NHL Playoffs Round 1 – Picks, Predictions and Stone Cold Locks

The 2013-2014 NHL season has come to an end and it is time for more teams to go home. I am not much of hockey expert, so I enlisted the help of my Math professor and Hockey Expert, Clam. Clam and I sat down and went through all the games. We provided picks for each series, as well as breakdowns for two key series’.

Western Conference: 

Avalanche -135 Vs Wild +11

Before everyone gets all excited about Colorado’s Division Title, lets point out the obvious: It had more to do with the Blues falling apart than it did with the Avs being spectacular. At the end of the day they got the points they needed and they made it happen but they aren’t the best team in the Central. On the other side, before Minnesota fans start in naming all the top clubs that the Wild collected points from in the final stretch keep in mind that the end of the season is the perfect time for those top teams to try new things to get ready for the playoffs.

Things to note:


The Good:

  • They are young and fast
  • They are 4-0-1 against the  Wild this season.
  • MacKinnon has two game winners against the Wild
  • Varlmov posting the most wins in the NHL (even breaking Coach Roy’s record), has faced the most shots and has the most saves in the league with the 3rd highest SV% (.927)

The bad:

  • Duchene is out for at least the first two games of the series (Not sure that will matter though)
  • Colorado’s defensive is their weak point.
  • The lack of playoff experience could be problematic.


The Good:

  • They have added depth to their roster since these two teams last met.
  • They have collected the most points in all of the NHL when trailing in the 3rd

The Bad:

  • Goal-tending issues. How many goaltenders does it take…

Bottom Line:

  • The Avs can win at home, they can win on the road.
  • The Avs have found it in them to still win without Dutchy.
  • The Wild will make it two years in a row falling short in round one


Avalanche in 5.

Rest of the Conference: 

St. Louis Blues -115 Vs Chicago Blackhawks -105: Pick: CHI

Anaheim Ducks -185 Vs Dallas Stars +160: Pick: ANA

San Jose Sharks -145 Vs L.A. Kings +125 : Pick: LAK

Eastern conference: 

Tampa Bay Lighting (2) VS Montreal Canadians (3)


This is going to be an interesting series. These teams met four times in the season and three of the four went into extra time and two of those into a shootout. The one game (on April 1 in Tampa) that didn’t go to overtime was 2-1 until an empty netter pushed the Bolts 3-1 over the Canadians.
Canadians came up short hoping for home ice, but that may not be such a bad thing for them considering the 2-1 SO win (on December 28)  came with Tampa skating at home.

Historical note: The only time these two teams have met in the postseason was 2004 in round two. Tampa went on to win the cup that year.

Things to note:


The Good:

  • They are young, fast, and have winning experience together.
  • They are 3-0-1 against the Canadians this season.
  • Stankos is healthy and skating at the top of his game.

The bad:

  • Bishop (who played all four games) is hurt with no word on if he will skate.
  • Lindback (.891 SV%. 2.90 GAA) is less than ideal to take Bishop’s place.
  • Hedman can only skate so many minutes.


The Good:

  • Price is on top of his game putting up .956 SV% and 1.41 GAA against Bolts and .953 SV% in his last 5 starts
  • Vanek, Decharnais, Pacioretly line has racked up 18 G and 23 A in 14 games together.
  • 2nd and 3rd line are strong offensively.

The Bad:

  • ??

Bottom Line:

  • AHL playoffs are not the same as NHL playoffs.
  • With the two teams this close, Bishop missing even one game could be enough to sink the Bolts.
  • Lindback can’t hold the Canadians’ offensive power.
  • Price will keep the Bolts to a low score.


Canadians in 5.

Boston Bruins -300 vs Detroit Redwings: +250 Pick: BOS ( I would stay away because if Detroit is one thing, its playoff-unpredictable.)

Pittsburgh Penguins -275 VS Columbus Blue Jackets +227 : Pick: PIT

Philadelphia Flyers +135 VS New York Rangers -160 : Pick: PHI