NHL 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview
After almost 5 months from a meaningful game the NHL will resume it's season with an expanded 24 team playoff starting Saturday August 1. The top 4 seeds in each conference will get a bye into the normal 16 team format but they will play a round robin tourney for seedings 1-4. This will give them some game action while seeded teams 5-12 play a best of 5 series. It is a 16 team field . All series will be best of 7 from that point on. In a crazy sports year, 2020 with Covid-19, we will take what we can get. An extra round of the best playoffs in sports won't hurt anybody. So far 0 players have tested positive and many injured players have returned so it should be great hockey. All Western Conference games will be played in Edmonton while East games in Toronto.
EASTERN CONFERENCE (odds to win CUP)
Top 4 Seeds:
Boston Bruins (+550)
Tampa Bay Lightning (+600)
Washington Capitals (+850)
Philadelphia Flyers (10/1)
In the round robin tourney for seeding:
Steven Stamkos -TB status is still unknown coming back from lower body injury
CAPS-Had the best road record in the league which may help on neutral site
Flyers-Carter Hart great at home will be a wildcard while flyers are great on D and can score. They also played well against the top teams in the East this year and were the hottest in NHL before shutdown.
BRUINS-Savvy gritty experienced team will be hard to oust in 7.
Should be great games in round robin. I see TB(1) PHI(2) WSH(3) BOS(4)
#5 Penguins(15/1) vs #12 Canadiens (100/1)
Pens are -240 to win the series and they should win in 3 or 4. Carey Price is a great goalie and may steal a game but the Pens have way too much offense.
Prediction: (Penguins win series 3-1)
#6 Hurricanes (50/1) vs #11 Rangers (50/1)
In a battle of 50/1 longshots I'm going with the Rangers +115 to win the series. The Canes won't have that home ice advantage in Raleigh and the Rangers found a great continuity before the break.
Prediction: (Penguins win series 3-1)
#7 Islanders (50/1) vs #10 Panthers (60/1)
The Islanders are short FAV here as Barry Trotz and Joel Quennville will match wits. Sergei Bobrovsky, the big FA goalie Florida signed, was disappointed he gave up 5 goals in their tuneup game vs TB. The Islanders have a better defense and will get the timely goals in a physical series.
Prediction: (Islanders win series (3-1)
#8 Maple Leafs (12/1) vs Blue Jackets (55/1)
This may be the best series to load up on as the Leafs are -170. Vegas has them at 12/1 while the Jackets are 55/1 that says a lot. Jackets played with pride this year but can't match the Auston Matthews and John Tavares firepower of the Leafs playing on their home ice.
Prediction: (Leafs win 3-0)
WESTERN CONFERENCE (odds to win CUP)
Top 4 seeds
1-St.Louis Blues (+850)
2-Colorado Avalanche (+700)
3-Vegas Golden Knights (+550)
4-Dallas Stars (+12/1)
I see the top 4 seeds staying the same, maybe the top 3 flip flops in some order but Dallas is clearly the 4th best IMO. The Knights may start slow, Blues are battle tested and the Avs have the best pure talent of the 4.
#5 Edmonton Oilers (30/1) vs Chicago Blackhawks (75/1)
The Oilers playing on home ice will play a blackhawks team getting a chance with the expanded playoffs. Plenty of exciting playmakers on these teams bet the Overs. I see the Oilers squeaking out a tough 5 game series led by Connor Mcdavid and Leon Drasatil.
Prediction: (Oilers -165 win series 3-2 )
#6 Nashville Predators(35/1) vs #11 Arizona Coyotes(50/1)
I like the upset in this series Coyotes +115. Rick Tocchet's group led by Taylor Hall and some quality goaltending duo will pull the upset. Coyotes have a new owner and GM and this is a great chance to permeate the franchise. Preds have been underwhelming all year since the trade of PK Subban.
Prediction: (Coyotes win series 3-2)
#7 Vancouver Canucks (35/1) vs Minnesota Wild (55/1)
The Canucks led by young stars Elias Patterson and Quinn Hughes will meet a evenly matched Wild team. This will go either way in a 5 game series. I'm going to go with the Wild here due to some of their Vets and Devan Dubank in net.
Prediction: (Wild +110 in 5)
#8 Calgary Flames (45/1) vs #9 Winnipeg Jets (55/1)
This should be a great series! Johnny Hockey Gaudreau will skate against Patrick Laine. Both goalies have the ability to heat up at the right times.
Prediction: (Jets in 5 +105)
EAST WINNER: Flyers
WEST WINNER: Oilers
STANLEY CUP CHAMPS: OILERS (30/1)
Enjoy our preview and check our Twitter @betvegasnow or website for Free Picks and documented results.
Staff writer: Eddie Brady. This page last updated: 30 July 2020