The best couple weeks of professional mens hockey begin tonight as the whatever-we’re-calling-the-first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs kicks off. But before the loffs can truly begin, we must first consult the oracle of the ages, a coin that magically correctly guesses the winner of playoff series about half the time.
Also me and Ian are doing our predictions.
Have you met Keith?
Keith, a Coin, is a 2002 quarter minted in Pennsylvania. He knows eff all about hockey but he is still right about half of the time, which is the very belabored point of this whole bit.
Our results will appear in the table below, using the universally understood 🚽/🌮 score-keeping system.
Peter: I think I’ll have the Avs going all the way to the Cup final if they’ll let me. They’ve probably the most fun team in the league right now, and I’m angry that we’ve had so little opportunity to watch them this season. Colorado in 6.
Ian: The Avs have a likely MVP finalist (Nathan MacKinnon), one of the best goalies in the league (Philipp Grubauer), and a deep crew of stars including Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, Gabe Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, and our nephew Andrew Burakovsky. How could you really pick against them? Colorado in 5.
Keith, a coin: Colorado.
Peter: Dean Evason’s Wild squad has been so easy to sleep on. Once they traded away Jason Zucker, I was one of those sleepers and I was wrong. In addition to their still-awesome puck control, they’ve added some top-end scoring from rookie Kirill Kaprizov (27 goals in 55 games). I still wish Holtby had signed here last summer. Minnesota in 6.
Ian: Vegas just missed out on winning the Presidents’ Trophy, which means they won’t be saddled with the cosmic bad luck that is likely awaiting the Avalanche in later rounds. Minnesota has a plucky young team, but they won’t be able to contain Vegas’s firepower. Vegas in 6.
Keith, a coin: Vegas.
Peter: Finallyyyyyyyy these two teams I don’t think about much or care about much will face each other in the postseason. Again, this is way harder for me than it should be because I’ve been had blinders on for anything except the East. Anyway, Toronto has a ton of scoring talent and meh goaltending. Montreal has a ton of possession talent but bad goaltending. Toronto in 6.
Ian: Auston Matthews is having a career year and it will continue in the postseason. This seems like it should be a long series, but it won’t. Toronto in 4.
Keith, a coin: Toronto.
Peter: Wow, Edmonton got a gift in a couple ways here. They’re not a very deep team and generally kinda trash whenever McDavid’s not on the ice. But McDavid is about to enter loffs mode, and Dave Tippett is going to play him like 69 minutes per game. Meanwhile, Winnipeg isn’t very good either, but as long as you’re better than Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver in the north, you get a ticket to the dance this year. Edmonton in 6.
Ian: Connor McDavid, the second best Connor Mc in hockey, scored 104 points in 55 games this season. He’s found another gear in his game and that’s scary. Edmonton in 6.
Keith, a coin: Edmonton.
Peter: Yet another thing I was wrong about this season: the Predators made the postseason. When Roman Josi got hurt in March, I thought that was it. But then the Stars nosedived even harder, and now Nashville has the honor of being chum for a really good Hurricanes team. Carolina in 6.
Ian: Imagine a Peter Laviolette-coached Caps team against a Filip Forsberg-led Predators team. This is my dream of this year’s postseason. Nashville in 6.
Keith, a coin: Carolina.
Peter: Could this, at long last, become a fun-to-watch rivalry? I have absolutely no idea. The Panthers have been Actually Good all season but maybe could use more goal-scoring. The Bolts have been banged up, but both Hedman and Stamkos are supposedly good to go. (The Stamkos thing seems kinda sus to me…) Gimme Tampa in 6.
Ian: Repeating as champions is hard (see the 2019 Capitals). The Panthers have been incredible this year and they are a deep team when playing well. I’m going with the pseudo-upset here. Florida in 7.
Keith, a coin: Tampa.
Peter: The dirty little secret of the East is that Barry Trotz’s Islanders have been playing like trash lately, earning just four regulation wins in the last month (14 games). I think Pittsburgh is a deeply imperfect team as well, but they’ve got Sid, and that counts for a lot. Pittsburgh in 7.
Ian: This is my meteor series. It’s hard to pick between two teams I hate, but I think Barry Trotz will frustrate and system-to-death the Penguins to death in a huge upset. New York in 6.
Keith, a coin: Pittsburgh.
Peter: I’ve made a lot of noise about the Caps drawing the short straw here. The Bruins’ top-six forwards are impossibly good, and as a team they’ve been virtually unbeatable in the last month. But the Caps have Daniel Sprong so Washington in 7. Screw it. Let’s go.
Ian: Everybody’s picking the Bruins in this series and I’m really confused about it. The Capitals are a deeper team and while Vitek Vanecek isn’t a top-tier goalie, he is serviceable and for this team, that’s enough. The Capitals are in the first year of the Laviolette plan where those teams typically overperform and go deep in the loffs. The Caps have a fresh Alex Ovechkin. They’ve playing focused system hockey all year long. I actually don’t think this series will be close. Washington in 5.
Keith, a coin: Washington.
Share your picks below. Do Team in # of games so it’s easier to read for a grumpus like Peter.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.