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Toronto-Boston is going to be a fantastic series.

Love the Battle of Florida

Jets Avs will be a slug fest.

Vancouver may get surprised by Nash.

Vegas is not ideal, but Edmonton has far better D, secondary scoring, playoff experience and a more mature Skinner.
 
Toronto-Boston is going to be a fantastic series.

Love the Battle of Florida

Jets Avs will be a slug fest.

Vancouver may get surprised by Nash.

Vegas is not ideal, but Edmonton has far better D, secondary scoring, playoff experience and a more mature Skinner.

Vancouver has gone wire to wire on top of the division and consistent all year long. Very consistent. Lack of playoff experience for many of them, but I'm taking them over Nashville.

Are we recording our picks each round - see who Skyrise champ will be?
 
^they have been quite consistent and have a very good team, but Nashville might be the biggest question mark of any team and can cause A LOT of problems for team.

Yes, we must!
 
Vancouver has gone wire to wire on top of the division and consistent all year long. Very consistent. Lack of playoff experience for many of them, but I'm taking them over Nashville.

Are we recording our picks each round - see who Skyrise champ will be?

Round 1:

West:

Vancouver x Nashville (still could be LA or Vegas, but it's unlikely)
I'd say the odds are in Vancouver's favour because they are the better team, but who knows how Demko will be when he returns. Their depth is great, their defense is probably the best of any playoff team in the West and they seem to be a very calm and collected team. Having home ice advantage is also be a major factor here. The Preds are, in my opinion, the most underrated playoff team in the West, and I do think they're a better team than the LAK. Saaros and Josi have been hot lately, but I don't think it'll be enough to beat the Canucks, even if they are Demkoless (or with him not at his best).
I'd favour Vancouver 60/40.
My prediction: Canucks in 6

Edmonton x Vegas
(Could still be LA, but unlikely)
Vegas will be stacked for the playoffs, and they have the playoff experience and grit, but they haven't played their full post trade deadline roster together, and the new guys might not gel with the ones coming back from LTIR. The Oilers have a better team, on paper, and are much improved over last year. Not as much in terms of roster moves, but consistency, 5-on-5 strength and goaltending. Since Knoblauch took over, Edmonton has been the league's best team in almost all aspects (tied 1st in goals for, 5th goals against, most wins, most regulation wins, 2nd least losses, highest goal differential (+80), %gf, %ga, 6th lowest penalty minutes...).
I'd favour Edmonton 60/40.
My prediction: Oilers in 6

Dallas x LA
(could be Nashville or Vegas, but unlikely)
Anyone playing against Dallas right now, in the West, is the dark horse. They're what you'd expect from a final 4 team who not only has kept the base form last year, but built on it. They're consistent, strong in all aspects and are a very gritty team. LA is a very annoying team to play against, and they can be gritty (and dirty, at times). They're probably the weakest they've been in the past 3 seasons, and I honestly don't know if they're dreading or welcoming a different match-up than the previous 2 against the Oilers, since on one side, you got the Stars, arguably the best team in the conference right now, and on the other you got an improved Edmonton, who has been dismantling their team for two consecutive playoffs and already know how to beat them. If I were LA, I'd be feeling between a rock and a hard place. Chokes can happen, but I don't think we'll see one here. If the series ends up being against the VGK I'd favour the Stars 60/40, but against either LA or Nashville, I think it's very lopsided.
I'd favour Dallas 80/20 to win.
My prediction: Stars in 5

Winnipeg x Colorado

This is probably the most evenly matched series in the west. If momentum carries into the playoffs, the Jets will be a force to be reckoned with. On paper, the Avs have a better team, and loads of playoff experience. Their top line is one of the most dangerous and effective in the league (MacKinnon is likely to be in the top 2 for in Hart trophy for a reason), but Georgiev has been playing like s&*t lately, and their defense seems to be struggling as well. On the other side of this, Helleybuck is the front runner for the Vezina, in my mind, as he's been the most consistently good starter of the season, and his game usually steps up in the playoffs. Winnipeg's offense is also heating up.
I'd say this one is 50/50, and momentum in the series might be decisive.
My prediction: Jets in 7

East

Florida x Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay's story has been interesting this season, and they're not really a one-man-army like many are saying. Sure, Kucherov has been carrying the bulk of the load, and is having one of the best seasons of any player since the late 1980s/early 1990s, but the supporting cast has been delivering him with enough help to get them where they are. And they have a ton of playoff experience. Florida is the better team, no questions about it, and they have improved a lot over last year, when they had a surprisingly deep run. They're a very tight group and because of last year, when they were the underdogs the whole run, they'll know not to underestimate the Lightning.
I'd say the odds are 70/30 Panthers.
My prediction: Panthers in 6

Boston x Toronto
In my opinion, this has everything to be either the best or the worst series of the playoffs. Neither team is really inspiring, with Boston being the pity-point merchant, and Toronto never really being a reliable team, through the season, especially their famous core, with the exception of Matthews and Nylander. If we get the best of both teams, it'll be thrilling, and they're very evenly matched, in my opinion. Boston is deeper, better disciplined defensively, has amazing goaltending and one of the best players in the league in Pastrnak. The Leafs have a more fun team to watch, and Matthews is probably the best goalscorer in the league since Ovi's glory days. If we get the worst of each team, on the flip side, this will be the dullest series ever.
I'd favour Boston slightly, 55/45. Especially considering the decades long history of Toronto playoff chokes.
My prediction: Bruins in 7

NYR x Washington
Both series with the Metropolitan division teams are very lopsided, in my opinion, probably the two most lopsided series of the playoffs. The only scenario in which I can conceive the Capitals beating the Rangers is if injury somehow becomes a problem for the NYR. Obviously, as we learned last year, chokes can (and probably will) happen, but the difference between this series and Bruins v Panthers last season is that Florida was always a better team than their standings suggested, whereas Washington, this time, is arguably a worse team than some of the ones it beat in the race for this final wildcard spot (Flyers and Penguins).
I'd favour New York 90/10.
My prediction: Rangers in 4

Carolina x Islanders
Much of what I said above stands for this series as well. the Canes were fairly unstable through the season, but there is a reason why they were (alongside the Oilers) the top favourites to win the cup when the season started. They have depth, structure and grit. Since adding Jake Guentzel (IMO, best trade of the deadline) they've seem to have stabilized the whole team. Again, a choke might happen, but I still have them as my outright favorites to win this series.
I'd favour Carolina 80/20. The Isles have not been exactly a great team through the season, and are probably in the spot they occupy much more as a function of how bad the rest of the teams in the division are than because of how good the Islanders are.
My prediction: Hurricanes in 5


Predicted 2nd round match-ups:

Vancouver x Edmonton
Dallas x Winnipeg
Florida x Boston
NYR x Carolina

I dare not predict further than this, as momentum, rest, injuries, etc. can be a huge factor. Looking at all of the matchups and the teams in each conference, one thing for me is clear: the West is more stacked, has tougher matchups and the gap between the top playoff teams and the wildcard teams is A LOT smaller, so the chances of an upset in the Western Conference are higher. The East has some REALLY good teams (NYR, Panthers and Hurricanes), and some good teams (Leafs, Bruins), but the gap between the top and the bottom playoff teams is HUGE. If there is an upset, it'll be a major thing for the whole dynamic of the playoffs.
In my opinion, we'll have another champion coming from the West this season, and my favourites for the cup are the Oilers and the Stars.
 
Round 1:

West:

Vancouver x Nashville (still could be LA or Vegas, but it's unlikely)
I'd say the odds are in Vancouver's favour because they are the better team, but who knows how Demko will be when he returns. Their depth is great, their defense is probably the best of any playoff team in the West and they seem to be a very calm and collected team. Having home ice advantage is also be a major factor here. The Preds are, in my opinion, the most underrated playoff team in the West, and I do think they're a better team than the LAK. Saaros and Josi have been hot lately, but I don't think it'll be enough to beat the Canucks, even if they are Demkoless (or with him not at his best).
I'd favour Vancouver 60/40.
My prediction: Canucks in 6

Edmonton x Vegas
(Could still be LA, but unlikely)
Vegas will be stacked for the playoffs, and they have the playoff experience and grit, but they haven't played their full post trade deadline roster together, and the new guys might not gel with the ones coming back from LTIR. The Oilers have a better team, on paper, and are much improved over last year. Not as much in terms of roster moves, but consistency, 5-on-5 strength and goaltending. Since Knoblauch took over, Edmonton has been the league's best team in almost all aspects (tied 1st in goals for, 5th goals against, most wins, most regulation wins, 2nd least losses, highest goal differential (+80), %gf, %ga, 6th lowest penalty minutes...).
I'd favour Edmonton 60/40.
My prediction: Oilers in 6

Dallas x LA
(could be Nashville or Vegas, but unlikely)
Anyone playing against Dallas right now, in the West, is the dark horse. They're what you'd expect from a final 4 team who not only has kept the base form last year, but built on it. They're consistent, strong in all aspects and are a very gritty team. LA is a very annoying team to play against, and they can be gritty (and dirty, at times). They're probably the weakest they've been in the past 3 seasons, and I honestly don't know if they're dreading or welcoming a different match-up than the previous 2 against the Oilers, since on one side, you got the Stars, arguably the best team in the conference right now, and on the other you got an improved Edmonton, who has been dismantling their team for two consecutive playoffs and already know how to beat them. If I were LA, I'd be feeling between a rock and a hard place. Chokes can happen, but I don't think we'll see one here. If the series ends up being against the VGK I'd favour the Stars 60/40, but against either LA or Nashville, I think it's very lopsided.
I'd favour Dallas 80/20 to win.
My prediction: Stars in 5

Winnipeg x Colorado

This is probably the most evenly matched series in the west. If momentum carries into the playoffs, the Jets will be a force to be reckoned with. On paper, the Avs have a better team, and loads of playoff experience. Their top line is one of the most dangerous and effective in the league (MacKinnon is likely to be in the top 2 for in Hart trophy for a reason), but Georgiev has been playing like s&*t lately, and their defense seems to be struggling as well. On the other side of this, Helleybuck is the front runner for the Vezina, in my mind, as he's been the most consistently good starter of the season, and his game usually steps up in the playoffs. Winnipeg's offense is also heating up.
I'd say this one is 50/50, and momentum in the series might be decisive.
My prediction: Jets in 7

East

Florida x Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay's story has been interesting this season, and they're not really a one-man-army like many are saying. Sure, Kucherov has been carrying the bulk of the load, and is having one of the best seasons of any player since the late 1980s/early 1990s, but the supporting cast has been delivering him with enough help to get them where they are. And they have a ton of playoff experience. Florida is the better team, no questions about it, and they have improved a lot over last year, when they had a surprisingly deep run. They're a very tight group and because of last year, when they were the underdogs the whole run, they'll know not to underestimate the Lightning.
I'd say the odds are 70/30 Panthers.
My prediction: Panthers in 6

Boston x Toronto
In my opinion, this has everything to be either the best or the worst series of the playoffs. Neither team is really inspiring, with Boston being the pity-point merchant, and Toronto never really being a reliable team, through the season, especially their famous core, with the exception of Matthews and Nylander. If we get the best of both teams, it'll be thrilling, and they're very evenly matched, in my opinion. Boston is deeper, better disciplined defensively, has amazing goaltending and one of the best players in the league in Pastrnak. The Leafs have a more fun team to watch, and Matthews is probably the best goalscorer in the league since Ovi's glory days. If we get the worst of each team, on the flip side, this will be the dullest series ever.
I'd favour Boston slightly, 55/45. Especially considering the decades long history of Toronto playoff chokes.
My prediction: Bruins in 7

NYR x Washington
Both series with the Metropolitan division teams are very lopsided, in my opinion, probably the two most lopsided series of the playoffs. The only scenario in which I can conceive the Capitals beating the Rangers is if injury somehow becomes a problem for the NYR. Obviously, as we learned last year, chokes can (and probably will) happen, but the difference between this series and Bruins v Panthers last season is that Florida was always a better team than their standings suggested, whereas Washington, this time, is arguably a worse team than some of the ones it beat in the race for this final wildcard spot (Flyers and Penguins).
I'd favour New York 90/10.
My prediction: Rangers in 4

Carolina x Islanders
Much of what I said above stands for this series as well. the Canes were fairly unstable through the season, but there is a reason why they were (alongside the Oilers) the top favourites to win the cup when the season started. They have depth, structure and grit. Since adding Jake Guentzel (IMO, best trade of the deadline) they've seem to have stabilized the whole team. Again, a choke might happen, but I still have them as my outright favorites to win this series.
I'd favour Carolina 80/20. The Isles have not been exactly a great team through the season, and are probably in the spot they occupy much more as a function of how bad the rest of the teams in the division are than because of how good the Islanders are.
My prediction: Hurricanes in 5


Predicted 2nd round match-ups:

Vancouver x Edmonton
Dallas x Winnipeg
Florida x Boston
NYR x Carolina

I dare not predict further than this, as momentum, rest, injuries, etc. can be a huge factor. Looking at all of the matchups and the teams in each conference, one thing for me is clear: the West is more stacked, has tougher matchups and the gap between the top playoff teams and the wildcard teams is A LOT smaller, so the chances of an upset in the Western Conference are higher. The East has some REALLY good teams (NYR, Panthers and Hurricanes), and some good teams (Leafs, Bruins), but the gap between the top and the bottom playoff teams is HUGE. If there is an upset, it'll be a major thing for the whole dynamic of the playoffs.
In my opinion, we'll have another champion coming from the West this season, and my favourites for the cup are the Oilers and the Stars.

Great analysis. I will hold off until everything is set for the first round although you're likely correct with the match ups.

Demko played last night and was good in net giving up one goal to the Flames.
 
Great analysis @ChazYEG,

Here's how I would predict it:

Nucks vs Preds:
Vancouver is definitely the favorite, on paper and in the standings, but I like the way the Preds are built for a playoff series, and I think they're poised for an upset. I especially think this is the case considering Vancouver has very limited playoff experience (only the one bubble playoff run a couple years ago). Much of their core has seen very little if any playoff action, while the Preds have a good combination of youth and veteran grit. In the goaltending matchup, I think it's pretty even, but Demko is coming off an injury and Saros is currently playing some of the best hockey of his career.

It might be bold but I pick the Preds in 7, not confident they'll do much more after that though.

Oil vs Knights:
I hate predicting my own team's series... A fully healthy Vegas will definitely a problem. However, I do think the Oilers are better than them in most aspects of the game. The only area Vegas is better is defensive depth. Everywhere else the Oilers are better. The wild cards here are goaltending and officiating. If Skinner plays like he did in last year's playoffs the Oilers could be in trouble, likewise if Vegas gets 8 million powerplays a game and is allowed to literally kill the Oilers with no repercussions (definitely a distinct possibility).

I do think in the end, the Oilers will win out in 6 games.

Stars vs Kings:
This is a nightmare matchup for the Kings. I don't really see a scenario, barring injuries or a total collapse by the Stars that LA wins this one. The Stars are better in pretty much every way, and I think they're built well to handle the 1-3-1.

Stars sweep

Jets vs Avs:
This is a tough one to predict, I do think that on paper these teams are very close. I do think however, that Colorado is extremely top heavy, relying on 3 guys to do most of their scoring. Whereas Winnipeg is very well balanced. On paper, Colorado's defense looks much better, but they have not been playing well at all lately. The team in general has been sputtering a bit lately. The goaltending matchup is heavily in favour of Winnipeg, Hellebuyck is agruably the best goalie in the league while Georgiev is just average, and has been playing awful lately (given up 4 or more in his last 10 games). I like the Jets in this one, it won't be a sweep though.

Jets in 6

Cats vs Bolts:
The Battle of Florida is here once again! This season, the Panthers have pretty much been wiping the floor with Tampa. In terms of the skating roster, Florida is much better in pretty much every way: top end scoring, depth scoring, defensive play. The wild card here is Vasi, I trust Bob to be decently good, I don't think he'll do what he did last year again though. Vasi could either turn into the unbeatable Vezina Winner of a couple years ago, or crumble like he did against the Leafs last year. The Lightning are going to need Vasi to be excellent, if he isn't they stand no chance.

I like the Cats in 6.

B's vs Leafs:
This series has historically provided us with some of the greatest chirps in NHL history. That being said, I think this will be a super even series. Boston seems to be an anomaly in that, on paper, their team doesn't look very good outside of the pipes, and yet they still find ways to win. Boston has been super consistent this year, whereas Toronto has had spots where they look amazing and terrible. The goaltending matchup is heavily in favour of Boston.

I'm going to agree with Chaz here and say Bruins in 7

NYR vs Caps:
This series is not close on paper, Rangers won the Presidents Trophy and Caps barely made the playoffs thanks to John Tortorella pulling his goalie in a tied game. Washington is coming in with a sub -40 goal differential on the season. I don't think Charlie Lindgren can keep it up in the playoffs for them. The caps are also bottom of the league in terms of adv stats. They're absurdly lucky to be here. The Rangers on the other hand are a juggernaut, backstopped by one of the best tendies in the world.

The series will be lop-sided, but I think the caps will take one at home, Rangers in 5.

Canes vs Isles:
This is another seemingly lopsided one, however I do think the Isles have a better shot than the Caps at pulling off the upset. This is such a weird matchup because I think these teams are trying to do the same thing in terms of their team makeup. They're both clubs that (excuse me for the cliche) do things by commitee, and don't rely on a few superstars to drive the play. The Canes are by far the stronger team on paper, both in terms of offense and defense. They have the strongest defensive core in the league, paired with a pretty deadly forward group that upgraded itself at the deadline, adding Guentzel, Kuznetsov. In net however, the Islanders are clearly ahead. The Canes have had well covered goaltending struggles all year, and while it's stabilized a bit over the last while, it's nowhere near what the Isles can put out. With Sorokin being (in my opinion) the best goalie in the world, paired with Varlamov who is would be a 1A or even a starter on most other teams.

I think this one goes the distance, with the Isles being carried by their goaltending. Canes in 7.
 
The Oilers brought a B team out with a C- effort and D- D performance.

Perplexing to say the least, but maybe they were team building on the golf course pre-playoffs?
 
The Oilers brought a B team out with a C- effort and D- D performance.

Perplexing to say the least, but maybe they were team building on the golf course pre-playoffs?
I'm honestly not worried, or feeling anything negative at all. They're trying to stay healthy and rested as much as they can for the playoffs.
The whole "carrying momentum" through to the playoffs is, IMO, a big pile of BS. The Avs went into the 21-22 playoffs with a 2-7-1 record in their last 10, including 6 losses in the last 7 games, including bottom feeders, and went to win the cup, very convincingly, I might add.
Oilers went in hot, 9 straight wins last year, and flopped.
I'd rather the team rested and healthy for the playoffs than fight hard on games that don't have any impact whatsoever. The time to play tight and intense was 1-2 weeks ago, when there was still a chance to finish 1st in the Pacific.
I will point out that I expect them to play a little harder today, since beating Colorado would mean passing them in the standings and, therefore guaranteeing home-ice if we play them in the Conference Finals.
 
I didn't expect much from them in that game, or tonight frankly. They're just trying not to get injured.

It was also the final game for the Arizona Coyotes before they pack up and move to Salt Lake City. May as well give 'em a win just for the sake of a send-off.
 

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