Before I reveal each series winner in theTo help you establish expectations, here are some reminders about the exact number of games that the series will be won.
The To win the Cup prior to the season.
That was not the case. BeforeThe season. Now, I have data, observation, and results from each team for my prognostications. In fairness, some vibes do work.
The rosters and brackets have been set. The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs will begin Monday night. June 30 is the last day the Cup can be raised. Who will win? Who will win? Who will shock the hockey world with a win or a loss?
This is how the Stanley Cup playoffs play out. From the first round to the final game, it's all here. I apologise in advance for spoiling you for the next two weeks, but it is obvious that everything will go according to plan.
EAST FIRST ROUND
It's a sign of the Bruins' postseason prowess to have two possible first round opponents on Friday night, both screaming at the sky. “Please…not Boston again!”
The Hurricanes had to be dealt with, but the Maple Leafs managed to escape their nemesis. Carolina was defeated by the Bruins twice in their past three postseasons. The Bruins won 4-0 in 2018-19 and 4-1 2019-20. (The Hurricanes got a short reprieve last season when they were separated in the COVID-necessary realignment.
These Bruins don't exist. Names like, , . But seeing , , Carolina is likely to be frightened by the fact that you are still wearing the spoked A.
The Hurricanes were the league's top team with 2.44 goals per game. This was mainly due to their goaltending as they were 18th for expected goals against.He was in Vezina Trophy consideration prior to a late season injury that could have an impact on his availability and effectiveness in the first round. But The rookie You can also do the job.
Carolina is also very deep in the forward position.(81 points), , , , You are a rookie Mix 'em all and you will end up with two fantastic lines. The “checking” line , They are as good as they get.
They're an offensive team better than Boston. They aren't a better team on defense, which is where I think the series swings slightly to Boston's advantage. The Hurricanes take a lot of shots. The Bruins are the best at limiting high-danger shots.. They will need one of them as the best goalie for a couple of these games. That's not an unreasonable ask.
I'll be taking the Bruins here as Marchand and Pastrnak, the fourth-and fifth-highest playoff scorers, respectively, help prolong what might have been pending free agent Patrice Bermanon's last run at Boston. This might be the biggest toss up series in the first round.
Winner: Bruins eliminate Hurricanes 4-3
Because of their superior star power over conference rivals, the Penguins were once the default pick for playoff series. Pittsburgh may seem small in comparison to the Rangers who have bolder names than any gossip entry on Page Six.
(96 points), (81 points), (52 goals) Up front, with the Norris Trophy winner last season. This season's lock for The Vezina Trophy is. They are behind them (.935 savings percentage). A solid, though inexperienced, support group is there. It took some time, and some deadline acquisitions before New York's horrible underlying numbers started trending upwards for the past two month at 5-on-5. Throughout the season, the Rangers' power play led the league.
The Penguins are in a cold spell as they enter this series. They are in a 5-6-1 slump, and watching out for offensive players.Despite trying, they couldn't create any goals. Goalie With his consistent goaltending and stabilization of the Penguins' lineup, he is now out with a broken leg. It would be an understatement to say that the Rangers have outdone the Penguins this season. Pittsburgh was 1-3 and outscored 11-4. This is not a great result!
All that being said… Here, I prefer Pittsburgh.
GoalieHe doesn't have the obligation to win this season for the Penguins, but he can't lose it. In 12 appearances, he posted a save percentage of.935 since March 1. If DeSmith had been healthy during the first round of the last postseason, Jarry's terrible performance, I believe the Penguins would have won.
The Penguins have a substantial advantage in goal scoring even at full strength. The Penguins were seventh in the expected goals per 60 min at 5-on-5 (2.86), while the Rangers were 28th (2.35), after struggling in this metric all season. Shesterkin's only challenge to the Penguins is shot volume. Pittsburgh was sixth this season in shots on goal per match (34.7).
New York has overcome the 5-on-5 disadvantage through their power-play prowess. But that could be mitigated by having the Penguins have the third-best penalty kill and being tied for the second most shorthanded teams in the league.
Insist onYou can expect a mild upset if you try to win the first playoff series since 2018 as well as prolong the last ride for the Stanley Cup-winning core.
Winner: Penguins defeat Rangers 4-2.
Hmmmm… that's a hard one. We should choose between the NHL's best goal-scoring team since 1995-96, or the opponent with the MVP who could be injured and the porous goaltending. This is something I'll be pondering.
Okay, I meditated. The Panthers will win this round. And quite tidily. The Capitals are not that kind of team, and they could be trouble in seven-game series.
GoalieMostly inconsistent, but was sub-replacement. Whatever you think about The Panthers are ahead in goal. Late-season shoulder injury There may be another illness that does not cause the Russian Machine malfunction. However, Ovechkin only scored six points in his three regular season games against the Panthers.
The series is one where the Capitals and the Capitals are both the Marianas Trenchs of offensive depth. Beyond Ovechkin(78 points), The Capitals were left wanting more point production from standard-bearers, such as Some Washington career nadir statistics.
Do I worry that Florida will be unable to live up to its hype and will collapse in the first round? A coach has not yet led his team through any on-ice difficulties. It wouldn't make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs, if it did! However, I will take the Cats over the Caps as the Panthers win the first playoff series since “Fargo”.
Winner: Capitals are eliminated by Panthers 4-1.
Although we didn't perform our “series-watchability rankings” this season (which would have been a huge win), this series would still have won. The playoff-cursed Maple Leafs trying to ride an MVP Season byThey won their first postseason series victory since 2004 and the first Stanley Cup since 1967 against the back-toback Stanley Cup champion Lightning. This playoff team has more innovative ways to take out opponents than Villanelle. Yes, please.
Tampa Bay is my favorite place in the world. This is not just due to the Maple Leafs' inexplicable poor playoff fortunes, nor the “demons”, that haunt them. as assistant coach Paul MacLean put it. But because of Jon Cooper, coach You can also find out more about…
…Get it now What is it? again? They are the Tampa Bay Lightning. They will find a way for the Leafs to continue their misery.
My head says Leafs. They're third in the expected goals category and fifth in the expected goals against per sixty minutes at 5-on-5. This is better than both the Lightning and the Leafs. Matthews has been their magic keeper.5.75 goals per 60 minute at 5-on-5 is the NHL's highest production team.
In the two previous seasons, the Lightning would have deployedMatthews, and Hedman against line. They called it a series. They will be missing Gourde's forward team (with ) here. Vasilevskiy also looked a little too human in a season where his numbers dropped.
My heart still calls for the Lightning. My head still says the Leafs. It wouldn't surprise me, given Toronto's tradition.
Winner: Maple Leafs eliminate Lightning 4-2
EAST SECOND ROUND
In a sequenceThe Bruins should keep their championship window open for one more round than the Penguins. At 5-on-5, their defense should stop the Penguins from attacking. They'll have, theoretically, also found a hot goalie between Ullmarks and Swayman. Since 2013, when the Penguins beat them in the Eastern Conference finals, the Bruins have not faced them in the playoffs. This one will be closer.
Winner: Bruins eliminate Penguins 4-2
What would Vegas sportsbooks set for the over/under Game 1 in this series? Like, 14 goals?
This would make a wonderful series., former Leaf” subplot. Two of the top NHL goal-scoring teams put on a show. Naturally, every game will end in 2-1 because it's the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The majority of Toronto will now be deep into championship-parade preparations after they have won the first round. Florida will defeat Toronto in seven games. This marks the fifth straight postseason where Toronto chooses “go home”, in a series that ends with a “win-or-go home” finale.
Winner: Panthers eliminate Leafs 4-3
EASTERN CONFERENCES FINALS
Your classic styles clash with the best offensive team over the past 26 years and a Bruins defense team that still knows how it plays. While you are seeingFind new and innovative ways to stimulate Fun would be the right word. The Panthers are just too deep for the Bruins.
If Florida can make it to this point, the NHL postseason will be as goal-friendly as the regular seasons, which plays to the Cats strengths.
Winner: Panthers beat Bruins 4-1.
WEST FIRST ROUND
The embarrassing fall of the Predators in theThe team's final game in Glendale, Friday night, saw them drop to the last wild-card spot and be matched with the Avalanche in the first round. Darryl Sutter, the great philosopher, once stated: “If your team is a wild-card, I sure as hell don’t want to play Colorado the first round. It's going be a waste eight days.”
The great “What if?” The great “what if” in this series is whether these days would have been wasted.been healthy. According to reports, the Predators goalie has a high ankle strain and is now out of action. The untested hands of . With due respect Saros was their MVP. He started 67 games, and he won 38 of the 45 games this season. This includes two games against Colorado.
He is not expected to participate in the series. Meanwhile, Avalanche goalieIn 2022, he was one of the top players in the league. The Avalanche should have an easy path to advancement. Although Colorado is the superior 5-on-5 side, the special teams battle is closer than anticipated. We'll give Preds a win at home, except Josi, the Norris Trophy rival. The series.
Winner: Avalanche eliminate Predators 4-1
All theWe must not overlook the inefficiencies inherent to the current format. The Wild (113) & the Blues (109) are the second and fourth-best Western Conference teams, respectively. However, they will have to face each other in Round 1 of the playoffs. According to the old 1-through-8 conference format the Wild would have hosted Kings and the Blues the Oilers. Instead, the series has a one-and-done Stanley Cup contender, which is a shame.
The St. Louis Blues will be that contender.
All season, I have been a big fan of the Blues. Their 3.77 goals per game average is the highest in franchise history, since 1990-91.Scored 86 goals. Although they didn't quite reach those heights, the Blues had impressive offensive depth. (77 points). His playmaking center has blossomed to be one of the NHL's top centers. His current line is a steamroller that features offseason coups The Blues' 82-point leader, who went beyond demanding a trade and now demands a trade.
Had a star-making campaign of 75 points, while friends such as , , This contributed to the offensive explosion. Blue line contributed more scoring, thanks to .
Meanwhile in goal,The Blues have everything they need They are no longer able to consistently provide them with a 25-7-6 record, and a.919 savings percentage.
A great team, as I already said! They are deserving home ice, but they have a much more difficult opponent. Alas…
The Blues were as goal-happy this season as the Wild. However, the Wild finished just 0.05 goals behind St. Louis in the best offensive season. Their franchise's history. They will see your Tarasenko, and they will raise you.(108 points). (85 points), (79 points), (34 goals) – and rookie A team with 11 players scoring at least 30 points scored 39 points in 47 games. I would put their top three lines against any NHL team — even if they suffered a late-season injury. He is a danger to the GREEF lines. .
The story is about defense for Minnesota. Under head coachThe Wild are the second-best team for expected goals against per 60 minute at 5-on-5 in the past two seasons. This season, they are the second-best team when it comes to limiting high-danger shot attempts against goaltending. They are an elite defensive unit.
Minnesota's goaltending will be the difference in the postseason. They've used their two-way forwards and deep blue line in the past to provide stellar defense. However, this was hampered by poor goaltending. So they traded.The 9-2-0 record for them was held by. The NHL's second-best save percentage (.929) has been in place since March 19 (min. 10 games).
I'm happy for the Wild to win and take revenge on St. Louis' Winter Classic party. It would have been better if they didn't have a first round.
Wild eliminate Blues wins 4-2
Kudos to The Stars for making it into the Western Conference's postseason. To earn this chance, they won a de facto playoff match against the Vegas Golden Knights. It's a shame they didn't win another.
Dallas is a one-liner team. It's an excellent line., At 5-on-5, their expected goals percentage is over 60%. Robertson produced a stealth MVP year; while Dallas will only see him briefly in the playoffs', I think it is a good thing for the NHL to get him in the spotlight.
However, beating the Flames is like going to the supermarket on a weekend morning and not having more than one option. Calgary can throw, The Robertson line. They are able to send any winger out with We prefer With that duo. They'll be able to protect the Stars' stars from being attacked and also take care of their defensive needs. This is a huge advantage.
In goal,Stars has been outstanding; honestly, I believe he can take credit with this playoff berth due to his play in these last two weeks. With nine shutouts this year, He was a Vezina Trophy finalist goalie, even though Dallas beat him this season.
It is the fact that Dallas has been playing playoff-level games the past two weeks, while the Flames are in cruise control at the top of the division. This gives me cause to pause. This is conservation of energy, or the foundation for a first round stunner. We've seen the former play out before.
I will say the former emphatically.
Winner: Flames win over Stars 4-0
Juuse Saros is second to be injured by the Predators in “what if?” department isBeing out with an injured hand for the Kings. What if he was available to deploy against the Kings? Oder ? Is this a new series?
The Kings won't be easy to beat. All season they've had strong underlying numbers. Their veterans have been their best players. They might not have Doughty but they haveto go against the Oilers' top players. Edmonton is my only concern. The The Revival Tour continues into the playoffs, and a 36 year-old goalie who has saved 24 goals above average this season can enjoy one more chance at playoff dominance.
The 40-year old goalie on the team has not been bad either. The Oilers are blessed with a small roster, two superstars and as much goaltending as they can get. It's no secret.. Smith is feeling it right this moment: He has won nine straight victories, and only twice has he conceded more goals than that. He should be able to carry that through the first round of playoffs. Let Connor or Leon handle the rest.
It will be interesting for the Kings. They did it all in a very nice way.For Before the playoffs, as an extra carrot for boys. This could be seven rather than six. L.A. will not go beyond the first round unless Quick comes off.
Winner: Oilers eliminate Kings 4-2
WEST SECOND ROUND
There are four teams I think have a chance of beating the Avalanche. Colorado has three teams that are in the Western Conference and two that are bracketed to face them in the semifinals.
Minnesota's offensive weaponry and defensive skills are strong enough to compete with the Avs even at full strength. This series could be decided by special teams. It could even tip to Colorado. Therefore, the Wild need to make sure it doesn’t.
However, they must win two games against the Avalanche if they are to defeat them. They must punch them in their mouths, metaphorically. The Avalanche lost three of their most recent playoff eliminations to physical teams that could grind for goals in offensive zone. The Wild are known for winning these types of battles. Minnesota's home ice hockey is its best. To defeat this team, it will have to win all three games.
I believe either the Blues, or Wild have a chance of taking out the Avalanche. I believe Minnesota's victory over the Blues will spur a Nathan MacKinnon-style postgame news conference.
Wild eliminate Avalanche 4-2
While we may not be able to get the Battle of Florida East in this postseason, we will have the slobber-knocker known the Battle of Alberta West. The Smythe Division semifinals were 1991 when the Flames and Oilers last met in the postseason. It's been a while.
Is it worth the wait? I believe so. The depth advantage that the Flames enjoy in being able to send players like Lindholm and Backlund, Tkachuk and Coleman on separate lines to defend McDavid or Draisaitl is a huge advantage. There's always the possibility that Mike Smith will turn into a pumpkin in the second round. Jay Woodcroft, Edmonton's interim coach, has been so successful that it's difficult to imagine that this will not be a close-fought fight.
Calgary will defeat their provincial rivals to advance to the conference finals.
Winner: Flames eliminate Oilers 4-3
This series is not for the weak of heart. Two formidable 5-on-5 defensive teams that defend their goalies from high risk shot attempts. Two talented offensive forwards who can play defense as well as physical mix. Two arenas with incredible atmospheres.
Minnesota is my choice because of their blue line depth and the hope that they will be able to win the Stanley Cup Final after the Blues and Avalanche. Calgary is actually very good.
Wild eliminate Flames 4-2.
STANLEY CUP FINAL
All media that covered the Stanley Cup Final – my apologies. It won't be as difficult as flying from South Florida, Alberta to Calgary a few times but it's not as bad!
The best thing about the Stanley Cup Final is that it will feature a first-time Stanley Cup champion. Since 1996, when the Panthers were rat-tossing and lost to the Avalanche, they have not played for one. Only the Wild have made it to the Conferencing finals2003 was the first time it happened. The crowning of a new champion means that a city also gets to taste the Cup for the first time.
The Panthers' win means Joe Thornton, Claude Giroux and their first taste of the team. It is the end to a memorable season for Florida. One that began with Joel Quenneville's shocking (and necessary) resignation and Andrew Brunette as interim coach. Jonathan Huberdeau's 115-point season was the most productive in franchise history. One that produced an offensive juggernaut unlike anything the NHL has seen in more than 25 years. That will ultimately be the difference.
Offense beats defense. The beaches are better than the lakes. Stanley Cup: Wild beat the Panthers.
Winner: Stanley Cup win for the Panthers, 4-2