You can find our predictions for the Avalanche vs. Stars over here. Today, our staff will offer our predictions for the other three matchups, in which we’re as split as ever. To help you drown out the noise, here’s how everyone fared with their first round predictions:
Congratulations to Mark for going perfect in the first round! Come to think of it, he also had the best record last year, so maybe just skip over his predictions if you don’t want to be spoiled...
Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs Vancouver Canucks (5)
Taylor: I like the young, scrappy, and hungry Canucks but I just don’t see them able to defeat a juggernaut like the Golden Knights (yet). Golden Knights in 5.
Robert: The Golden Knights are really, really good. The Canucks are really fun. I will enjoy the Canucks’ losing, because what is more fun than that? Golden Knights in 4.
Derek: The Canucks are flying fast and loose, and that took the defending-champion Blues by surprise. Can it work again? While their young guns will continue to fire, Vegas is talented, deep, balanced and experienced. I’ll give the Golden Knights the edge in what should be a fun series. Golden Knights in 7.
Wes: As much as his agent doesn’t like it, benching Fleury was the right move. The Knights are deep, dangerous, and with Lehner have solid goaltending. Vancouver has enough to give them a scare, but I don’t think enough to get over the hump. Golden Knights in 6.
Ann: If you picked the Canucks over the Blues you’re either a) clairvoyant or B) a Canucks fan. Vegas is a deeper, better team with more than just a good top line. Yes, the Canucks spanked the Blues and that was good for me personally, but it’s about to get serious. Golden Knights in 5.
Tyler: I think that Vegas is a good (if not great) team with an absolute stud in net in Lehner. But then again, Markstrom has been incredible for the Canucks so far, and they just seem to have that ‘it’ factor that makes you think the underdog can pull it off. What the heck? Canucks in 7.
Rob M: Vegas handled the Blackhawks in every way imaginable, ousting them in five games. Vancouver used their youth, speed, and skill to beat a Blues team in disarray. Vegas has the experience, skill, and defending to beat an upstart Canucks club. It won’t be easy, though. Golden Knights in 6.
Mark: The Canucks used their top end young talent to beat the Blues in Round 1. The Golden Knights have the depth and goaltending to get past that. Golden Knights in 6.
Final Tally: Vegas 7, Vancouver 1
Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs New York Islanders (6)
Taylor: The Flyers appear to be one of the top teams in the East and Carter Hart is a big part of why. I like the Islanders’ structure, but I think the Flyers have that extra something that’s going to get them past this round. Flyers in 6.
Robert: The Islanders are whatever, okay, they exist. Philadelphia is insufferable. I hope the Islanders win every game, but also I hope that Tampa comes out of the East. Oh, wait, these are “picks,” right? It’s 2020, so that means Flyers in 4.
Derek: You can never count out any team coached by Barry Trotz these days, can you? The Islanders have been a stingy team all season and embarrassed the Washington Capitals without barely breaking a sweat. I do think the Flyers are one of the most underrated teams in the NHL, if not THE most underrated, but I think we’re going to see some growing pains with their young players in this series. Islanders in 5.
Wes: The Islanders’ superior structure gives them an advantage if the battle of two teams that probably wouldn’t be in a normal playoff. Were I a Flyers fan, I’d be worried about how Carter Hart finished the first round against a very limited Canadiens squad. Islanders in 5.
Ann: The Islanders absolutely pantsed the Capitals like it was easy, and that must have been very embarrassing for Washington. Like, as a team and a city. The Flyers struggled against a very depleted Canadiens team, and that shouldn’t fill anyone with confidence. Islanders in 6.
Tyler: My original bracket after the play-in series had the Flyers in the Conference Finals. But they didn’t look too impressive against Montreal outside of Carter Hart, and the Islanders absolutely dominated the Capitals. Plus it was weird that Philadelphia was ever the number one seed in the first place. Islanders in 6.
Rob M: As tough of a time as the Flyers had with the Habs, the Islanders easily took care of the Capitals. The Flyers are good, with very good goaltending and depth. However, the Islanders have the same luxuries and the Barry Trotz-led team plays their system better than any team in the NHL. Islanders in 6.
Mark: Islanders are on a good run, but Philly rounds into form to pull this series out in the end. Flyers in 7.
Final Tally: New York 5, Philadelphia 3
Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs Boston Bruins (4)
Taylor: It just feels like this is the year the Lightning will live up to their Stanley Cup favorite status. Boston won’t be an easy out, and they’ve got weapons of their own, but Andrei Vasilevskiy is the determining factor. Lightning in 6.
Robert: As Aeneas founded Rome after fleeing Troy and taking a gap year, so also will the team of Brenden Morrow (briefly) finally reach their destiny, if the stupid Bruins don’t ruin it by cheating. Lightning in 6.
Derek: Boston is always such a tough out, given their experience and the chemistry of their core, but Tampa has been a bridesmaid but never a bride for a long time now. Them getting revenge against the Columbus Blue Jackets is probably a nice boost for the psyche. This series will be almost too close to call, but I give the edge to Tampa. Lightning in 7.
Wes: It sucks that we’ll lose one of these teams while either the Islanders or Flyers advance. Tampa Bay feels like a juggernaut now that they’ve slapped the boogeyman Blue Jackets around, but how can you ignore the way Boston just “Thank you, Next’d” the pesky Hurricanes. The difference here is Boston playing with a backup goaltender. Lightning in 7.
Ann: I didn’t pick them to get out of the first round and I’m not gonna pick them against a team on a revenge mission. Boston surprised me but now they’re without their number one goaltender and Halak is no match for the Lightning. Lightning in 5.
Tyler: The 2020 Tampa Bay revenge tour is in full swing, starting with their victory over the Blue Jackets. I’ll give Boston credit for looking better against Carolina than I expected, especially after Rask left the bubble, but this is the year of the Lightning. Lightning in 6.
Rob M: Boston had an easier time than previously thought against a real good Carolina club. Tampa finally threw monkey off their back, priming this series to be a good and long one. At the end of the day, Tampa has too much depth and Boston is missing their starting goaltender. Lightning in 7.
Mark: Halak doesn’t have enough to pull through for Boston. Tampa is on a mission. Lightning in 5.
Final Tally: Tampa Bay 8, Boston 0