Here’s the thing about the NHL this season. I didn’t watch a single game outside of the East Division. There are 12 teams in the playoffs this year that I know literally nothing about. Here’s how I am going to handle it, predictions wise. For the East it is business as usual. For the other three divisions, I am going to make a gut feeling pick based mostly on the standings, but I am also going to make a coin flip pick. After the first round is over, I’ll compare the two and see how it went.
First, though, the East Division…
No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs No. 4 New York Islanders: The Islanders have two strikes against them and the Penguins only have one. The Islanders are from New York (BOO!) and I have no faith in them at all. Two strikes. The Penguins’ only strike is that they are the friggin’ Penguins and I really hate the friggin’ Penguins. Still, I gotta pick them for this round. Pittsburgh will win.
No. 2 Washington Capitals vs No. 3 Boston Bruins: So there I was, at the trade deadline thinking, Taylor Hall? Really? He’s not going to put us over the top. He’s no winner. Well… I might have to stand here corrected. I am standing here beside myself corrected. I hope. My heroic, triumphant Boston Bruins have had a few clunkers of late, but I see them steam rolling the Caps in the first round. Please please please please please don’t make me eat those word too. Boston will win.
Next, the Central Division…
No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs No. 4 Nashville Predators: Not much doubt about this one, even without knowing anything about the two teams. I say Carolina wins this one. The coin flip (heads for the higher seed) says Carolina wins too.
No. 2 Florida Panthers vs No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning: I’m picking the upset here. Probably because I am still thinking of the Lightning in terms of last season. I say Tampa Bay wins. The coin flip also says Tampa Bay wins. Weird.
On to the North Division…
No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs No. 4 Montreal Canadiens: I hate the Montreal Canadiens with every fiber of my being. I hate them I hate them I hate them. Also, Toronto doesn’t have to play Boston in the first round so they won’t automatically lose again. I say Toronto wins, and probably wins the next round too. The coin flip says Toronto wins too. Is the coin like, reading my mind? Spooky.
No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets: I could maybe try a spoiler here too but I won’t. I say Edmonton wins (and probably pretty easily too). The coin says Edmonton wins too. Okay, this is starting to creep me out now.
Finally, the West Division where I will once again just pick the higher seed.
No. 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues: Hey St. Louis, I got your Stanley Cup right here! (imagine me making a very rude hand gesture) You buncha jerkies. I’m not picking the Blues because I’m still pissed off about the last time. Also because I have a sneaking suspicion that the Avs are going to have a parade this year. They might get to do some on ice celebrating, possibly in Toronto. Hashtag foreshadowing. I say Colorado wins. The coin says St. Louis wins because the coin is an asshole. At least we finally have one where we didn’t pick the same team. Hey coin, I got your randomness right here! (imagine me making a very rude hand gesture)
No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild: Did you know that Minneapolis, MN is the only city outside of Boston, MA where I’ve attended an NHL game? Think that will lead me to pick them to win this series? Think again. I say Vegas wins. The coin, however, says that Minnesota wins. We shall see, Mr. Coin… we shall see.
There you have it, my first round playoff predictions for this the second 2021 playoff season which is also the second Covid-19 playoff season.