Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round Picks

With the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs upon us, it’s time for everyone’s favorite activity: picking winners!

So who do we see getting through the first round series in this year’s wide open postseason? What upsets do we see in the future? It’s all here, so feel free to praise our genius, mock our selections, or wait until it’s all over to see whether we were brilliant or buffoonish.

Washington Over Philadelphia – 5 Games

The Capitals are a team that has shown some exhaustion down the stretch after winning the President’s Trophy, but even against a hot Flyers team we’re still digging their make-up. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are incredible players, Braden Holtby is a tremendous goaltender, and Barry Trotz is a very good coach.

Pittsburgh Over New York Rangers – 7 Games

This series should certainly favor the Penguins, but we’re giving the Blueshirts a fighter’s chance here. The addition of Phil Kessel has meant the world to this Pittsburgh team though, and there are plenty of people picking them to win the Cup with good reason.

Florida Over New York Islanders – 5 Games

This series had the potential to be really close, but we’re banking on the loss of Jaroslav Halak to be a big blow to this Islanders squad. Besides, how difficult would it be to pick against Roberto Luongo and Jaromir Jagr? We’re picking the Panthers to continue their wild ride.

Detroit Over Tampa Bay – 6 Games

The Lightning are the defending Eastern Conference champions, but with the slew of injuries that this team has sustained late in the season, it’s tough to pick them to win here. The Red Wings aren’t the greatest squad either, so picking them for an upset might be a fool’s errand, but we’re betting Jimmy Howard and Dylan Larkin will provide enough support to Pavel Datsyuk and company to earn a series win.

Nashville Over Anaheim – 6 Games

Another big upset here, as we’re picking the red-hot Predators to dispatch the red-hot Ducks. This should be a fun series with a ton of cool storylines, but we’ve really liked what we’ve seen from Nashville lately, and there is a serious case to be made that Pekka Rinne is the best goaltender in the league at the moment.

Los Angeles Over San Jose – 5 Games

This series pick would indicate that the Kings are an overwhelming favorite, but don’t sleep on the Sharks. They are a talented team with guys like Joe Thornton hungry to finally win a Cup, but we’re banking on the veteran know-how of guys like Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick. We’d also argue that the Kings are the most complete team in the league this season, giving them an additional boost.

Dallas Over Minnesota – 5 Games

We’ve heard the same arguments that the Stars’ style of play will not translate to postseason success, but this is an offensively explosive group going up against a Minnesota team that is going to be missing Zach Parise for at least two games. Minnesota has defied expectations before, but it’s hard to see them doing that here.

Chicago Over St. Louis – 7 Games

The Blackhawks are a team that’s loaded with playoff experience and big performers, but the Blues are one of the toughest first round opponents that they’ve ever had to go up against. Their goaltending is stellar. Their defense is deep and disciplined. Our real question is the one surrounding their offense, which has great players like Vladimir Tarasenko but may not be good enough to go deep. They’re definitely a “believe it when you see it” type of team, and the Blackhawks have proven it time and again. 

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