When trying to re-establish yourself as a respected voice in the hockey world, one key idea to do early is establish your credibility. Show the readers that you know what you're talking about. And the easiest way to do that in hockey is to make a bunch of right calls during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Easy, right?
I went 2 for 8 in the "play in" round.
So much for that.
I only got the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders right. Now, a lot of people got burned when by Pittsburgh and Edmonton in particular. And it really was a crazy round to try to predict, especially with the 4 month layoff. But 2 for 8 is really bad.
So we will just kindly forget all about that, shall we? And we shall try again with the first round of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoffs:
Philadelphia vs Montreal. I'm going with Philly here. They're off to a great start, and I really believe in Alain Vigneault as the coach. Montreal has what it takes to pull of another upset but Philly is just too powerful. Winner: Philadelphia
Tampa Bay vs Columbus. Oh boy. Columbus is a team built for playoff style games. And what is the injury status of Tampa Bay's key defenseman Victor Hedman? I'm going to not overthink this and go with Tampa. They have far more options than Toronto did and will give Columbus more than enough to handle. Winner: Tampa Bay
Washington vs. New York Islanders. This one isn't so easy. Washington has all sorts of experience and could easily prove to the be the team to win the Stanley Cup. But they're off to a slow start. The stifling Islanders could capitalize - pun always intended - on the Caps and pull off the upset. Winner: NY Islanders
Boston vs Carolina. Boston was fantastic in the regular season, but that was a long time ago. They've stumbled out of the gates this summer. Carolina is a better team than most given them credit for and have a fantastic blue line. I'm going to pick Carolina for the mild upset. Winner: Carolina
Vegas vs Chicago: Chicago proved they still have some real nice pieces from their not so distant Stanley Cup years. Toews, Kane, Keith and Crawford can still get it done on any given night. They've also proved they have some nice pieces coming along the pipeline. I especially like Kirby Dach. This team is still a year or two away though, and Vegas is a juggernaut. Winner: Vegas.
Colorado vs Arizona: Colorado appears to be the model team for the new era. So much speed, so much scoring, so much entertainment. Will that translate to playoff success yet? Arizona will be a good test, but at the end of the day there is just too much talent on the Avalanche side. Winner: Colorado
Dallas vs Calgary: There's something about both of these teams that I just don't like. I don't know quite what it is in either case. Because Dallas has the edge at the most important position (goaltending), I'm going with the Stars: Winner: Dallas
St. Louis vs Vancouver: St. Louis is off to a bad start, but you know coach Craig Berube will correct that. The defending Stanley Cup champions know what needs to be done better than any team in the playoffs. Blessed with the four month layoff that will benefit them more than most, the Blues are fresh and will be ready to roll. The Canucks are young and talented. If their power play was clicking like it did during the regular season maybe they'd have a shot here. But as is the Canucks are big underdogs here. Winner: St. Louis
There you have my 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs first round predictions.