NHL playoffs bracket: Picks, predictions for each conference final series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have actually thinned the field of groups fighting for a champion to simply 4. After some earlier rounds of madness, it’s time to move our focus towards the conference finals.

Two No. 1 seeds still stay in the Vegas Golden Knights and Hurricanes. Will we see more upsets in this round?

Our professionals weigh in with their choices for the Eastern and Western Conference Final:

(1) Golden Knights vs. (2) Stars

Chris Bengel:  I’ve truly liked what I’ve seen from this Stars group in these playoffs. Sure, they had a couple of missteps when dealing with the Kraken in the 2nd round, however Dallas increased to the celebration when they required to. There’s one significant distinction when it concerns the Golden Knights and Stars: goaltending. Jake Oettinger has actually showcased his capability as an elite netminder when the lights are the brightest. According to Money Puck, he leads all postseason goaltenders with a .957 conserve portion when dealing with unblocked shots. 

On top of that, the Stars have a really unsafe offense, that includes the postseason’s 2nd leading scorer Roope Hintz. I’m banking on Oettinger to shine and the Stars to do enough to take this series.
Pick — Stars beat Golden Knights 4-3

Austin Nivison: The Golden Knights have a five-on-five objective differential of plus-15. That is the very best of any group in the postseason by a number of nation miles. But according to their anticipated objective numbers on Natural Stat Trick, that differential ought to truly be closer to plus-1. Vegas has the skill to surpass its hidden numbers, however by that much? Call me doubtful.

On the other hand, the Stars have actually become worse outcomes than their efficiency would recommend. Dallas ranks initially in five-on-five anticipated objective share (55.5%), however its real objective differential in those scenarios is simply plus-1.Jack Eichel has actually definitely been an intense area this postseason, and Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy might have discovered something by putting him on a line with Ivan Barbashev and Jonathan Marchessault. However, the Stars do look like the more gifted group entering the series.

Roope Hintz has actually become a super star with 19 points in 13 video games, and Joe Pavelski is playing like he is 28 — not 38. Jason Robertson has actually just discovered the back of the net two times, and if he can start, that makes Dallas a lot more unsafe. The just thing offering me stop briefly about selecting the Stars is that Jake Oettinger has actually been rather unstable this postseason, and Adin Hill came out of no place to supply elite goaltending for the Golden Knights. I’m wagering those patterns will not continue, and the Stars reach the Stanley Cup Final for the 2nd time in 4 years.
Pick — Stars beat Golden Knights 4-2

(1) Hurricanes vs. (WC2) Panthers

Bengel: No one anticipated this match –specifically the Panthers going this far. But I’m going to concentrate on the Hurricanes. The deck was stacked versus Carolina, currently lacking star forwards Max Pacioretty and Andrei Svechnikov going into the postseason. On top of that, winger Teuvo Teravainen suffered a hand injury that sidelined him for the Devils series, however it appears like he ought to return at some time in this series. Some might state that the Panthers have the benefit, specifically thinking about how Sergei Bobrovsky has actually played in internet. However, Frederik Andersen has actually been strong throughout the postseason with a 1.80 goals-against-average and enabled 2 objectives or less in 4 of the 5 video games versus the Devils.

With Teravainen most likely returning and the Hurricanes offense clicking all cylinders, I’m taking Carolina to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.
Pick — Hurricanes beat Panthers 4-2

Nivison: Carolina is here on the strength of its group defense, goaltending and balance on offense. Jordan Martinook, Jesper Fast, and Seth Jarvis have actually stepped up to help Sebastian Aho in the goal-scoring deprtment. Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns have actually formed the very best protective set in the postseason, making a 59.9% anticipated objectives share and a plus-10 objective differential at five-on-five, per Natural Stat Trick. Expect them to see a great deal of Matthew Tkachuk, who willed Florida into the postseason and beyond.

In objective, Sergei Bobrovsky placed on a program versus the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2nd round. With Frederik Andersen playing well in internet for Carolina, I do not believe there is a substantial goaltending edge in either case. I do believe defense will choose this series, and while Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce have actually struggled for the Canes, they may be the much deeper group on the blue line. Marc Staal has actually played huge minutes for the Panthers, and he has actually not managed it well. Staal has actually been getting caved in to the tune of a paltry 43.8% five-on-five anticipated objectives share. Against a strong ownership group like Carolina, that might suggest problem for Florida. This will be a close series, however the Hurricanes’ strong protective structure gets it done.
Pick — Hurricanes beat Panthers 4-3

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