A bit late posting here but here’s my 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs predictions!
Just to be fair, as I’m about to post this, the Columbus Blue Jackets lead the Tampa Bay Lightning headed to the third period of Game 1 in their first round series.
Please take these with a grain of salt because predictions of anything in the COVID19 world need to be the opposite of what makes sense as the Montreal Canadiens and the Chicago Blackhawks showed us in the Stanley Cup qualifiers. So without further ado, here are my predictions on how the first round will go for the Bruins and the other 15 remaining NHL teams battling for Lord Stanley as well as who will hoist the best damn trophy in pro sports, the Stanley Cup:
Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes: The Boston Bruins could be playing with fire given the way they approached the round-robin games and looking at them as what Brad Marchand termed on Monday as ‘Preseason games’. Can they turn the switch on and go from preseason to playoff mode? The read here is, not as much as they think they can but enough to pull the series out in seven games.
Prediction: Bruins in 7
Player to watch: David Krejci
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
I was all set to pick a Blue Jackets upset of the Lightning with Victor Hedman being hurt but with him back and the potential of Steven Stamkos returning, I’m going with the Bolts.
Prediction: Lightning in 6
Player to watch: Victor Hedman
New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals
The professor comes back to beat his protege and former students as Barry Trotz faces Todd Reardon and the Capitals for the first time in the playoffs.
Prediction: Islanders in 5
Player to watch: Ryan Pulock
Montreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers
If the Habs lose this series, they will have lost not just a chance at the Stanley Cup but also at Alexis Lafreniere, the top pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and a potential French Canadian superstar. That scenario won’t happen though as Claude Julien outcoaches Alain Vigneault again!
Prediction: Canadiens in 6
Player To Watch: Nick Suzuki
ECF Final: Yes, I know the Canadiens will need to knock off the Bolts and they will. This is the eastern Conference we should’ve gotten ten years ago but the Bruins choked against the Flyers and the Flyers played the Habs. This time, it’s rivalry renewed in the bubble!
Prediction: Bruins over Canadiens
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Unlike the Canadiens in the East, I don’t see the Blackhawks Cinderella run going any further. Knights are just too deep, balanced, and too strong between the pipes.
Prediction: Knights Sweep
Player to watch: Robin Lehner
Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars
I picked the Jets to win the Western Conference so the Flames already made me eat major crow. I don’t like the taste of crow so going with the Flames here but in a battle.
Prediction: Flames in 7
Player to watch: Milan Lucic
St. Louis Blues vs. Vancouver Canucks
I know it’s hard for contenders like the Blues and Bruins to take the round-robin seriously but it does matter when you’re facing a fast, hungry and young team in the first round as the Blues are with the upstart Canucks.
Prediction: Canucks in 6
Player To Watch: Brock Boeser
Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes
Kudos to the Coyotes for making it to the dance after their GM bailed on them just prior to the qualifiers but the Av’s and Knights appear to be on a collision course in the West here. Darcy Kuemper will make it interesting but Colorado pulls away.
Prediction: Avalanche in 6
WCF Prediction: This one will be a war! Avalanche over Knights
Stanley Cup Final: I had been waffling on this and wasn’t sure about the Av’s over the Knights or if the Bruins were going to pay for their nonchalant attitude in the round-robin but this was my preseason prediction and I’m going back to it. This also means that National Hockey Now will have two sites in the Cup Final with Colorado Hockey Now and BHN! In the end, the Bruins prevail and Tuukka Rask gets his Stanley Cup as a starter
Prediction: Bruins over Avalanche