Predicting the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs
It’s the best time of the year for NHL fans, so let’s get stuck into which teams look set to make it to the second round of the playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, who should overwhelm the New Jersey Devils. But, their not-so-secret weapon, Taylor Hall, will certainly have his say. Hall is at +115 to score more goals than Nikita Kucherov in this series with the top NHL bookmakers in Canada.
Boston Bruins versus Toronto Maple Leafs is tipped to be the best series of this first round. Boston come in as the favourites against the still very youthful Maple Leafs. But, with Canada behind them, Toronto could very well steal this series and are +120 to do so.
This may appear as a run of the mill round one matchup, but there’s a lot of bad blood between the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets could pull off an upset, but the Caps look poised to edge what is set to be a physical series.
A matchup that always produces goals, fights and great hockey is the Battle of Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Penguins need to conquer their bitter rivals to continue their quest to achieve the three-peat. But, the underdog Philadelphia Flyers are in with a sniff at +205 to take the series.
The Nashville Predators won the Presidents’ Trophy, and so automatically become the favourites to win it all with the bookmakers at +375. The Predators should ease their way past the Colorado Avalanche with a couple of games to spare.
Canada’s other representative, the Winnipeg Jets, impressed throughout the season and are expected to crush the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are a strong team, but the Jets should have enough to boot them quite early. They’re at +450 to win the series 4-1.
Vegas have made it to the promised land in their very first season. They face the Los Angeles Kings, who play a very similar style to the Golden Knights. Vegas should be able to ride their wave past the Kings and are at -133 to win the series.
San Jose Sharks versus Anaheim Ducks is set to be one of the most heated series. The two are California rivals and meet in the postseason regularly. The Ducks are favoured with the bookies, but the Sharks look better equipped to take the series. San Jose is at +550 to win the series 4-3.