Oilersnation Roundtable: Predictions for the first round of the NHL playoffs
By Cam Lewis7 months ago
It all begins tonight!
The Edmonton Oilers will kick off the 2023 playoff as they host the Los Angeles Kings for Game 1 of their first-round series. Below are our predictions for how the first round will go…
Out West, I’m going with the Oilers to win in six games, which is actually not that optimistic when you compare it to what some experts around the league are saying. I think LA is going to put up a really good fight though. I have the Avalanche beating the Kraken in four straight. I don’t think the Kraken can keep up with the firepower of Nathan MacKinnon and the Avs have a big goaltending advantage. The Stars beat the Wild in seven, it’ll be tight but the Stars have the better goalie and I give them a slight advantage when it comes to their forward group and blueline. My big upset pick is the Jets beating the Golden Knights in six games. It’ll be the Connor Hellebuyck show.
In the Eastern Conference, I think the Panthers will actually push the Bruins and bring it to seven games, but Boston will hold on and win the series. I have the Leafs knocking off the Bolts in six games, which they were one OT goal away from doing last season. I have the Canes beating the Islanders in seven games as well. Whichever one advances will be done in the second round in my opinion. I also have the Rangers beating the Devils in six games before going all the way to the Cup Final to meet the Oilers. I love the way that this Rangers team is built.
For the Western Conference, I predict that the Avs will beat the Kraken, the Stars will beat the Wild, the Golden Knights will beat the Jets, and the Oilers will beat the Kings. In the Eastern Conference, I figure the Bruins will beat the Panthers, the Lightning will beat the Leafs, the Rangers will beat the Devils, and the Islanders will beat the Canes.
There are quite a few underdog upsets that could happen in the first round of the playoffs. After what happened with the Lightning in 2019, I wonder about Boston considering they’ve been in cruise control while the Panthers have been in playoff mode for weeks. I also wonder about Colorado with their injuries and overall fatigue coming into a series with a quietly very solid Seattle team.
But the upset that stands out to me is the Islanders over the Hurricanes, two teams separated by 20 points in the standings. Carolina is missing Andrei Svechnikov and their goaltending leaves quite a bit to be desired. Ilya Sorokin can certainly steal a series for the NYI.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
In the Western Conference, I’m thinking the Oilers are going to face off against the Colorado Avalanche again for the Western Conference Final with our boys coming out on top in the rematch. To get there, the Oilers will beat the Kings and Jets, while the Avalanche will handle the Kraken and Wild. Put another way, I think the cream rises to the top in the west.
In the Eastern Conference, I’d love to see the Florida Panthers upset the Boston Bruins in the first round because it would be hilarious after the amazing season Boston just had. As much as I also think it would be funny for the Leafs to lose in the first round to Tampa, I actually think this is the year Toronto gets through and into the second round. As for the Eastern Conference Final? I’m thinking it will be Carolina vs. Rangers with the Hurricanes coming out on top.
That leaves the Stanley Cup Final of Edmonton vs. Carolina and we win the revenge tour rematch. Plan the parade, folks.
It’s playoff time, folks!
In the first round, I got the Oilers beating the Kings, the Jets beating the Golden Knights, the Stars beating the Wild and the Avalance toppling the Kraken. I think Vegas has a good shot to win that series, but I like the edge the Jets have in net. That’s a difference-maker to me.
Out of the east, I have the Panthers will a major upset over the Bruins in the first round. I think it’ll go seven games, but I like the potential upset here, doubly so considering the Bruins are dealing with some kind of illness. The Lightning beat the Leafs, of course, and the Hurricanes beat the Isladners in the first round. I think New York makes it close especially with Sorokin in net, but I see the Hurricanes coming out at the end of the day. Lastly, gimme the Devils over the Rangers. New York are frauds.
In the second round, I have Colorado over Dallas and Edmonton over Winnipeg, with the Oilers beating the Avs in the finals. Out east, the Hurricanes beat the Devils and the Lightning topple the Panthers, as Carolina advances to the finals.
In a rematch of the 2006 finals, the Oilers manage to come out on top.
What say you, Nation? What are your predictions for the first round of this year’s playoffs? Which underdog do you think is most likely to come out on top?
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