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NHL Bracket Challenge - With NHL Lines by

Trying to predict the NHL playoff bracket really is for fools. Remember when TSN's monkey out-predicted all their expert analysts?  Learn more about NHL betting for this season.

 But it is fun, and the NHL wants you to do have some fun at

Some sobering information regarding last year's Bracket Challenge, courtesy of a NHL Morning Skate press release:

* More than a half-million brackets were submitted.

* Only 3.9% of brackets correctly predicted the Kings to win the Stanley Cup. The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins had the highest percentage of Stanley Cup votes, with 29.8%.

* There were ZERO “perfect” brackets remaining after the First Round (correctly picking all eight First Round winners AND the correct number of games).

* Only 1,377 brackets (less than 1%) correctly picked all four teams for the Conference Finals.

* Just 2,731 brackets (less than 1%) correctly predicted the Kings would face the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

Sometimes it pays to listen to the expert analysts. Sometimes there are no better analysts than the sports bookies. Play the odds, right? Sometimes it is best to get your own monkey.

This year is so tough. There is no clear favorite, and no really out-of-it underdog. The clock should strike midnight on a couple of Cinderella teams yet every team in the Stanley Cup playoffs has a legitimate shot to go all the way. Some might be longer odds than others, but with a lucky bounce here or an unfortunate injury there anything can happen.

My fruitless predictions? I am going strictly by gut feel. Here we go, but remember I don't pick the number of games, just the winner of each series:

Western Conference:
Vancouver beats Calgary
Anaheim beats Winnipeg
Chicago beats Nashville
St. Louis beats Minnesota

Eastern Conference:
Montreal beats Ottawa
NY Rangers beats Pittsburgh
Washington beats NY Islanders
Tampa Bay beats Detroit

Round Two:
Western Conference:
Anaheim beats Vancouver
Chicago beats St. Louis

Eastern Conference:
Montreal beats Tampa Bay
NY Rangers beats Washington

Round Three

Chicago beats Anaheim
NY Rangers beats Montreal

New York Rangers beats Chicago

I say this with absolutely no certainty and had no fun doing it! Fill out your bracket at staffers have picked their own brackets. Here is the staffers consensus.

Western Conference:
Anaheim beats Winnipeg (11 votes to 3)
Vancouver - Calgary - No Consensus (7-7)
Chicago beats Nashville (12-2)
St. Louis beats Minnesota (8-6)

Eastern Conference:
NY Rangers beats Pittsburgh (13 votes to 1)
Montreal beats Ottawa (8-6)
Tampa Bay beats Detroit (14-0)
Washington beats NY Islanders (11-3)

The staffers only picked the first round, but they do also predict who will win the Stanley Cup:

Chicago (7 votes)
New York Rangers (5 votes)
Montreal (1 vote)
Anaheim (1 vote) staff predictions can be found here. Five of their 13 participants like Chicago to win it all. Four like NY Rangers. St. Louis, Anaheim, Minnesota and Tampa Bay all get single votes.


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