2017 NHL playoffs predictions: first round
The playoffs start this week and I'm really excited. Last year was a disaster for Canadian teams, this year is quite the opposite. Edmonton and Toronto look dangerous with their young guns. Ottawa and Montreal have had solid seasons overall and seem to have enough depth for cup runs.
Alright, what are your predictions? Here are mine.
Canadiens versus Rangers: Canadiens in six. Honestly, New York hasn't convinced me this season and their games against Montreal were everything but great. I saw them live versus the Senators last Saturday and they were plain horrible with less than twenty shots and a defeat against a Senators team that had a rather bad day to be honest. The Canadiens look more composed right now.
Senators versus Bruins: Senators in six. Ironically, the Bruins have played rather well after Claude Julien's departure and the team probably just needed a change. The Bruins' physical play should never be underestimated in the playoffs. On the other side, it's not the same team as five years ago anymore as it hasn't aged that well. The Senators seem to have more chemistry and depth right now.
Capitals versus Maple Leafs: Maple Leafs in seven. I know this sounds like a crazy prediction but I really think that Toronto's young guns will be in better shape than Washington's older squad. Also, it has become a tradition that Washington outplays everyone during the regular season just to decrease significantly in quality in the playoffs.
Penguins versus Blue Jackets: Penguins in seven. Both teams have had a great season but the Penguins have finished on a higher note than the Blue Jackets who have been losing quite a few games recently. Still, one should never ever underestimate a team coached by John Tortorella and I'm expecting a really big fight and tight series. In the end, Pittsburgh might just be slightly better considering individual talent and experience.
Blackhawks versus Predators: Blackhawks in five. To be honest, Calgary and Nashville didn't make the playoffs because they were so convincing but because they were not as horrible as the rest of an overall cringe-worthy Western Conference with tank teams like Colorado and Vancouver. On the other side, the Blackhawks still have an outstanding squad and are currently cup contenders each season.
Wild versus Blues: Wild in seven. The Blues were average before the coaching change but ended the season on an overall high note. However, the Wild have been more consistent all season long. They seem to have an advantage concerning the goaltenders which can be really decisive in the playoffs, so I see them being favorites here. On the other side, Blues head coach Mike Yeo knows the Wild really well, so I still expect this being a really tight series.
Ducks versus Flames: Ducks in six. Once again, Calgary is a team that made the playoffs mainly because other teams were worse than them and not because they were fully convincing in my book. Anaheim has more experience and better chemistry and I'm quite confident they will win this series.
Oilers versus Sharks: Oilers in six. Edmonton really is on fire right now with McDavid, Draisaitl, Lucic and the others. Even though the Sharks are a very respectable team and have gone really far last season, I feel that Edmonton is on quite a run right now and difficult to stop. Their coach also knows the Sharks really well which can be an advantage.
I would predict that the Chicago Blackhawks are going to win another Stanley Cup this season but I can obviously be completely wrong. What do you guys think?
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