The fake playoffs are over. They were stupid, except for when Toronto was sad. Here now come the real playoffs. Let’s embed that one tweet.
why watch overtime playoff hockey when you can simply snort cocaine and ride a motorcycle out of a helicopter
— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) April 17, 2014
Let’s do predictions.
First, you know Keith, a coin?
(Pictured: Keith I, whom I lost)
Keith, a Coin, II, is a 1990 quarter minted in Pennsylvania. Keith II was lost for some time, so his son Keith III inherited his lands and titles, to the woe of the peasants. But now Keith II is back, and he’s gonna I dunno kill his son or something. It’s a lot of work to invent a feudal backstory about a quarter. Anyway, he is right about half of the time.
Peter: I think Chicago is massively outclassed here. And now that the Knights are getting good results out of Lehner, I think their biggest weakness (MAF) is mitigated. Knights in 6.
Ian: Welcome to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs where nothing makes sense and everything is dumb. The Blackhawks shocked the NHL when they upset the Edmonton Oilers in the play-in round. The old guard of Kane, Toews, and Keith will continue to play well while the emergence of rookie forward Dominik Kubalik will put Chicago over the top. Hawks in 6.
Keith, a coin: Hawks.
Peter: I’m a big believer in the Avs. I think they play the right way, and I think they match up very favorably against the Yotes. Avs in 5.
Ian: The Avs are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the league — perhaps the best — but we’re not living in reality, we’re living in the Upside Down. The Coyotes, inspired by the rage-quitting of their former GM, will get huge performances out of Phil Kessel, Taylor Hall, and Clayton Keller. Coyotes in 7.
Keith, a coin: Coyotes.
Peter: I don’t care much about this series. I hear Seguin is hurt, and I was going to pick Calgary anyway. Flames in 6.
Ian: This series is a complete toss-up as both teams play the same brand of hockey, at least in my head. I’m leaning towards Calgary so let’s go… Stars in 6.
Keith, a coin: Stars.
Peter: I’m astonished that some of these teams made it to the first round. I know the Canucks are on the upswing, but they’re still pretenders to the throne to me. Blues in 6.
Ian: The Vancouver Canucks scored 12 goals in three games after getting dry-sheeted by the Minnesota Wild. The Couv, led by their young guns in Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Quinn Hughes, will upset the Stanley Cup champion Blues in Round One BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW THAT GOES. When you’ve got Jay Beagle, you’ve got leadership (and defensive-zone faceoff wins) in spades. Canucks in 6.
Keith, a coin: Blues.
Peter: Barry vs Todd. I cannot wait. I think DC pulled the best opponent they could in the first round, and for that reason I am magically no longer bitter about the round robin. Caps in 6.
Ian: The Washington Capitals looked terrible in the round-robin – listless and disinterested at times. I’m sure they’ll find another gear against the Islanders. Unfortunately, I remember the months December through March, even though it feels like it happened 75 years ago, and I think Barry Trotz will exploit the Capitals’ poor defense and penalty-taking. Despite a Herculean effort from Braden Holtby, the Capitals will fall in the first round for the second consecutive season, raising uncomfortable questions in the offseason. Islanders in 6.
Keith, a coin: Islanders.
Peter: Ack, this one is tough. Both of these teams are excellent. If Dougie Hamilton is truly back and 100 percent, then I’d probably go Canes, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Boston was too good for too much of this season for me to doubt them. Bruins in 7.
Ian: Another team that looked terrible in the round-robin was the Boston Bruins and I’m not sure what to make of it. That terribleness won them a date with a rolling Carolina Hurricanes team, who is perhaps one of the best-built for playoff hockey. This appears to be Justin Williams’ last dance in the NHL and I think the Canes will be one of the most difficult outs in the loffs. Hurricanes in 4.
Keith, a coin: Bruins.
Peter: Everyone think it’s the Flyers year. I’m inclined to feel the same way, but Carey Price might have something to say about it. Upset special: Habs in 6.
Ian: Jeff Petry, who is not a goal-scorer, essentially eliminated the Penguins by himself in the play-in round, after the defenseman scored two unlikely game-winners. That magic is absolutely going to run out against the Flyers, who are less hockey team and more buzzsaw. Flyers in 5.
Keith, a coin: Habs.
Peter: I love this series! It’s a rematch of the first-round sweep that humiliated the Bolts and turned the all-in Blue Jackets into dragonslayers. Now Lumbus is back with way less talent, and yet somehow they’re still a damn good team. Meanwhile, Stamkos is hurt and Hedman is iffy. Blue Jackets in 7.
Ian: The Lightning are coming apart at the seams. Everyone is hurt, yet, when revenge is in the air, there is motivation unseen. The Bolts might only win one series in the playoffs this year, but this will be the one. Lightning in 6.
Keith, a coin: Blue Jackets.
Share your picks below. Do “Team in # of games” so it’s easier to read for a grumpus like me.
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