April 12, 2017

Our official NHL playoff picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

With the official Postmedia Network NHL playoff picks coming out today, there was little surprise that I was asked to make mine for our papers – probably because I refer to the sport by its proper name of ice hockey.

So, we’ll have to post them here, and I’ll even share some of my limited knowledge about each first-round series.

For the record, in our pre-season preview, I got four out eight Eastern Conference playoff teams and five out of eight teams from the West. And, in fairness, my Presidents’ Trophy pick of Tampa would’ve been a lot better if Steven Stamkos hadn’t missed most of the season.


Blue Jackets over Penguins in 6

Sid the Kid and Co. obviously have the experience as defending champs, but the Jackets are capable of going on blindingly hot runs and have perhaps the best goalie in the league in Sergei Bobrovsky in net.

Canadiens over Rangers in 5

Henrik Lundqvist tends to come up small in the playoffs. The Canadiens aren’t the most exciting team, but they can grind out victories and Carey Price can be unbeatable at times.

Bruins over Senators in 7

I don’t like the long-term forecast for the Sens. The things that teams step up in playoffs (shot-blocking, intensity, grinding out close wins) are things that that they have been playing all season. Ottawa lacks that extra gear and also real top scoring threats up front. Boston’s defence is banged up, but can work through it.

Leafs over Caps in 7

If we’ve learned anything about the past year of sports, it’s that teams of destiny, teams breaking curses and overall craziness is very much in the cards. If you don’t think the young, feisty Leafs can shock the very upset-prone Caps, you’re insane.


Blackhawks over Preds in 5

Plain and simple: The Hawks didn’t win it last year, so they’ll do it this year. I also have my doubts about P.K. Subban as a gritty playoff performer.

Wild over Blues in 7

St. Louis traded away one of their better defencemen at the deadline and went on to make the playoffs anyway. The Wild is another team capable of getting really hot thanks to its defence and goaltending. It should be close, but Minnesota moves on. Although, the Blues could be a team of destiny, ending their 50-year title drought.

Oilers over Sharks in 6

San Jose is just too old to keep up with the high-flying, young Oilers. This playoffs could be the Connor McDavid show, exposing the future superstar to any fan in the U.S. that hasn’t seen him light it up.

Ducks over Flames in 5

The Flames are an after-thought in their own province thanks to McDavid and Co. And they won’t be getting much attention with the Ducks likely to run over them, either.

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