depth with Brad Richards, still have arguably the best 1-2 punch in terms of defensive pairings, and their special teams’ play is a huge asset. The Canadiens are a good team, but it’s hard to see them beating Chicago in a seven game series. 

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