Ideality versus reality: NHL Playoff predictions

In a perfect world, we could see the Stanley Cup return to Canada for the first time since 1993, preferably with Edmonton taking the chalice home. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Ryan Delaney
Connector Staff

The NHL playoffs begin on Wednesday and it is no doubt going to be another exciting couple of months.

I’m sure everyone is aware of the favorites from both sides, which is why I am going to bring you some hot takes, which I may or may not actually believe.

First we’ll start with the east. Obviously the Atlantic division is softer than the rest, which is why I think any team could really come out of it. This is also why I think the Boston Bruins are going to get rolling now that playoff hockey has finally rolled around, and we’ll be seeing them in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Their path is the easiest of the four No. 3 seeds. They’ll likely beat Ottawa in five, maybe six games at the most, and then take down the New York Rangers as the home team in the conference semifinals.

On the Metropolitan side, the Capitals and Penguins look like they’re destined for another showdown, which is why I think all the hype will get to them early.

I’m feeling two upsets coming from the Blue Jackets and the Maple Leafs, who will then face off for the right to play the Bruins to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.

I like the Maple Leafs in that series as well, and we’ll be getting a Bruins-Leafs rematch from four seasons ago. The Leafs will get the revenge, however, and will finally be making their return to the Cup Finals.

Now onto the west, where the Blackhawks look like powerhouse yet again. They will handle the Predators relatively easily in the first round, but then will meet their fate against the Wild in the conference semifinals.

The Blues finally slayed the dragon of Chicago last season and now the Wild will get their turn this year.

The Pacific division is like the wild west this year, but one thing we know for sure is that the Ducks will be bounced early as they always are. They will be dismantled by the Flames in six games in the first round, and Calgary will go on to face the Edmonton Oilers who are also making their long awaited return to the postseason.

I like the Oilers in this one though, and it will be Wild-Oilers to go to the Stanley Cup. I see this being a great seven-game battle, but ultimately the Oilers’ speed will be too much for the Wild to handle, and they will be returning to the Finals for the first time since 2006.

The Cup is finally going to return to Canada for the first time since 93, with an all-Canadian match up in the finals.

These are two young, fast teams with tremendous goal-scoring ability at the top of their rosters. I’m sorry Leafs fans, but the Oilers will prevail in this once in six games as Connor McDavid leads his team to their first cup since Gretzky in just his second season.

Now this would all be amazing if it were to unfold, and I think it would be much more exciting to watch than the playoffs are actually going to be. Let’s just face it, it’s not going to happen.

I really do think this is the Capitals’ year, as they will beat the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the finals.

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