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Playoff Predictions: Round One – Let’s Get Silly

Playoffs are Coming…

Ahh playoff time. The time is finally here for us to throw our covers to the wind and let our crazy fly free. The time of year when you can banish shirts to the bottom of the drawer if the Rangers lose when you wear it, when you swap Febreze for Tide if those jeans haven’t lost since March. A time when it’s acceptable to literally put an opposing trinket on ice… in your freezer.

It is also the time when your friendly basement-dwelling nerds here at BSB (except for Justin, inexplicably, always) predict who will win it all — round by round. Let us know your thoughts for the upcoming eight series in the comments. Happy Hockey Season, part 2!

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Kevin: Jackets in 7John Tortorella loyalist alert! The absence of Kris Letang looms large and Columbus has never been afraid of going toe to toe with Pittsburgh.

Rob: Jackets in 6 The Penguins aren’t the juggernaut that essentially ran the table from January through June last year.  The Blue Jackets match up well with them, and the Kris Letang injury will be key.  Also, Brandon Dubinsky lives to make Sidney Crosby’s life miserable, which will be really fun to watch.

Dave: Penguins in 7 –  Before the Letang news I would’ve put pens in 4. But that is a huge loss. Luckily for the pens, the Blue Jackets have been bad lately.

Pat: Penguins in 6 – Columbus will have a couple of strong showings, and everybody will say this series went to six because of the team playing The Right Way as trademarked by John Tortorella (kidding, I liked Torts actually), but the Penguins’ scorers are really just better than Columbus.

Becky: Penguins in 6 – I love you Torts, but I just don’t see it happening, though literally nothing would make me happier (short of a Rangies Cup win). I don’t see Pittsburgh going far, but I think they’re just too talented for Columbus.


Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins

Kevin: Senators in 6 – Boston’s injuries on defense seem crippling and unless Charlie McAvoy can pull a Kreider, I can’t see them fending off a solid Ottawa squad.

Rob: Bruins in 7 – The Bruins – who remind me a lot of the LA championship teams in terms of their style, with better goaltending – take this low-scoring series from a tough Sens team.

Dave: Bruins in 6 – Despite the injuries, the Bruins have good underlying numbers. I am still not sold on Ottawa.

Pat: Bruins in 6 – Erik Karlsson will lead the way for Ottawa, helping them sew up a few games against a battered Bruins team, but ultimately Boston’s regular season puck possession game (best cumulative shot differential in the league) will carry over and help them take the series.

Becky: Senators in 6 – Frankly, BSB’s lack of faith in Ottawa disturbs me. The Sens swept the regular season series against Boston, including a game without their two best defensemen. The only glitch here would be if Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot’s injuries sideline them, which they are not expected to do.


Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

Kevin: Rangers in 7 – The eternal optimist in me thinks the late-season rest for many key Blueshirts and overall team health will have this team ready to go. It’ll take seven games though, because all Rangers playoff series take seven games.

Rob: Rangers in 6 – Because I’m a hopeless optimist and unapologetic homer. LGR!

Dave: Rangers in 7 – Going full homer here, and hoping the rangers offense outscores what the defense allows. Rangers in 7 in a series where the road team wins all 7 games.

Pat: Canadiens in 7 – I think the Habs’s puck dominance is just going to be too much for the Rangers too handle, although Hank will keep them in it til 7. Price will be on his game too, so we’re in for a treat, but I don’t think this one ends well for the Rangers.

Becky: Canadiens in 6 – Big ups to the hopeless optimists out there who probably believe there actually is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you inspire me to be better. But this series comes down to deployment and flexibility to make changes on the fly, two things this team is not known for. Claude Julien is too good to lose to a deep, but poorly managed team.


Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Kevin: Capitals in 5 – I’m really tempted to go for the massive upset here. I love Toronto’s moxy, but I remain convinced this is Washington’s year.

Rob: Capitals in 5 – Toronto’s impressive group of youngsters are one year away from being able to make serious noise in the playoffs, especially against a wildly talented Caps team that knows it’s now or never.

Dave: Capitals in 5 – This is going to be a fun series to watch. Each game could end 6-5, but Washington is so good. Toronto doesn’t have the depth yet.

Pat: Capitals in 6  – This one is going to be a lot of fun, and Toronto’s young guys will be electric as always, but the Caps are simply stacked this year, no way they lose.

Becky: Capitals in 6 – The Leafs almost choked their way out of the playoffs this year while the Capitals are steamrolling literally everything around them. I give the extra two games here to Toronto because there’s no denying their talent and what Babcock could do, but there’s just no way they take out the Caps.


Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Kevin: Blackhawks in 6 – The Predators would be a tough matchup for six other Western Conference clubs, but Chicago has this playoff thing down pat.

Rob: Predators in 6 – My upset special! Nashville has pieced together a very solid season after a slow start and their opponent, the Blackhawks, have decidedly mediocre underlying metrics, similar to our beloved Blueshirts (20th in xGF%, one spot behind the Rangers, according to Corsica.Hockey).

Dave: Blackhawks in 7 – This would be Nashville in 6 if they played Saros over Rinne. But they won’t. So the advantage swings to Chicago. Nash has the deepest defense in the west. But it won’t compensate for Rinne.

Pat: Predators in 7 – Chicago is Chicago – everyone knows their stars and their perennial contender status. Still, I think the Preds’s star studded blueline is going to keep them in this til 7, at which point they’ll will themselves into the next round. The “better” team may lose this one, and boy will I be happy when they do (love you, PK).

Becky: Predators in 6 – I’m likely very wrong here, but a) the Hawks haven’t wow-ed me, b) the Predators have, and c) it would warm my heart to see NBC’s poster rapist assaulter boy Patrick Kane out of it after six games.


Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

Kevin: Wild in 7 – Minnesota’s stretch run struggles were troubling, but the Wild is just too deep for me to pick against in Round One.

Rob: Wild in 5 – Minnesota should have no problem scoring goals in bunches against the Blues.

Dave: Wild in 6 – The Wild have had a bad run of luck. Their underlying numbers are still solid. So when that luck corrects itself they are in a position to make a run.

Pat: Wild in 7 – This one is also kind of tough for me, because they’re both good teams. I know Bruce Boudreau is allegedly a playoff choker, but I think this year, if the Wild are firing on all cylinders, they can overcome the Blues.

Becky: Wild in 6 – Though not convinced by Minnesota overall, I do know that the Blues love to choke in the playoffs. The Central is hard, and this will be well fought, and we could all be wrong with Vladi Tarasenko being the monster he is and Vladmir Sobotka returning…. but iI don’t think we are.


Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames

Kevin: Ducks in 6 – In another matchup I would have loved to pick against the Ducks, but that D is rock solid and I don’t think the Flames have enough firepower to overcome it.

Rob: Ducks in 4 – Anaheim is traditionally overlooked in what is usually a stacked Western Conference. This is a very good team that could make a run this year.

Dave: Ducks in 5 – I don’t believe in Calgary at all. The Ducks have the defense and top end scoring to make this a quick series

Pat: Ducks in 5 – I just don’t think Calgary is that great of a team (willing to be wrong here), at least not compared to Anaheim. Ryan Getzlaf has quietly had a great year, and Anaheim’s blueline is more or less airtight.

Becky: Ducks in 5 – No disrespect to Calgary at all, I just have the Ducks coming out of the West this year. They’re low key one of the best teams in hockey and frankly, a team I wish I was able to watch more this season. Calgary is just shy of making it an interesting series.


San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Kevin: Oilers in 6 – It sounds like Logan Couture is a go, but things are less certain for Joe Thornton. Without Jumbo, I’m all aboard the McDavid hype train.

Rob: Oilers in 7 – Rather than a sentence or two of analysis, I’ll say this: I think this will be the most entertaining of the eight opening round series.  Here’s to lots of goals and late-night OT hockey.

Dave: Sharks in 7 – This is going to be another fun series. The Sharks are significantly more balanced. Edmonton is McJesus and Talbot basically. Of course if Thornton can’t play this series, this is Edmonton in 6. It’s all about the injuries.

Pat: Sharks in 7 – This one I had a tough time with because while I think the Sharks are the better team, Edmonton has McDavid. He’s really good enough to push this team to 7 games. He really really is that good.

Becky: Oilers in 6 – The San Jose Choke Artists are a bit banged up and, even when healthy, can never seem to hit the nail in the coffin. I think Edmonton comes out riled up and this series is a complete gong show. This is the series I’m willing to lose sleep over.

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  1. i can see the rangers beating the habs,in six, the sens beating the bruins in six pens over the blue jackets in five, and the caps over the leafs in 5, the west the hawks over the preds in six, the wild over the blues in six oilers over the sharks in six and the ducks over the flames in six have a great day



    I’m confident in 50% of my predictions from each side. That is all.

    1. That Boston — Montreal series you are predicting should be named the “Claude Julien challenge” or something to that effect. Boston has been better since they fired him and Montreal has been better since they hired him.

  3. Rangers 7
    Caps 5
    Boston 7
    Jackets 6
    Ducks 5
    Hawks 5
    Wild 7
    Oilers 6

    Have to take the Rangers because i have been taking them since 1949 to win it all and have only been right once . But even a clack is right twice a day .

  4. This is a really good post season for hockey, some gr8 match ups & story lines too. Obviously I hope everyone is right except for Pat and Becky.


  5. Penguins in 6. Bob’s numbers significantly dip in his 13 playoff games. While the loss of Letang is significant and shouldn’t be discounted, we have a deeper forward group than Columbus, and the Penguins defense corps still played very well against our forwards.

    Caps in 5. I think Toronto will win one game, either 2 on the road or 3 at home, but that’s about it. Having said that, I think each game will be a one goal game. I think Toronto’s persistent trouble at closing out games in the 3rd will rear its ugly head. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Leafs holding a lead going into the 3rd period of 3 of their eventual 4 losses.

    Montreal in 5. Again, we’ll be served a healthy dose of #TG15goalz-n-gritz which will effectively neuter the 4th line and we’ll see 40+ minutes a night of slow footed defenseman against speedy forwards. Crab people will blame Hank for every goal against. Games will be close, unlike last year, but the result will be the same.

    Senators in 7. The loss of Krug for the Bruins will be a bigger loss than Letang to the Pens. Marchand will do something utterly stupid and the NHL will have to suspend him one or two games.

    Ducks in 5. Flames haven’t won in Anaheim, since I think the Ducks came into the NHL it seems. This could easily be the only sweep of the 1st Round.

    Oilers in 7. Sharks have been fading fast for about the past 6 weeks (to the tune of making us look like we’re firing on all cylinders). Injuries to Thornton and Logan Coutre (sp?) will limit their effectiveness.

    Preds in 7. While everything screams Blackhawks, I think Subban has a series and carries the Preds.

    Blues in 6. Same with the Wild. Since the trade deadline they threw off their mojo baby.

    Caps and Pens. Caps in 7. Think this is the year that Ovie gets out of the 2nd Round finally.

    Sens and Canadians. Montreal in 6.

    Oilers and Ducks. Ducks in 7.

    Blues and Preds. Blues in 6.

    Caps and Canadians. I hate to say this, Caps in 5 and Ovie finally gets to the Finals.

    Blues and Ducks. Ugh, My gut says Blues in 6 again. Neither the Blues nor the Ducks seem to play less than 6 games a series, with exception of the Ducks and Flames this year.

    Cup Finals. Caps and Blues. I think St Louis could upset them.

    1. I seem to be on a very similar page to you, but my Western Power Rankings have a tune of Min/Ana/Stl. Will be interesting to see how things unfold.

  6. Ok, here we go. I will point out that when it comes to brackets, NCAA or otherwise, I am the worst predictor of outcomes EVER. There was one significant exception–2014. I nailed every single series, including the amount games it would take to win in the first round. I had a legit shot to win the pool that year. I every had the goal differential right. If only those OT games had gone the other way! Oh well. So maybe I will get lucky and go on a run again.

    First of all, after seeing Canada get shut out of the playoffs last year, great to see five of our northern neighbors back in there. If the Rangers don’t go far, I always root for Original 6 (except the Bruins) and/or Canadian teams to go the distance. I love it when the Cup is won for a fan base that is large and passionate. The Rangers most hated rivals (Devils, Islanders and Flyers) all fell short, so I don’t have to deal with their fan bases rejoicing. I would say other than the Pens winning again, or the Bruins, I can accept any outcome without getting sick to my stomach.

    Very, very tough picks. This just feels like a year where the favorites are more likely to go deep here. I feel very confident that we will see what will be an epic SCF between the Hawks and Caps. As for the rest….


    Habs over Rangers in 6– This is a gut-wrencher for me. My head says Habs. My heart says Rangers. My gut says Habs. Here’s why. I look for a few things when evaluating a series. 1) strength on special teams, especially on the PK–edge Habs. 2) goaltending–edge Habs 3) star power–edge Habs 4) record over the final month of the season–Big edge Habs. 5) Pedigree–edge Rangers In my view, the Habs are just flat out better than the Rangers in those key areas. Would I be shocked if the Rangers win this series? Absolutely not. The Rangers go into this series as rested and as healthy as they have ever been going into post-season. But would I bet money on the Rangers advancing (or attempt to win valuable prizes from going that route?). No. I will say this though, the winner of this series WILL beat the winner of Bos-Ott. Hank has to return to his past playoff excellence, and the slumping offense needs to awaken. I expect Nash, Stepan and Kreider to have big series. It’s past time for the “Untouchables/Unreliables” (Miller/Hayes) to put on their big boy pants and actually show up and contribute. If they do, then we will win.

    Either way, I’m pleased with the season. I barely expected them to make the playoffs, and if they did, it would be as a borderline team. They’ve overachieved expectations. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it, and hope they play well.

    Bruins over Senators in 6– The way these two teams play, every game might be 1-0 or 2-1. I have a problem with a playoff team that has a negative goal differential. In the end, the Bruins front line will be the difference.

    Caps over Leafs in 4– Love the Leafs. Love Babs. If it was any other opponent I’d give them a puncher’s chance. I think the Caps are on a mission and will blow the upstart Leafs’ doors off.

    Pens over Jackets in 5– The most intriguing East matchup for sure. The student (Sullivan) playing his best friend and teacher (Torts) in a first round matchup that will send one of the best teams in the league home in round one (the NHL playoff format is THE worst!). There are a lot of reasons to like the Jackets. They have been one of the biggest surprises in the league. Torts has done a great job. They have the likely Vezina winner in Bobrovsky. They play a tough, physical game and compete hard every night. And, the Pens suffered a MAJOR loss when Letang went down with his season ending injury.

    But, the Pens are still loaded with weapons. The Jackets mojo has disappeared at the wrong time, as they unraveled in the final month. They haven’t beaten a quality team since early March. The “Bob” has slumped, and their defense is no longer shutdown. I know everyone thinks this series will go the distance, but I think the Pens are going to show just how good they really are here.

    And for my Torts jab…he’s been a pretty poor playoff coach since the lockout. That Cup win was a lifetime ago. 🙂


    Hawks over Preds in 6– This should be a total mismatch, but the Preds have quietly gotten their act together. They historically give the Hawks fits in the playoffs, even though the Hawks always win. Hawks are just too talented.

    Wild over Blues in 6– This should be fascinating. Blues coach Mike Yeo returns to try and get revenge against his former team. Going up against Bruce Boudreau, who has his playoff demons to deal with. The Wild slumped badly about a month ago but seemed to have recovered. They are talented and deep. The Blues were sellers at the deadline, and their playoff history is abysmal. Wild should win this one.

    Ducks over Flames in 5– The Ducks surely have the Flames number, since Calgary hasn’t won in Anaheim in what, a decade? That’s insane! Flames have been one of the feel good stories in the league this year, no doubt. But they have a negative goal differential, they finished badly (Ducks finished red hot) and I don’t trust their goaltending. Last hurrah perhaps for this talented Ducks team.

    Oilers over Sharks in 5– Hard to imagine the SC runner up getting bounced in 5, but the Oilers have McDavid, a real good goalie in Talbot, and are playing a Sharks team that looks like they spent it all going for it last year. They look old and beatable. Can Talbot deliver playing in his first real pressure test of his career? We are about to find out.

    Beyond that, I have….

    Habs (or Rangers) over the Bruins in 6

    Caps over the Pens in 6

    Hawks over the wild in an epic 7 game battle

    Oilers stunning the Ducks in 7.


    Caps blow by the Habs/Rangers in 5

    Hawks have their hands full vs the Oilers but get it done in another epic 7 game battle.

    Stanley Cup Finals will be one for the ages….it will be……

    Hawks over the Caps in 7…and Ovie and the Caps fans come up short again.

    Should be fantastic….can’t wait!!!!!

  7. Ok, I am being silly: I am betting with my heart and not with my head and have the Rangers making it to the conference finals where they lose to the Crapitals.

    I have the Oilers riding McDavid and Talbots’s to the West conference finals where they lose to the Wild in 7. That us another heart over head prediction because it would be awesome to see Cam and McDavid make a run at it.

    I think that the Wild and the Caps are deep and will wear out everyone else, and Ovechkin finally gets a cup.

    I think that I am very likely to be wrong about everything because I am not going with the favorites in a few series.


    Rangers in 7 over Habs
    Ottawa in 6 over Bruins
    Crapitals in 6 over Leafs
    Penguins in 7 over Blue Jackets

    Rangers 7 over Ottawa
    Crapitals 7 over Pens

    Crapitals 6 over Rangers


    Hawks in 6 over Preds
    Wild in 6 over Blues
    Ducks in 5 over Flames
    Oilers in 7 over Sharks

    Wild in 7 over Gawjs
    Oilers in 7 over Ducks

    Wild in 7 over Oilers

    Finals: Crapitals in 6 over Wild

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