2017 Eastern Conference First Round Picks

121714-NHL-Pittsburgh-Penguins-Sidney-Crosby-MM-PI.vresize.1200.675.high.65

 

#1 Washington Capitals vs. WC Toronto Maple Leafs

Why the Capitals will win:

The Capitals are the two-time reigning President Trophy winners, and are absolutely loaded from the top to the bottom of their roster. They boast four players in the top 50 in the league for points who contributed to an NHL best +84 points. The next closest team has +57. They also have arguably the league’s best goalie in Braden Holtby who has the second best GAA in the NHL with a GAA of 2.07. Yeah, that is pretty good.

Why the Maple Leafs will win:

The Leafs are fun and they are playing with house money. People expected them to be good eventually, but no one expected them to be good this fast. The three-headed rookie monster of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner have combined for 191 points this year. They will have to play at that level and beyond in order to beat the Capitals

Who will win:

The Leafs are young and fun to watch. All the pressure is on the Capitals but as tempting as it is to pick the up and coming Leafs, the Capitals are just too talented and the backline of the Leafs is too suspect.

Number of games:

5

#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #3 Columbus Blue Jackets

Why the Penguins will win:

The Penguins boast essentially the same roster as the one that they won the Stanley Cup with last year. They have the best player in the world in Sidney Crosby who lead the league in goals and is second in the league with points. But it isn’t just Crosby that makes the Penguins so dangerous, it’s the cast around Crosby in the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. They lost Kris Letang for the rest of the season to a neck injury, and that will significantly hurt them, but the addition of Mark Streit will help a little.

Why the Blue Jackets will win:

Very few expected the Blue Jackets to be here before the season began. A big reason for them being here goes to Sergei Bobrovsky, who is the front-runner to win the Vezina trophy for the second straight year. If the Blue Jackets are going to win Bobrovsky will have to be huge and they will need to get consistent goal scoring from everyone like they have all year.

Who will win:

The Blue Jackets are a nice story but even with a goalie like Bobrovsky, the Penguins are the defending Stanley Cup champions for a reason. The Blue Jackets stumbled across the finish line, winning just one of their last seven games, and the Penguins will just be too much for a team who is not playing their best hockey right now.

Number of games:

5

#1 Montreal Canadians vs. WC New York Rangers

Why the Canadians will win:

The Canadians have Carey Price, who even though he is not statistically the best goalie in the league, many still view him as such. If Carey Price plays at his best the Canadians are the favorites to win this series.

Why the Rangers will win:

The Rangers need to turn this series into a high scoring series if they want to win. The Canadians struggle to score as they rank 15th in the league but the Rangers rank an impressive 4th. The Rangers don’t need an aging Henrik Lundqvist to outduel Carey Price, they just need him not play below average.

Who will win:

The Canadians have home-ice advantage, which almost becomes a wash because the Rangers own the best road record in the NHL. A goalie getting hot is crucial in any playoff series but the Canadians rely too much on the Price. The Rangers will put it out in a grueling series.

Number of games:

6

#2 Ottawa Senators vs. #3 Boston Bruins

Why the Senators will win:

The Senators have also surprised a lot of people this season and are another team not many people think are any good. They will rely on a balanced team effort but a leg they will certainly have to stand on is Erik Karlsson who posted a brilliant 71 points but also blocking 201 shots and a plus minus of +12, which is 22 better than his career average. He will have to big in this series along with goaltender Craig Anderson who has been known to have stolen a playoff game or two in his career.

Why the Bruins will win:

The Bruins have one of the leagues top point getters in Brad Marchand. The combo of Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, who is one of if not the league’s best centers, will need to have a big series. The Bruins blue-line is a little questionable right now, with the health of Torey Krug up in the air and with Brandon Carlo out. Veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara is going to have to log a lot of minutes but if goaltender Tuukka Rask can play his best, it will certainly make things easier on the defensive core.

Who will win:

The Senators won the season series 4-0, but two of those games were one goal games and another was a two goal game with one of those goals being an empty netter. The Bruins seem to be getting hot right now and will pull out a long series win.

Number of games:

7

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s