MAY 15, 2021 – It’s that time of year. This year should be more interesting with more local rivalries and teams having played each other much more than normal. As well the wear and tear of the season will have an impact on teams as injuries and fatigue may show more on some than others.
Leafs & Habs. All the big money is on the Toronto and for good reason. With the addition of veteran Nick Foligno and Montreal media rumbling about a lack of French players the Hockey Gods should shine on Cabbagetown.
The Leafs are far stronger up the middle. They are stronger in goal. And while Jeff Petry deserves Norris consideration for Montreal, Toronto still has some solid D men more geared to today’s NHL .
Toronto’s top 4 D have 96 points. Habs captain Shea Weber is fighting injury and his D corp led by Petry put up put up 82, but most of those were from Petry.
Montreal has too many question marks Does Price, Gallagher, Weber, and Drouin return and if they do what true impact do they have?
While we all love a Cinderella story Toronto is a good team that has addressed its issues and has something to prove.
Toronto in 5. (and really hope I’m wrong)
Boston & Washington. This series should be fun, but Washington is a big mean team and Alex Ovechkin is playing for a contract and legacy. Tom Wilson is a beast and with teams focusing on him ice opens for the talented Caps to light up the score board.
Boston doesn’t have the depth to keep with with Washington.
Washington in 6.
Florida & Tampa . This may be the series to watch in round one as the Battle of Florida promises some high scoring games, especially if Stamkos and Kucherov are effective. Both teams feature star players. Tampa gets the edge in goal and D though and just won a cup.
Tampa in 6.
Pittsburgh & NY Islanders. On paper this series should be closer than it will be, but this is the last hurrah for this Pittsburgh team and the Isles are missing some key players. Even with those players the Penguins would have the edge .
Pittsburgh in 5
Edmonton & Winnipeg. Sadly the Peg has been folding down the stretch. Edmonton is playing like a team with a destiny to fulfill with both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the way and goalie Mike Smith having what probably be his last big run for a cup.
Edmonton in 5
Carolina & Nashville This series should be the one upset in round one. While Carolina is a strong team with a great d corps, Nashville has come back from the dead and is strong up the middle and should not be taken for granted.
Nashville in 7
Colorado & St Louis. While the Avalanche are the faves to win the Cup according to bookies it truly is hard to write off the Blues who have a goalie who has led them to a cup before, and not that long ago. While the team is older and not as strong as before they shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Avalanche in 7
Vegas vs Minnesota. Minnie has had a truly good year. For a team in transition they have over achieved thanks to some talented rookies, but the Mark Stone led Golden Knights have depth and probably the strongest goalie tandem in the NHL.
Vegas in 5.
What do you think hockey fans? You can post your predictions below.