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Stanley Cup predictions: Sporting News’ 2021 NHL playoff picks

Stanley Cup predictions: Sporting News' 2021 NHL playoff picks

After a 56-game sprint, the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs are officially here.

Sixteen teams will now hit the ice to fulfill their dreams and drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup in July. Figuring out who the ultimate victor will be is always a crapshoot because, well, that’s what makes the playoffs so spectacular: anyone can win.

With that in mind, Sports Grind Entertainment takes a stab at predicting who will be the last team standing when all is said and done.

MORE: NHL playoff bracket, schedule, scores

Stanley Cup playoffs 2021 predictions

East Division

FIRST ROUNDWINNER
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) New York IslandersNYI in 6
(2) Washington Capitals vs. (3) Boston BruinsBOS in 5

Why the Islanders? Barry Trotz is a mastermind and knows how to win — and he definitely knows how to beat the Penguins. He led the Isles to a sweep of Sidney Crosby and Co. in 2019.

Why the Bruins? The Bruins have solid goaltending, strong defense and scoring punch — led by the “Perfection Line” and a determined Taylor Hall.

NHL PLAYOFFS 2021: East Division series predictions, odds, breakdowns

SECOND ROUNDWINNER
(3) Boston Bruins vs. (4) New York IslandersBOS in 6

Why the Bruins? Pre-Taylor Hall trade, it was all Isles. Post-Taylor Hall trade, it was all Bruins. Hall, by the way, netted four goals in three games as a Bruin vs. the Islanders, including the overtime winner on May 10.

North Division

FIRST ROUNDWINNER
(1) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (4) Montreal CanadiensTOR in 7
(2) Edmonton Oilers vs. (3) Winnipeg JetsEDM in 5

Why the Maple Leafs? Auston Matthews (Rocket Richard Trophy winner), Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Mitch Marner. The Leafs are stacked, and that doesn’t include the defense.

Why the Oilers? Edmonton won the last six meetings between these two clubs by a combined 21-7.

SECOND ROUNDWINNER
(1) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (2) Edmonton OilersTOR in 7

Why the Maple Leafs? It’ll be almost two months since these clubs last met if they face off in the second round, and since the Oilers won in overtime on March 29, Toronto has gone 13-4-4.

How will NHL playoffs work in 2021? Teams, format, bracket for Stanley Cup chase

Central Division

FIRST ROUNDWINNER
(1) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (4) Nashville PredatorsCAR in 5
(2) Florida Panthers vs. (3) Tampa Bay LightningTBL in 6

Why the Hurricanes? Don’t let the two losses to the Predators to close out the season fool you. The Hurricanes rested some key guys and Rod Brind’Amour has his club amped for a deep run.

Why the Lightning? Nikita Kucherov is back.

SECOND ROUNDWINNER
(1) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (3) Tampa Bay LightningCAR in 6

Why the Hurricanes? The Hurricanes are healthy and will grind down the Lightning.

West Division

FIRST ROUNDWINNER
(1) Colorado Avalanche vs. (4) St. Louis BluesCOL in 5
(2) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (3) Minnesota WildVGK in 6

Why the Avalanche? The Presidents’ Trophy-winning club is just too deep for the Blues to handle.

Why the Golden Knights? The Wild will give them a run, backed by Kirill Kaprizov, but the Golden Knights guys know how to turn it up in the postseason.

SECOND ROUNDWINNER
(1) Colorado Avalanche vs. (2) Vegas Golden KnightsVGK in 7

Why the Golden Knights? It’ll be a battle to the very end but the Golden Knights’ goaltending will be the deciding factor.

Stanley Cup semifinals

FIRST ROUNDWINNER
(1) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (4) Boston BruinsVGK in 6
(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (3) Toronto Maple LeafsTOR in 6

Why the Golden Knights? Mark Stone is one of the best two-way centers and will shut down the “Perfection Line.” Oh, and the fact that Vegas is the home of the 2021 William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league.

Why the Maple Leafs? The Leafs are a determined bunch, aiming to right the previous couple of years’ wrongs. Joe Thornton and his epic playoff beard will push this team past the Hurricanes.

Stanley Cup Final

SECOND ROUNDWINNER
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Toronto Maple LeafsVGK in 6
Conn Smythe WinnerMarc-Andre Fleury

Why the Golden Knights? This will be a big-time matchup as the teams have high-octane offenses. As mentioned, the Golden Knights’ goaltending will be a key factor as they aim to shut down the Leafs’ potent power play.

About the author

Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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