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First Round Predictions
The Stanley Cup playoffs are here as this tournament is usually unpredictable. The Penguins have hoisted the Cup each of the last two seasons, while the Predators surprised the league by entering as a Wild Card as reaching the Cup Final.

Our stable of handicappers will provide series predictions throughout the playoffs as well as analysis on their selections.

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Expert Scott Rickenbach believes the title run will end for Pittsburgh early, “I find it interesting that the Penguins (the two-time defending champions) are only a 2 to 1 favorite over the Flyers in the first round. 2 to 1 odds seem awfully low considering the Penguins not only are going for 3 straight Stanley Cup titles, they also won all the match-ups with the Flyers this season. However, 2 of those games went past regulation and I expect a boost for the Flyers here as they got goalie Brian Elliott back late in the season. He and Philly earned back to back wins including a shutout in the final game of the regular season and Elliott's return was big.”

Out west, handicapper Stephen Nover sees the miracle run for Vegas coming to a stop, "I think there is value getting a plus price with the Kings. The Golden Knights were the story of the regular season. But the Stanley Cup playoffs are an entirely different animal that the expansion Golden Knights have not experienced. The Kings are the type of hard-checking, veteran team with good goalies that can bother Vegas. Los Angeles gave up the fewest goals per game in the NHL and also ranked No. 1 in penalty killing. Having Jeff Carter back is huge for LA. The Kings were 17-10 this season with Carter on the ice.”

From an upset perspective, money leader Matt Fargo predicts Toronto knocking out Boston, “Of all the first round NHL series, this has the potential to be the biggest upset. Toronto matches up well with Boston as it caught a break with the Bruins losing in the final regular season game. This is the best season Toronto has ever had which is saying something considering the franchise is 100 yards old. Only Tampa Bay and Winnipeg had more goals than the Maple Leafs this season as they averaged 3.29 gpg. Defensively, they are not as strong as Boston, but they allowed only 10 goals in the four meetings, three of which were won by Toronto.”

Below are each analyst’s predictions for all eight opening round series:

Eastern Conference
Matchup ASA Ben Burns Bill Marzano Bruce Marshall Doc's Sports Gary Bart Joe Williams Kevin Rogers Kyle Hunter Matt Fargo Scott Rickenbach Stephen Nover
WSH vs. CLB Washington Capitals
4-1
Washington Capitals
4-2
Washington Capitals
4-2
Columbus Blue Jackets
4-2
Columbus Blue Jackets
4-2
Columbus Blue Jackets
4-2
Washington Capitals
4-3
Washington Capitals
4-1
Washington Capitals
4-2
Washington Capitals
4-3
Columbus Blue Jackets
4-3
Washington Capitals
4-3
TB vs. NJ Tampa Bay Lightning
4-2
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-0
New Jersey Devils
4-3
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-2
New Jersey Devils
4-3
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-0
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning
4-0
PIT vs. PHI Pittsburgh Penguins
4-3
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-1
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-2
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-3
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-3
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-2
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-3
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-1
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-1
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-1
Philadelphia Flyers
4-2
Pittsburgh Penguins
4-2
BOS vs. TOR Toronto Maple Leafs
4-2
Boston Bruins
4-3
Boston Bruins
4-3
Boston Bruins
4-1
Toronto Maple Leafs
4-3
Boston Bruins
4-2
Toronto Maple Leafs
4-2
Toronto Maple Leafs
4-1
Boston Bruins
4-3
Toronto Maple Leafs
4-2
Toronto Maple Leafs
4-3
Toronto Maple Leafs
4-3
Western Conference
Matchup ASA Ben Burns Bill Marzano Bruce Marshall Doc's Sports Gary Bart Joe Williams Kevin Rogers Kyle Hunter Matt Fargo Scott Rickenbach Stephen Nover
NSH vs. COL Nashville Predators
4-0
Nashville Predators
4-0
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-0
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-2
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-1
Nashville Predators
4-1
VGK vs. LAK Los Angeles Kings
4-3
Los Angeles Kings
4-2
Vegas Golden Knights
4-3
Vegas Golden Knights
4-3
Los Angeles Kings
4-2
Los Angeles Kings
4-2
Los Angeles Kings
4-3
Vegas Golden Knights
4-3
Los Angeles Kings
4-3
Los Angeles Kings
4-3
Los Angeles Kings
4-2
Los Angeles Kings
4-2
WPG vs. MIN Winnipeg Jets
4-3
Winnipeg Jets
4-3
Winnipeg Jets
4-2
Minnesota Wild
4-3
Winnipeg Jets
4-1
Winnipeg Jets
4-2
Winnipeg Jets
4-1
Winnipeg Jets
4-2
Winnipeg Jets
4-2
Winnipeg Jets
4-2
Minnesota Wild
4-2
Winnipeg Jets
4-3
ANH vs. SJ Anaheim Ducks
4-3
Anaheim Ducks
4-3
Anaheim Ducks
4-3
Anaheim Ducks
4-3
Anaheim Ducks
4-2
San Jose Sharks
4-3
Anaheim Ducks
4-1
San Jose Sharks
4-3
San Jose Sharks
4-3
Anaheim Ducks
4-3
San Jose Sharks
4-3
San Jose Sharks
4-2


  
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