It has been 12 years since yours truly has been able to put together an unbiased Stanley Cup playoff bracket. When your team qualifies for the playoffs for 10 straight seasons, well, it is impossible not to be a bit bias. With the San Jose Sharks seeing their playoff streak come to an end, this year’s bracket has no bias. This year it is all based on numbers and hunches and no fanatical hopes. The St. Louis Blues will win their first ever Stanley Cup over the New York Islanders. But how will each get there? Let’s take a look shall we?
Western Conference Quarterfinals
4. Minnesota vs 1. St. Louis
Devan Dubnyk is a great story and all, but the Blues are an all around better team, with a more experienced playoff coach in Ken Hitchock. St. Louis is deep at all three positions and will move on in six games.
3. Chicago vs 2. Nashville
Would really love to see the upset here with the Predators knocking off the vaunted Blackhawks but Chicago is just too deep. Pekka Rinne could very well steal this series for Nashville but the proven offensive depth of the Blackhawks will prevail in seven games.
4. Winnipeg vs 1. Anaheim
The Ducks have struggled in the early rounds of the playoffs the last few years. While they still don’t have great depth, they did add guys like Ryan Kesler, Simon Despres, and James Wisniewski this year. With San Jose and LA missing the playoffs, this is the year for the Ducks to finally make some noise again in the postseason. Ducks take this in seven games.
3. Calgary vs 2. Vancouver
I’ve gotten a lot of heat from Flames fans for this but I just don’t find Calgary all that interesting. They are a terrible possession team and are eerily similar to last season’s Colorado Avalanche. How they made the playoffs? Nobody knows. They have young talent but not nearly enough depth and the Canucks will have the veterans to get by the fluke riding flames in six games.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
4. Ottawa vs 1. Montreal
Like Dubnyk for the Wild, the Hamburglar for the Senators was a nice story to sneak into the playoffs. However, Carey Price is likely the league MVP between the pipes for the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs didn’t come all this way just to lose in the first round. Montreal in six games
3. Detroit vs 2. Tampa Bay
Detroit is a fun team to watch reload on the fly with guys like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and others establishing themselves the last couple years. Unfortunately for the Wings, the Lightning are just too deep at forward and defense. Give me the Lightning in five games.
4. Pittsburgh vs 1. N.Y. Rangers
The Penguins still have the same problem they have seemingly always had since they won the cup back in 2009, lack of depth. New York is incredibly deep on the blue-line with Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Keith Yandle, Dan Girardi, and Dan Boyle. With King Henrik between the pipes, my only sweep of the first round, give me the Rangers in four straight.
3. N. Y. Islanders vs 2. Washington
Even with the way Alexander Ovechkin has transformed his two-way game for the Capitals, the Islanders are much more a team in the true sense of the word. Give me the Islanders in six games.
Only bracket I ever do: Stanley Cup pic.twitter.com/r1t5V6rpvO
— Andrew Bensch (@BenchWarmerView) April 12, 2015
Western Conference Semifinals
3. Chicago vs 1. St. Louis
This is the year of the Blues and they will get their revenge on the playoff loss to the Blackhawks by beating them this time around in seven games.
2. Vancouver vs 1. Anaheim
As mentioned above, with historically better teams LA and San Jose out of the playoffs this year, Anaheim should finally get through to the final four. Ducks in six games.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
2. Tampa Bay vs 1. Montreal
Another revenge series from last year, this time around the Lightning get theirs as they knock off the Canadiens in 5 games after being swept by them a year ago in the first round.
3. N.Y. Islanders vs 1. N. Y. Rangers
In the all N.Y. battle that we all want to see, the underdog Islanders come through just as they did in the regular season series between these two teams this year. The Rangers will make it close though, as this series will go the distance with the Islanders winning in seven games.
Western Conference Final
1. St. Louis vs 1. Anaheim
As mentioned above the Blues are deep, the Ducks are not so much in comparison. Not a cakewalk by any means but the Blues will find a way to get past Anaheim in six games.
Eastern Conference Final
3. N.Y. Islanders vs 2. Tampa Bay
The Lightning probably have more firepower than the Islanders and this is really based nothing more on my gut that says an underdog is going to make its way all the way to the final. Islanders in seven games.
Stanley Cup Final
3. N.Y. Islanders vs 1. St. Louis
The Islanders and Blues will face off in a grueling final that ends in Game 7 in double overtime with Barret Jackman scoring on a point shot that deflects in off of Nick Leddy. Yes, call me psychic.
Andrew has been credentialed to cover the Sharks since 2010 and the 49ers since 2012. He graduated with his BA in Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts in 2013 from San Francisco State University.