As the Pittsburgh Penguins and the NHL inch closer to the start of the playoffs, we decided to predict, in its entirety, how the Eastern Conference will go.
The dates and locations are still getting worked out for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but what we do know is that it is happening. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be playing the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round of the playoffs. The matchups are ready, and the competition is about to take center stage for the summer months coming up.
In predicting the matchups to come, it’ll be two-fold. First, we are going to rank how the top 4 teams did in their round-robin play in matches and then look at the qualifying round. In looking at the top seeds battles, we will see each team play each other once, later being reorganized based on points from those matchups.
In short, that round of play will most likely spit out the same top 4 as before leaving the seeds locked at 1. Boston, 2. Tampa Bay, 3. Washington, and 4. Philadelphia. Now on to the fun part, the qualification round or better yet, the start to the Pittsburgh Penguins run towards the Cup.
Predicting the Penguins and entire Eastern Conference during the playoffs
No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 12 Montreal
On paper, the Penguins are just better, but they shouldn’t rest on this matchup either. With a fully healthy roster back, Pittsburgh should walk away from this matchup easily. Look for the Habs to show a little resiliency, but not much else.
(Prediction: Penguins in 4)
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No. 6 Carolina vs. No. 11 NY Rangers
Carolina has one this going for them, and it’s the offense. Other than that, they are pretty weak rounding out the back. Playing in neutral cities won’t bother them, as getting fans to come has been a stretch. This series will be a tough road, but they will win it in the end.
(Prediction: Hurricanes in 5)
No. 7 NY Islanders vs. No. 10 Florida
It’s New York Islanders playoff hockey time once more, as this is becoming a regular occurrence for them. Their opponents, Florida, are in uncharted waters and will be reeling against this tough Eastern Conference foe.
(Prediction: Islanders in 3)
No. 8 Toronto vs. No. 9 Columbus
This matchup is arguably the toughest on paper, and it makes sense since they are the closest seeded teams. Not only with it be tough, but it will also be entertaining to the end as the Leafs just barely eke out this series.
(Prediction: Maple Leafs in 5)
If these predictions pan out, this will mean that the top 8 seeds in the East all make it and thus making it look like a regular playoff from this point on (well kind of anyway). The first-round matchups will look like: 1. Boston vs. 8. Toronto, 2. Tampa Bay vs. 7. NY Islanders, 3. Washington vs. Carolina, and 4. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh.