2022 NHL Playoffs: Predictions for the first round and Stanley Cup winner

The 82-game NHL routine season is formally total and now groups will move their focus towards the supreme reward in the Stanley Cup.

The Florida Panthers go into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Presidents’ Trophy winner thanks to their 122-point routine season. Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche will be the front runner in the Western Conference.

The NHL postseason starts on Monday, May 2. In the preliminary, the lower-seeded wild card group takes on versus the department winner with the very best record. The other wild card group handles the other department winner. The 2nd and 3rd location groups from the departments fight it out in the other playoff matches. In the opening 2 rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, house ice benefit is provided to the greater seed, which suggests that they had the much better routine season record.

With the playoffs set to get underway, our NHL specialists exposed their preliminary forecasts together with their Stanley Cup choices.

Western Conference

(1) Avalanche vs. (WC2) Predators

Chris: The Avalanche were extraordinary all season and were neck-and-neck with the Panthers for the Presidents’ Trophy. That’s not unexpected provided the quantity of offending weapons that Colorado has. Meanwhile, the Predators dropped their routine season ending as they blew a 4-1 result in the Arizona Coyotes and fell under the 2nd wild card area at the same time. If playing the Avalanche wasn’t bad enough, they’ll likely need to do it without star goaltender Juuse Saros, who is presently out of the lineup with a sprained ankle. With Saros anticipated to miss out on a couple of video games, the Avalanche ought to travel to the simple series win. Pick — Avalanche beat Predators 4-0

Austin:  If these groups played this series 10 times, the Avalanche may win 9, and this will not be that a person exception. The Predators would be an enormous underdog in this series even if goaltender Saros was healthy, however beginning David Rittich in objective makes this uphill struggle much more overwhelming. With Saros out, Colorado is definitively much better than Nashville at every position on the ice. The Preds have actually revealed a capability to be a scrappy lot this season, however grit and sandpaper will not suffice to manage the disturbed versus this Avalanche team. Pick — Avalanche beat Predators 4-1

(2) Wild vs. (3) Blues

Chris: Postseason wins have not prevailed throughout the Wild’s history, however this might be the season that their fortunes alter. Kirill Kaprizov progressed into among the league’s most gifted wingers in simply his 2nd NHL season. Fellow winger Kevin Fiala likewise had a profession year and actually assisted support Minnesota’s 2nd line. With the veteran existence of Marc-Andre Fleury in web, that might wind up being the distinction versus a Blues groups that does not have a clear No. 1 netminder. Pick — Wild beat Blues 4-2

Austin: These 2 groups are extremely uniformly matched, and any variety of results are possible. The Blues, led by Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Pavel Buchnevich, and Vladimir Tarasenko, have actually revealed a capability to be deadly on the rush. For Minnesota, Kaprizov is the engine that powers a deep forward group that consists of a good balance of ability and protective capability. Ultimately, this boils down to which blue line and goaltending circumstance I rely on more. I both of those cases, the response is Minnesota. The Wild come out of what will be a tough combated series. Pick — Wild beat Blues 4-3

(1) Flames vs. (WC1) Stars

Chris: The Flames might have been among the greatest surprise groups this season. For a group that didn’t make a marquee addition in the offseason, Calgary counted on the star power that they currently had in location to construct a Stanley Cup competitor. Hart Trophy prospect Johnny Gaudreau had the very best season of his profession for a group that had the second-most points in the Western Conference. In addition, goaltender Jacob Markstrom was a brick wall sometimes and will be a big possession throughout the postseason. In this specific series, the goaltending match in between Markstrom and Jake Oettinger might wind up taking spotlight. However, I simply do not believe the Stars have enough offending firepower to keep up. Pick — Flames beat Stars 4-1

Austin: If the Flames discover a method to consist of the line of Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, and Roope Hintz, then this series will be over extremely rapidly. If Calgary has a hard time to keep those 3 off the board and Dallas gets strong goaltending from Jake Oettinger, then the Stars have a puncher’s opportunity. I do believe Darryl Sutter creates a strategy to put a cover on Dallas’ leading line, and Calgary is the much deeper group in this series. Even if the Flames’ dominant very first line is counteracted, Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Mangiapane, and Dillon Dube can do some damage even more down the lineup. Pick — Flames beat Stars 4-1

(2) Oilers vs. (3) Kings

Chris: The Oilers have actually had their reasonable share of postseason success throughout their history. However, considering that appearing in the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, the Oilers just made it out of the preliminary on one celebration. When Connor McDavid was tabbed as the rescuer of the franchise, it was to shine on phases such as this. McDavid led the league in points this season and he’ll reveal why in this series. I simply do not believe the Kings will have the ability to score enough to stay up to date with the offending juggernaut that is the Oilers. The mix of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl ought to grow. Pick — Oilers beat Kings 4-2

Austin:  There will be a great deal of pressure on the Oilers to make a run this postseason, however this is a really challenging first-round match for them. The Kings have actually been great at five-on-five this season, and Phillip Danault has actually been a fantastic two-way center for them. His services will be required in this series as Los Angeles attempts to restrict Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, if that is even actually possible. There’s no concern that the Oilers have the edge when it concerns elite skill at the top of the lineup, and McDavid will get his, however I rely on the Kings more as a total group. Drew Doughty’s season-ending injury makes this a much harder choice, however Los Angeles will outlive Edmonton. Pick — Kings beat Oilers 4-2

Eastern Conference

(1) Panthers vs. (WC2) Capitals

Chris: My Stanley Cup choice is the Panthers and they’ll display their supremacy versus the Capitals. It likewise does not assist that Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is banged up getting in the series after suffering an upper-body injury recently. Ovechkin is most likely going to play in Game 1, however he’s going to require to be superhuman for the Capitals to have a possibility. The Panthers’ offense is simply too hazardous and have strong goaltending that needs to keep the Panthers at bay. Pick — Panthers beat Capitals 4-1

Austin: This series has the opportunity to be enjoyable, even if it does not last long. The Panthers have been the NHL’s most amusing group all season, and who does not like seeing Alex Ovechkin in the playoffs? If the Capitals are going to manage the upset, it will take an excellent effort from Ovechkin in addition to some miscues from Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Even then, the Panthers might still score their escape of problem. There is not a much better forward group in the league than Florida’s. They can roll 4 lines for 60 minutes and still stress out bulbs in the scoreboard. That is what will make the distinction in this series. Pick — Panthers beat Capitals 4-2

(2) Maple Leafs) vs. (3) Lightning

Chris: Insert your Maple Leafs not making it out of the preliminary joke here. This time around, it’s going to be a various story for Toronto. This is the inmost lineup that the Maple Leafs have actually had in rather a long time. On top of that, they’re paced by among the greatest stars in the sport in Auston Matthews. Matthews is coming off a crazy month and he’s going to require that to rollover versus the back-to-back champs. This isn’t going to be simple by any stretch. If Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell can rollover his current strong play, I think that the Maple Leafs can take out this series, however do not be shocked if it goes 7 video games. Pick — Maple Leafs beat Lightning 4-3

Austin: The Maple Leafs have actually had problem leaving the preliminary for a while now, and this year they need to do it versus the two-time protecting Stanley Cup champs. So will be various about this year? To put it quickly, Auston Matthews. The Toronto super star is on another level than everybody else this season and might extremely well be the MVP, and he does not have a lot of slouches around him. The Lightning have actually been downing along all year with Steven Stamkos suffering, and Andrei Vasilevskiy is totally efficient in winning a series on his own, however this is where Tampa’s reign of fear concerns an end. Picking the Maple Leafs over the Lightning in the playoffs feels gross, however I’m going to trust what I saw from Toronto down the stretch. Pick — Maple Leafs beat Lightning 4-3

(1) Hurricanes vs. (WC2) Bruins

Chris: This is the one series that I’m having the most problem with. That’s due in big part to the truth that it’s anybody’s guess regarding whether Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen will dip into any point in the series. Andersen is presently handling a lower-body injury and has actually been out considering that mid-April. Andersen was a dark horse for the Vezina Trophy all season and was really incredible. While Antti Raanta is adept, Andersen will be missed out on. In addition, the Bruins have a lots of scoring depth in David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron. It’s an embarassment that Carolina’s season might end due to something out of their control, however I believe the Bruins will do enough defensively to take this series. Pick — Bruins beat Hurricanes 4-3

Austin:  The Hurricanes and Bruins have actually fulfilled two times in current postseasons, and Boston won both series with a combined record of 8-1. Will the 3rd time be the appeal for Carolina or will it simply be more of the exact same? This might be a long series, however a number of things have me favoring the Bruins. For beginners, the Hurricanes take a high quantity of point shots for a group with a lot skill in advance. If that continues in the postseason, the Bruins are fully equipped to handle that and keep the Hurricanes off the scoreboard. Secondly, Patrice Bergeron is having an unreasonable protective season, even by his requirements. He will depend on the job of removing Carolina’s finest playmakers. Pick — Bruins beat Hurricanes 4-2

(2) Rangers vs. (3) Penguins

Chris: Similar to the Hurricanes/Bruins series, a goaltender injury is among the greatest stories to see. Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry is presently handling a lower-body injury and has actually been out considering that April 14. Jarry will a minimum of miss out on the very first couple of video games of this series. Backup Casey DeSmith has actually been strong sometimes, however was illuminated for 5 objectives versus the Rangers previously this season. I simply can’t bring myself to wager versus the Vezina Trophy frontrunner on the other side in Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers likewise have an excellent defense in front of Shesterkin as they just gave up 2.49 goals-per-game throughout the routine season. This will be a long series, however the Rangers finish the job. Pick — Rangers beat Penguins 4-3

Austin:  This is among the hardest choices to make. There is a really engaging case to be made that Pittsburgh was the much better group over an 82-game sample size. However, the Rangers actually turned a corner over the last 6 weeks of the season, and their hidden procedure started to match their exceptional outcomes. The other thing working versus the Penguins here is Tristan Jarry’s injury. He will not play the very first number of video games, and Igor Shesterkin vs. Casey DeSmith or Louis Domingue is a quite one-sided goaltending match. Outside of the crease, the Penguins are the much deeper of the 2 groups. Sidney Crosby is still among the very best gamers on earth, and Pittsburgh is rock strong behind him down the middle. That will make the distinction in this series. Pick — Penguins beat Rangers 4-2

Stanley Cup winner

Chris: There are a number of groups that are definitely efficient in making a run at the Stanley Cup. Still, I’ve been on the Florida Panthers for the last a number of months and I’m not avoiding them now. Even prior to the acquisition of Claude Giroux, this was a group that might’ve raised the Cup, however that relocation really put the Panthers over the top. Giroux’s existence on the leading line has actually been absolutely nothing except marvelous. The Panthers’ offense, which includes 2 of the most vibrant forwards in the sport in Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, was the highest-scoring offense in the routine season and I think that will rollover into the playoffs. Florida wins its very first Stanley Cup in franchise history.  Pick — Panthers beat Flames 4-2

Austin:  The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers have actually been the leading 2 groups in the NHL for a while now, so that would be the simple choice for the Stanley Cup Final. However, the NHL playoffs never ever go according to script. I do believe the Avalanche will have the ability to leave the Western Conference, however possibly not without a scare from the Calgary Flames. Colorado is simply too gifted at every position, and the group will be on an objective after last season’s early exit. In the Eastern Conference, Auston Matthews will assist the Maple Leafs win the Prince of Wales Trophy, however the franchise will need to wait a little bit longer for its very first Stanley Cup considering that 1967. The Avalanche are simply excessive of a juggernaut to be stopped this year. Pick — Avalanche beat Maple Leafs 4-2

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