First round playoff predictions

Who doesn't like a good playoff prediction blog? I don't have a crystal ball or the ability to see into the future so this is my best educated guess as to who will advance to the second round and who won't. But then again, even the professionals who get paid big $$ to make these predictions are in the same boat, so whether it's me or, say, Craig Button who makes the predictions, we're both in the same boat. Neither of us can predict the future, these are simply our best guesses. We'll see who's right.
San Jose Sharks v Edmonton Oilers
San Jose Sharks v Edmonton Oilers / Leila Devlin/GettyImages
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Eastern Conference


Carolina is a team that chokes when it counts as they've never been to a Cup final since beating the Oilers in 2006.

That being said, this is the first round and their opponent is much like the Winnipeg Jets - short on goal scoring, high on defence. Both teams are evenly matched in between the pipes, although the Islanders have a legit 1A when their starter falters, something we can't say for the 'Canes.

That being said, the 'Canes have more firepower up front than the Isles.

To be fair, neither team is super interesting and there aren't a lot of compelling storylines on either team. Compounding matters for the Isles are two key players - bottom-six forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau got injured in the last game of the season while blueliner Scott Mayfield is on IR. Regardless of which team wins the series, don't expect the winner to go far in the playoffs.

My winner - Hurricanes win 4-2


This is about as big a mismatch as you'll see in the playoffs. Just like Vancouver-Nashville, this one will be over quickly IMO.

Other than Ovechkin's pursuit of Wayne Gretzky's career goal-scoring record, there isn't a lot to like about the Caps. They have some good pieces but I'll put it you this way - no Capitals got 100 points this year, only three got over 50 points, and only two scored over 20 goals - though to be fair, Tom Wilson and Connor McMichael both came close with 18. They might also be the worst defensive team in hockey out of all the playoff teams since they had but a mere four - FOUR! - players above 0. Combine all of these strikes with the fact that the Caps have more guys on the shelf than the Rangers do and it's sure looking like the Rangers will make mincemeat out of the Caps.

The Rangers, meanwhile, boast one of the NHL's best scorers in Artemi Panarin, plus a potent blueline that can move the puck very well, consisting of superstar Adam Fox (73 points), then two guys who scored 30 points this year (K'Andre Miller and Erik Gustafsson), and Jacob Trouba who got 22 points playing on the bottom pairing.

The Capitals have John Carlson with 52 points then the injured Rasmus Sandin with 23.....and that's it.

As far as goaltending.....not even a contest. I'm not even going to link to the numbers that's how bad it is. The Capitals can't really counter Igor Shesterkin.

My winner - Rangers win 4-0