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If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 13

Blackhawks vs Penguins: Week 13's prediction for the Stanley Cup

Just one week remains in the season, and there’s still plenty left to play. The unfortunate events surround the Boston Marathon and the week after have forced the Bruins to postpone two games, in turn forcing the Penguins and Sabres to postpone a game. That leaves Boston with six games games to play between now and a week from Sunday, especially leaving them with plenty of influence on their division and the top seeds. The playoff teams are starting to come into picture, though Winnipeg, Detroit and Dallas all have legitimate chances of breaking into the bracket on the final week. With that and the placement of seeds very much up for grabs, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Saturday, April 20 at 1:00pm:

West

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus has worked hard to make it to #8, but the price of doing so is two games out of hand over #9 Detroit. Especially with Chicago‘s seven-game winning streak and 10-game point streak, Chicago has the obvious advantage.

#2 Anaheim Ducks vs #7 Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is a good #7 right now, but they’re having trouble getting competitive for spots #3-#6 right now. Anaheim‘s abilities will give them troubles.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 St Louis Blues

Those middle four spots are a logjam right now, with St Louis only a point behind Vancouver (good thing for the Canucks they lead a division). The Canucks have had a tough time in their last four games, while the Blues have won three straight, including a shootout victory over Vancouver. In fact, the Blues are 9-2-0 in their last 11. With the Blues gaining steam, don’t be surprised to see them upset the powerful Canucks.

#4 Los Angeles Kings vs #5 San Jose Sharks

Both teams are so close, tied with 55 points, but with Los Angeles having an extra win. Both teams are still sub-standard on the road, which will hurt them eventually. This should be a very close series, but perhaps four games at home will be what eventually pushes the defending champs over the Sharks.

East

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #8 New York Rangers

The Rangers are getting better, but they simply have a long way to go to be considered as a match for Pittsburgh.

#2 Montreal Canadiens vs #7 New York Islanders

Similarly, the Islanders are also getting better as we approach the postseason, but they’re still the only team in the brackets right now with a losing home record. Montreal has done very well all season long to hold off the Bruins and rack up the points themselves. They shouldn’t have terribly much trouble dispatching the Islanders, who haven’t been a playoff team since 2007.

#3 Washington Capitals vs #6 Ottawa Senators

Washington‘s eight-game winning streak is over, and it was Ottawa that ended it. Still, Ottawa needed home ice to pick up the win, their only win over a playoff team in their four-game winning streak. Washington still has the advantage over Ottawa, especially with the Senators’ poor road record.

#4 Boston Bruins vs #5 Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto is a powerful team, but their defense is porous at best. Boston may have lost their last three games, but they still have given up just 94 goals, and have been a major obstacle for Toronto in the last several years.

Predicted Final Standings:

East #1 Penguins
#2 Canadiens
#3 Capitals
#4 Bruins
#5 Maple Leafs
#6 Islanders
#7 Rangers
#8 Senators
West #1 Blackhawks
#2 Ducks
#3 Canucks
#4 Kings
#5 Sharks
#6 Blues
#7 Wild
#8 Red Wings

Predicted First Round Results:

East
Penguins def Senators Canadiens def Rangers Capitals def Islanders Bruins def Maple Leafs
West
Blackhawks def Red Wings Ducks def Wild Blues def Canucks Kings def Sharks

Predicted Second Round Results:

East
Penguins def Bruins Canadiens def Capitals
West
Blackhawks def Blues Ducks def Kings

Predicted Third Round Results:

East
Penguins def Canadiens
West
Blackhawks def Ducks

Predicted Stanley Cup Finals Results:

Penguins def Blackhawks

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