NHL Playoff Predictions: First Round

The NHL regular season is complete. Here’s your guide for the first round match ups, set to begin this week.

Minnesota Wild versus Winnipeg Jets

This match up features the second and third place finishers in the Central Division. Winnipeg won three of the last four meetings between the teams and have a +30 to +16 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. They are also “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator, while Minnesota is “ice cold down”.  Winnipeg is tied for eighth in Team Volatility and won nine of their last ten games heading into the post season. Given that and their dominance over the Wild this season, the Jets should win this series easily. I pick Winnipeg in five games.

Philadelphia Flyers versus Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins and the Flyers finished second and third in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh has won the last three battles between the teams and hold a +19 to +17 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator. Both teams won their last two regular season games and the Flyers are “average” on the Team Strength Oscillator versus “average down” for the Penguins. Although two relatively evenly matched teams, the edge goes to Pittsburgh, who are tied for fifth in Team Volatility.  In what should be a good series, Pittsburgh wins in 6 or 7.

Los Angeles Kings versus Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights won the Pacific Division, while the Kings enter as the top wild card.  The teams split the season season and the Kings hold a slight +27 to +25 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator. This is due to their better play of late, as indicated by their “burning hot” status versus “average” on the Team Strength Oscillator.  If the season series is any indication, this will be a long series. The Kings could be an upset pick, but I think Vegas takes this one in 7.

New Jersey Devils versus Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay enters as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the Devils are the number two wild card team. Despite the big difference team records, New Jersey won the last three meetings. Both teams are “burning hot” with Tampa Bay holding a +28 to +23 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. This could be the series to pick the underdog. I will go out on a limb and pick the Devils to take down the Lightning in a seven-game battle.

Toronto Maple Leafs versus Boston Bruins

In a battle between the second and third place teams in the Atlantic Division, Toronto took the season series 3 games to 1. The Bruins hold a +28 to +20 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and “average” to “average down” on the Team Strength Oscillator. An important thing to note is that the Maple Leafs are tied for eighth in Team Volatility. Since the Bruins have home ice, this bodes well for those picking the Bruins. Look for Boston to win this series in six tightly fought games.

Columbus Blue Jackets versus Washington Capitals

Washington enters as the winners of the Metropolitan Division, while Columbus holds the first wild card position. The Capitals appear to hold a clear advantage in this one. They won three of the four meetings this season and have a +26 to +15 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. Both teams have played will over their last ten, Washington going 8-2 and Columbus going 6-2-2.  The Capitals are 28-11-2 at home, while the Blue Jackets are barely at .500 on the road. In what shouldn’t be much of a contest, the Capitals will win this one in five.

San Jose Sharks versus Anaheim Ducks

This battle features the second and third place finishers in the Pacific Division. Anaheim has won their last five games and hold a +24 to +19 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator. They are also “burning hot” versus “ice cold down” for the Sharks. Despite what appears to be an advantage for the Ducks, the Sharks have Anaheim’s number this year, taking three of the four meetings. The teams had nearly identical regular season records, so what the edge shown on the indicators is more for the recent hot streak for the Ducks. San Jose could win this, but momentum means a lot and the Ducks have it. Anaheim should win this one in six or seven.

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