A Super Captivating 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket

About this time of year is when all those college basketball fans go nuts about their NCAA bracket. What am I going nuts about though? My Stanley Cup playoff bracket of course and what it might look like in a few weeks. That got me thinking, if the playoffs started today, what would be the most captivating bracket in terms of terrific series and great story lines? The following is what I would love to see if the playoffs started today.

1970's Montreal Canadiens Win Stanley Cup

Western Conference Quarter Finals:

Nashville over Minnesota

The Nashville Predators are one of the most interesting teams in the league this year. All of a sudden with a new coach, this defensive juggernaut can score. They have led the tough Central division nearly all year. Unless you are a Wild fan, you want to seem them at least get through round one to take on a second division rival.

St. Louis over Chicago

Cole has the second best plus/minus among Blues defensemen (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Cole has the second best plus/minus among Blues defensemen (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

The Chicago Blackhawks have been deep in the playoffs plenty of times in recent seasons. If you are not a Blackhawks fan, you are probably rooting for some new blood. This will be another great matchup in the Blues-Hawks rivalry, but for intrigue factor, the Blues advancing would be much more fascinating for a drama filled bracket.

Winnipeg over Anaheim

Who doesn’t love a good upset in their bracket? The Anaheim Ducks have always been a good pick to be upset. They lost as a two seed to the seventh seeded Red Wings a couple years ago and nearly lost to the Dallas Stars last year. A Jets team few predicted to make the postseason advancing to the second round is fun! Unless you’re a Ducks fan.

Los Angeles over Vancouver

While some upsets and new blood are nice, it is always more intriguing to have one of the consistent winning teams remain in the hunt deep into the playoffs. It is way more fun to watch David vs Goliath than David vs David. The Kings going for back-to-back and three in four years is incredibly alluring.

Eastern Conference Quarter Finals:

Montreal over Boston

One of the biggest rivalries of the season continues tonight in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

The most historic rivalry in all of the NHL, Montreal and Boston will be another fun series. Ideally Montreal advances because well, they have the most intriguing matchups down the line given their circumstances.

Tampa Bay over Detroit

Sort of a new school meets old school matchup between the Lightning and Red Wings. While Detroit vs Montreal in round two would be an original six matchup, I would rather see a rematch of last year’s entertaining Lightning-Canadiens series. That was arguably one of the most entertaining sweeps of all time.

Islanders over Washington

While it would be fun to see the Capitals and Penguins go at it for the Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin playoff matchup not seen since 2009, Rangers and Islanders all New York series is more intriguing.

Rangers over Penguins

For pure context purposes, seeing the Rangers advance to play the Islanders in round two just sets up the best second round series.

Western Conference Semi Finals

St. Louis over Nashville

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The Predators have captured our attention this season and a matchup with the fellow defensive minded Blues would be a terrific battle. Both these clubs play a heavy game but the Blues winning would set up a terrific Western Conference final with….

Los Angeles over Winnipeg

The Kings advancing to the conference final would set up a terrific rematch series with the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference final. More on what makes that series interesting later in this article.

Eastern Conference Semi Finals

Montreal over Tampa Bay

Last year the Canadiens swept the Lightning in the first round and this would be a fun revenge series for Tampa Bay. A year ago these two delivered some incredibly exciting fast paced action with goals aplenty. Three out of the four games were one goal finishes, including an OT game to start the series and a one goal finish to Game 4. Montreal winning again sets up a great story line Eastern Conference final against…

Islanders over Rangers

This is one of those series that we all hope to see sooner rather than later. Both the Rangers and Islanders are competitive once again and the all New York series would be terrific theater. The Islanders winning sets up a showdown of former mates.

Western Conference Final:

Los Angeles over St. Louis

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Remember the 2012 second round series between these two teams? It was one of the more physically punishing six game series we have ever seen. The Blues still owe the Kings payback for that series and this would be an absolutely awesome conference final to watch. LA has what St. Louis has never accomplished and that is the Stanley Cup. However, for purposes of keeping the David vs Goliath story line alive, or at least the good guys vs the bad guys, the Kings advancing to the final would be more interesting.

Eastern Conference Final:

Montreal over Islanders

This would be another terrific series seeing Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak go up against his former Canadien teammates with a spot in the final on the line. The Canadiens went on a run to the conference final with Halak as their goaltender back in 2010. However with Carey Price as the heir apparent in net,  the Canadiens traded Halak to St. Louis that offseason. Now with the Islanders, Halak vs his old mates would be juicy. Montreal winning and advancing though sets up an historic final matchup against the Kings.

Stanley Cup Final:

P.K. Subban Montreal Candiens
P.K. Subban was one of a few superstars to try out a mounted GoPro and showcase some nifty moves in a commercial, but would a mounted camera create unwanted problems for players and their routines? (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

Montreal over Los Angeles

It is a rematch of the 1993 Stanley Cup final. Those Canadiens were the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup. If this rematch comes true, the Habs would have fan bases of 29 teams behind them in this David vs Goliath matchup. The Kings are the Kings of the NHL going for their third in the last four years. Montreal on the other hand was predicted by few to get this far despite having a solid team. Boy oh boy would this be an epic final.