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2017 NHL Playoff Predictions From A Passionate But Uneducated Fan


It is that time of year again folks. The NHL Playoffs are here! There are no better playoffs in professional sports than the hockey playoffs. They are always hard-hitting, full of action and just downright fun to watch. And this is coming from someone who does not even follow the sport day in and day out during the regular season.

So let me get this out of the way early. I am the farthest thing away from being an expert on the National Hockey League. I will turn on a game every now and again during the regular season, because I thoroughly enjoy the sport. As a result, I know the bigger names. I know overall who is supposed to be good and who is not. But given all of the other sports I watch, regular season hockey tends to fall by the wayside.

With that said, I still consider myself a passionate fan. Especially come playoff time! There is something about the chase for the Stanley Cup plus hard hitting hockey that makes for some edge-of-your-seat type of moments.

[Kenny]

And there is nothing more entertaining than predicting the playoffs. So let’s get into it. Below are each of the NHL playoff matchups for 2017, followed by my picks.

Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens (A1) vs New York Rangers (WC1)
Ottawa Senators (A2) vs Boston Bruins (A3)
Washington Capitals (M1) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (WC2)
Pittsburgh Penguins (M2) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (M3)

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks (C1) vs Nashville Predators (WC1)
Minnesota Wild (C2) vs St. Louis Blues (C3)
Anaheim Ducks (P1) vs Calgary Flames (WC2)
Edmonton Oilers (P2) vs San Jose Sharks (P3)

Predictions 

Montreal Canadiens (A1) vs New York Rangers (WC1)

The Canadiens may have been the top team in the Atlantic Division, but honestly, that does not really say much. Not only did the top three teams from the Metropolitan Division finish with better records than Montreal, but so did the team that earned the top Eastern Conference wild card slot.

That team is the New York Rangers, and they just so happen to be the opponents on the Canadiens in round one. I simply have no been overly impressed with the Habs when I have seen them play. With Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh back in action, give me the Rangers. New York takes the series 4-2.

Ottawa Senators (A2) vs Boston Bruins (A3)

I will be completely honest. This is probably the series I know the least about. I did not watch either team much this season. So I will keep this one quick. Whenever I heard anything about the Bruins this season, it was usually something negative.

Add in the fact that I am a New Jersey guy, meaning I tend to root against the Boston teams. I also am a huge Erik Karlsson fan. He has sat out the last few games, but it sounds like that was as prep for this series. So I will take the Senators in this one. Ottawa takes the series 4-1.

Washington Capitals (M1) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (WC2)

Alex Ovechkin takes on Auston Matthews. Two of the leagues heavy hitters will be squaring off in the first round of this year’s playoffs. But as much as I love watching Matthews play, I think this turns into a one sided series. The Capitals were the best team in hockey all season. The Maple Leafs on the other hand, just snuck into the playoffs.

The Capitals have plenty of talent all over the ice. Braden Holtby is one of the best goalies in all of the league. I thought they would take it all last season. But this year they have one more year of experience. Washington takes the series 4-0.

Pittsburgh Penguins (M2) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (M3)

This one sets up to be the most entertaining opening series in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins, despite being second best in their own division, are still arguably the second best team in the NHL. The Blue Jackets on the other hand, were once one of the hottest teams in the whole league this season.

Cam Atkinson and Brandon Saad can be a real pain for any team when they are on their game. So Sidney Crosby should not be booking his plane tickets to the next series just yet. Most people will be just taking the Pens and not thinking twice. But I am calling for the upset here. Columbus takes the series 4-3.

Chicago Blackhawks (C1) vs Nashville Predators (WC1)

The Blackhawks are a team that I always look forward to watching come playoff time. From Parick Kane to Jonathan Toews to Duncan Keith to Artemi Panarin, Chicago always has one of the most star-studded lineups. But with that said, Nashville is by no means a pushover.

But when all is added up, the Blackhawks are simply the best team in the Western Conference. They are also the most fun team to watch in the NHL in this fans opinion. So I have to side with Chicago here. Chicago takes the series 4-1.

Minnesota Wild (C2) vs St. Louis Blues (C3)

While I do not know much about the Wild, I do know the Blues are one of the teams I look forward to watching every April and May. Vladimir Tarasenko will be going up against Mikko Koivu in a series that is sure to entertain. I do think both clubs are certainly capable of taking this one.

But there is always something that draws me to want to see the Blackhawks and the Blues face off against one another in the playoffs. I know the Blues can disappoint during this time of the year every so often, and I do not see them walking through this one with ease. But I do see them coming out on top when all is said and done. St. Louis takes the series 4-3.

Anaheim Ducks (P1) vs Calgary Flames (WC2)

Many people view the Ducks as a lock to head to the finals from the West. But just because they won the Pacific Division, it does not mean they are the best in the West. They are a team I feel are always loaded with talent but still overhyped. The Flames, on the other hand, do not have the pressure of high expectations.

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan make up a great combo. Those two alone will be a handful for the Ducks to handle. Since I love upsets, and I enjoy the Flame, this seems like a great spot to go against the grain. I will take the Flames. Calgary takes the series 4-2.

Edmonton Oilers (P2) vs San Jose Sharks (P3)

Hands down the series I am most looking forward to in this first round. Connor “McJesus” McDavid is the most entertaining player to watch in the NHL. You can have Crosby. You can have Ovechkin. Give me McJesus. But the Sharks are going to bring the heart. Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski are two hard nose players who will not go down without a fight.

But this is McJesus’ time to shine. This is going to be his playoffs. He is going to take control of this series, leading the team to victory in the best series to open the playoffs. Edmonton takes the series 4-3 (Yes I am a McDavid fan).

Ottawa Senators (A2) vs New York Rangers (WC1)

I really want to pick the Rangers here. I really do. But there is something about this team that I just cannot put my full faith in. They enter the playoffs this season with lower expectations than normal. But honestly, I think it is for good reason. I see Karlsson and Mike Hoffman taking control of this one. Ottawa takes the series 4-2.

Washington Capitals (M1) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (M3)

As much as I love the Blue Jackets, I simply do not see them keeping pace with the Caps. Saad is one of my favorite players in the league, but the Capitals simply have too much talent. While I never like to root for Washington, I cannot deny that they are set for a deep run. Washington takes the series 4-2.

Chicago Blackhawks (C1) vs St. Louis Blues (C3)

The series I look forward to seeing every year. Unfortunately for Blues fans, I do not think this one goes the way they want. Kane and Toews will reignite some old magic in this one and dominate this series. Add in Keith, Panarin and the rest of the crew and this will be a one-sided affair. Chicago takes the series 4-1.

Edmonton Oilers (P2) vs Calgary Flames (WC2)

I love to watch both of these teams. And this sets up to be one of the best set of games all playoffs long. Some of the games brightest stars will be on display. And this could very well be a preview of a series that we will be getting a lot in years to come. These two clubs have bright futures. But for this one, I have to side with my guy McJesus. Edmonton takes the series 4-3.

Ottawa Senators (A2) vs Washington Capitals (M1)

This is where the Caps depth of talent will really show through. They are way more than Ovechkin. There is TJ Oshi. There is Nicklas Backstrom. There is Evgeny Kuznetsov. There is Marcus Johansson. And I could keep going. But I think you get the point. This team is loaded. Karlsson can only do so much. But the Caps will overload the Sens in this one. Washington takes the series 4-0.

Chicago Blackhawks (C1) vs Edmonton Oilers (P2)

Oh how I do not want to pick this series. I love to watch both of this team and they will likely be the two teams I am rooting the hardest for this year. I love to watch Kane. I love to watch McDavid. But it is the Blackhawks almost every season. So it is time for a change. Give me the young upstarts in Edmonton! Sure they could very well be knocked out in the first round. But sometimes you need to be bold when making predictions. Edmonton wins the series 4-3.

Edmonton Oilers (P2) vs Washington Capitals (M1)

The finals see the team I think is most talented against the team that I am pulling for. But unfortunately for my guy McJesus, this is where his road will end. The time is simple now for the Capitals. Their roster outweighs that of the Oilers. Edmonton will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. But 2017 is the year of the Capitals. Washington wins the series and the Stanley Cup 4-2.

Games will begin this Wednesday, April 12th at 7:30 pm EST. Which NHL Playoff matchup are you looking forward to the most? Who do you have winning the Stanley Cup? Tell us in the comments!


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Ken Magner
A college kid who loves baseball, NCAA basketball, Marvel movies, Game of Thrones and much more.

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