Hockey is coming back to us in a day and I can’t contain my excitement. After a four month break, who knows what each player and team is going to look like. That means anything can happen, maybe Gritty comes out and scores a score in overtime or maybe Gordon Bombay steps out to coach a team, who knows maybe a live Kraken comes out and attacks a NHL stadium. The following 10 predictions didn’t go that far but they should raise some eyebrows.
- The Arizona Coyotes not only upset the Nashville Predators in the Qualifying Round but they sweep them. The Coyotes allowed 187 goals against this year, the 4th fewest in the NHL. I’m excited to see how Taylor Hall, Phil Kessel and Clayton Keller do in the payoffs.
- The Vegas Golden Knights, fresh off two dominant seasons, get ousted in the first round. They are 13th in goals against, 9th in goals for, a fresh coach on the bench and I think teams have had two seasons to watch their deep runs.
- The Edmonton Oilers win a playoff series for the second time in 14 seasons with their two stars having a hand in 50% of their points. Have you seen how nonchalantly Connor McDavid is skating past defensemen and scoring?? Add Leon Draisaitl’s MVP season and these two are going to turn some heads. The crazy part is they have solid depth pieces like James Neal, Riley Sheahan and Andreas Athanasiou. The secret weapon to this team might be higher than expected play from the solid duo in net of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen.
- David Pastrnak scores four goals in a playoff game. His hands, acumen and shot have all been laser focused this year and I think we see more of the same during the playoffs.
- Columbus has three shutouts in the first two rounds of the tournament. Their defense coupled with a depth of solid goalies makes them a dangerous team coming into the playoffs.
- The Penguins outscore the Canadiens by at least four goals twice during their qualifying round series. Injury bug has bit the Penguins quite a bit over the years and here they are, likely as healthy as they have been in a long time come playoff time, I think that’s a tough matchup for Montreal.
- One of the Calgary vs. Winnipeg games goes into 3OT. This season is going to be ELECTRIC! Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk and their now healthy defense vs. Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Patrick Laine and the talented Connor Hellebuyck in net. This series has my interest above all other qualifying round matchups.
- The Western Conference Champion is NOT St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights or Dallas Stars. I think the Western Conference is up for grabs and I could see Edmonton, Arizona, Vancouver and either Calgary or Winnipeg making a deep run.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning sweep the Stanley Cup Final in an anti-climactic four games. All of that hard work leads to this dud of a finals.
- We see a goalie score a goal. Because why not, it’s a crazy year and we see some crazy things.
ok, so we're *really* excited that hockey is coming back.— Seattle Kraken (@NHLSeattle_) July 27, 2020
which means.... it's time for a BRACKET!
fill it out and let us know who you've got to hoist Lord Stanley this year pic.twitter.com/lWaDHDwMTa
Eastern Conference Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning over Boston Bruins in 6
Western Conference Finals: Edmonton Oilers over Colorado Avalanche in 7
Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning over Edmonton Oilers in 4.