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Bold NHL Playoff Predictions

Ah, the NHL playoffs, when everything that happened over the last 6 months no longer matters. If you’re anything like I am, you do a playoff bracket every year and also, if you’re like me, your bracket is usually toast after the first round. The results of playoff hockey are difficult to foresee because the playoffs are a brand new season and anything can happen. I thought it would be fun to make some wild predictions for the upcoming playoffs that could potentially occur, but would be highly unlikely. Now, when I say wild predictions that would be highly unlikely, what I really mean is that I have a better chance at playing in these playoffs than these predictions have at coming to fruition.

All Canadian final

[the_ad id=”534″]After all 7 Canadian teams missed the playoffs last season, this year it’s an all-hoser finale when the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs battle it out for Lord Stanley’s ultimate prize. While the Leafs will jump out to a quick 2-0 series lead, Edmonton will win 4 straight to take the Cup in 6 games, bringing the trophy back to the City of Champions. Auston Matthews will outscore Connor McDavid but it will be Leon Draisaitl who takes over and dominates the final.

Talbot wins the Conn Smythe

McDavid, Matthews, and Draisaitl will all have exceptional playoffs, each scoring 30 or more points, but Cam Talbot will be named playoff MVP.  He will go 16-6, put up 5 shutouts with a GAA under 1.90 and  SV% over .950; this will also mean that he is the first player to whom Connor McDavid hands the Stanley Cup.

Carey Price will make over 70 saves in one game

It’s not secret that the Montreal Canadiens lean heavily on Carey Price, and they will do so even more in the playoffs. The Habs will advance to the second round, but not without Price having to steal a game for them. Game 6 will go to double overtime and the Canadiens will leave their franchise goaltender completely out to dry, forcing him to make 74 saves on 76 shots, but will ultimately prevail in the extra frame to eliminate the New York Rangers and move on to the next round.

Tampa goes to ECF

With all the injuries the Ottawa Senators have accrued on their back end, they will proceed to lose 4 of their next five games, while the Tampa Bay Lightning will win their last 4 games in a row. Once in the playoffs, the Bolts will ride a hot Nikita Kucherov and healthy Steven Stamkos in front of excellent goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals where they bow out in 5 games to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Top 2 out in Round 1

[the_ad id=”693″]The Washington Capitals will take home the President’s Trophy for the second straight year, and the Blackhawks will be right behind them, but both will suffer upsets yet again at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators, respectively. Stamkos and Kucherov will overpower Ovechkin and Backstrom, while Filip Forsberg will crack double-digit goal totals in the series against the Blackhawks to almost single-handedly take his team to the second round.

Eriksson Ek Leads Wild in Scoring

All the focus will be on Maple Leafs’ first-year players Matthews, Nylander, and Marner, but recently recalled Minnesota rookie Joel Eriksson Ek will steal the show and lead the Wild in scoring. He’ll notch 18 points in 19 games and carry his team through to the Conference Finals against Edmonton. 10 of his 18 points will be goals, 3 of which will be overtime winners.

Year of the Sweep, not Game 7s

Last year, not a single playoff round ended in a sweep. This year, however, the brooms will come out no less than 5 times seeing Edmonton, Minnesota, Columbus, Anaheim, and Montreal each eliminate an opponent in 4 games before the 3rd round. Conversely, the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs will not see a single 7-game series after five series ended in a winner take all in 2016.

Fleury’s Redemption

At the end of the 2015-16 campaign, Matt Murray took over as Pittsburgh’s No. 1 goalie and brought them their 2nd cup in 7 years. This year, however, the roles will reverse as Murray will struggle through Pittsburgh’s final 4 games of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan will ultimately turn to Marc-Andre Fleury who will carry them through the first round and give Tampa Bay a run for their money in round two.

Coach’s Challenge will be a Factor

All season long, players, coaches and media alike have all been somewhat critical of the coach’s challenge, and that will continue on into the postseason. The problem will become a point of contention after not one, not two, but three series are decided by officials. Two will be on offside plays, and one will be a controversial goalie interference call. Despite being comfortable with the coach’s challenge system all season long, the conflict in the playoffs will cause the NHL to take a long look at ways to make improvements to the current regime.

Now before you all start blasting me for making ridiculous claims, please keep in mind that these predictions are intended to be tongue-in-cheek and are meant to be humorous. If a couple of them end up happening, even better! Let me know what your bold playoff predictions are in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

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