The Jets have been shown the door, but there are still seven series on the docket. Here’s how the rest of them will turn out.
Montreal Leads Ottawa 3-1
The Senators are clearly the team of destiny, as shown by their incredible run to the Playoffs. It seems Montreal didn’t get the memo, but they are about to. Using their McDonald’s sponsored superpowers, Craig Anderson will be nicknamed “Grimace” and the Senators will win four straight to upset the Habs.
Reality Check: The Canadiens will close it out tonight.
Rangers Lead Penguins 3-1
This one won’t require a near-impossible four game winning streak, but it’s still unlikely. The Penguins have something like a 9.5% chance of coming back and you can ask the Leafs about how likely that is.
Honestly, if Kris Letang was in the lineup, I’d still be favoring the Pens, but without him, they are missing too much out of their lineup. That being said, the Penguins have Crosby and he can explode at any time, put the team on his back and personally ensure a comeback.
I think the Penguins are done, but I predict they will win tonight. Hopefully I am wrong and they will come back, but one thing is for sure: The Oilers won’t be winning this series!!
Minnesota tied with St. Louis 2-2
Anyone who says they know how this one will go is a liar. For my money, the best series so far and one thing I can guarantee is that the next two or three games will be excellent. I hope the Blues win because the more Tarasenko the better, that’s what I always say.
Prediction: Blues take it in O.T of game seven.
Washington Leads the Islanders 3-2
I think it’s finally time for Alex Ovechkin to have some Playoff success. Somehow the Capitals, who possess two of the top ten league scorers, two of the best puck moving defensemen, a fantastic goalie, two really exciting young prospects and some decent depth, remain under-appreciated and under-loved.
These guys are going to finish it out tomorrow night. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them representing the Eastern Conference in the Final either.
Detroit and Tampa Tied 2-2
After the Blues series, this has been my favorite so far. And I can tell you with medium confidence that the Lightning will win. I originally predicted the Red Wings, but now that it is tied at two and Stamkos still hasn’t scored, I think the Bolts will take it down.
If you stop Stamkos for four straight games, you need to have a 3-1 lead or you’re screwed.
He will break out and the Red Wings will lament what could have been.
Chicago Leads the Predators 3-2
Another great series, and it could go either way. But it won’t. The Hawks simply won’t lose three straight games. The Preds are a nice story and it’s been a blast, but it’s over.
Or maybe it isn’t, it’s not like this is scientific in any way, but if I had to bet on one team to close it out, it would be the Hawks. “Chicago first round exit,” is just not a sentence you expect to ever hear.
Well, it happened twice recently, but you still didn’t expect to hear it. The Hawks have won two Cups, made two additional Conference Final and lost twice in the first round in the last six years. This year, I just can’t see them going down the Predators.
Calgary Leads the Canucks 3-2
The Flames are a brutal possession team. The Canucks had the lowest ES save % of teams that qualified for the Playoffs. Neither team was expected to make it here and either team could win. I will say the fact that the Flames got to add a player like Sam Bennet to their team this late in the season is a seriously crazy advantage and there is no reason for them to stop defying the analytics now.
I predict the Flames will close it out tomorrow, but I am not confident in this prediction.
I will guarantee that it will be an amazing game though.
Thanks for reading.
Covering the Leafs for the Hockey Writers.