The 2013-2014 NHL regular season has come to an end. 16 of the 30 teams have qualified for the playoffs.
The following match-ups are now set:
The Bruins are the Presidents’ Trophy winners with the best regular season record in the NHL this year. However, Red Wings are 3-1 against the Bruins this season. However, the Bruins are 4-3 in postseason series against the Red Wings. The Bruins won the 1941 Stanley Cup by beating the Red Wings in 4 games. The Red Wings won their Semi-Finals match-up in 1942 and beat the Bruins in 1943 for the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings won a seven game series in 1945, while the Bruins won their first round match-ups in 1946, 1953, and 1957.
I see the Red Wings winning the series in 7 games.
The Penguins won all 5 games they met up this season. This is the first time the two teams have met up in the postseason. Led by Sydney Crosby, expect the Penguins to win in 6 games.
The Lightning won the season series 3-1. The Lightning won the only postseason match-up between the two teams in 2004 during the Conference Semifinals. Expect the Canadiens, who are the last Canadian team to win the Cup, to win in 6 games.
The season series was tied at 2-2. The teams have met 10 times before in the postseason, with the Flyers winning 6 of those series, including the last three series between the teams. I see the Rangers coming out ahead in 7 games.
The Ducks are the best team in the Western Conference, finishing 3 points behind the Bruins for the Presidents’ Trophy. The Stars won the season series 2-1. The 2 teams have met twice before in the postseason with the Ducks winning 4 games to 2 in the 2003 Western Semifinals, and Stars winning 4 games to 2 in the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals. I would expect the Ducks to prevail in 6 games.
The Avalanche won the season series 3-1. The teams have met twice before, the Wild won a 7 game series in 2003, and the Avalanche won a 6 game series in 2008. Both those meetings also took place in the first round. Expect the Avalanche to win in 6 games.
The Kings won the season series 3-2. The teams have won one series each, the Sharks winning a 6 game series in the first round back in 2011 and the Kings in a 7 game series in last year’s Conference Semifinal. Expect the Sharks to win in 6 games.
The Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Blues won the season series 3-2. The Blackhawks have won 7 postseason series in 10 postseason meetings. The Blackhawks will likely win in 7 games.
So, in a nutshell, here are the teams I expect to make it to the second round:
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
San Jose Sharks
So let’s see what happens.