The quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup is soon to begin — and there’s no better NHL hockey than playoff hockey. It’s fast, intense, and physical —and winning the 16 games necessary to raise The Cup is no simple task.
Last year’s NHL Playoffs were ripe with extraordinary storylines, from the Vegas Golden Knights getting all the way to the finals in their inaugural year to finally seeing one of the game’s greats — Alex Ovechkin — lead the Washington Capitals to glory. While Washington and Vegas appear to be shoe-ins for the 2019 NHL postseason, there are plenty of other teams to keep an eye on. The Tampa Bay Lightning, for instance, have already clinched the best regular season record of all NHL teams. And don’t sleep on Boston, Winnipeg, or Nashville. Here’s a look at our NHL predictions and playoff picks.
Top 2019 NHL Playoffs Headlines to Watch
These are the storylines to keep an eye on heading into the NHL’s postseason:
- Can Carolina keep the good vibes going? The Hurricanes have been a treat to watch this year, and so have their annual post-game celebrations after home wins. Can they make some noise in the postseason too?
- Will Toronto pull through? Though it’s been an up-and-down year, Toronto stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares make them a major postseason threat.
- Can the Capitals repeat? It’s really hard to win The Cup in back-to-back years. Before Pittsburgh did it in 2016 and 2017, the last team to do so was the 1997 and 1998 Red Wings. The odds aren’t in the Caps’ favor, but with Ovechkin and the goaltending of Braden Holtby, you never know.
Our 2019 NHL Playoffs Picks
Sorry, but we don’t foresee a Vegas vs. Washington rematch. We’re going to go with the hottest team of the regular season, Tampa Bay, to make it to the finals from the East. From the Western Conference, Nashville has our vote.
And as for our 2019 NHL Champion? Give us the Tampa Bay Lighting. With so much offensive firepower and stout defensive play, they’re going to be tough to beat.
Image Source: ESPN