NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions


Dominick Scarpino, Staff Writer

With the NHL regular season over, 16 teams remain for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. These teams have fought since October to secure their spot in these playoffs. With the first round of the playoffs in swing, here is my take on what I think will happen in the first round of the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers

Prediction: Bruins win in 6 games

Boston has had a season where everything has gone right for them. They broke the all time win and points record this season. There is seemingly nothing that can stand in their way. That being said, the Panthers have the best record against Boston of any team this season, having a 2-2-0 record from the regular season. Florida should give Boston a run for their money, but I just don’t see them beating Boston in a 7-game series. The only way that I believe Florida could come out on top is focusing on playing defensive hockey, which is exactly what we have seen them doing since late February.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Prediction: Lighting win in 7 games

This series will most likely be the most back and forth of any series in the first round. Toronto can and will put up a fight, but I believe that the Tampa Bay Lightning will come out on top. The core players of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point have led the Lightning to three consecutive cup finals, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. The Maple Leafs curse will live on for another year. The most likely way that I think the Leafs could end up coming out of this matchup is if their main trade deadline acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly needs to show up big in the playoffs. The Leafs need to become a team that is difficult to play against in order to succeed this year.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders

Prediction: Hurricanes win in 5 games

This series will be about a battle of defense, with both sides are more than equipped for. The Islanders prize goaltender, Ilya Sorokin, will most likely be the difference in this series. The Islanders play a very slow and methodical type of hockey, while the Hurricanes play a very fast style. I do think that the Hurricanes will come out on top because of the Islanders struggles in producing offense in their last few games. The Hurricanes have dominated seemingly every aspect of play this season. The Islanders will have to find some way to stem this tide in order to have a fighting chance to win the series.

New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers

Predictions: Rangers win in 4 games

This is my most bold prediction by far. Unlike most people, I don’t think that the Devils have any sort of a fighting chance. The Rangers have veterans from last year like Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Igor Shesterkin. At the trade deadline, the Rangers added Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, who have won a combined four Stanley Cups with the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks respectively. I do not see a outcome that does not involve a Rangers sweep. The Devils do have an incredibly hopeful future, with Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes leading the way. The Devils have some problems with goaltending that I believe the Rangers will exploit at every opportunity they have. The Devils might win a game because of a fluke by the Rangers, but I don’t believe that there is anything for the Devils to stem the tide of the Rangers machine.