YEAR OF THE UPSET?
That just about sums it up from the 1st Round, as just about every team that was favoured to win and go deep - lost. All 4 division winners got knocked out, and just 3 of the 8 teams with home-ice advantage got bounced out and will be watching the rest of the playoffs at home. So now we have a brand new NHL with an 8-team tournament to win something called the Stanley Cup. I guess that's why the game is won on the ice and not on paper. Once again here is a preview and predictions, for whatever it's worth.
CENTRAL DIVISION FINAL
3. St. Louis Blues vs 4. Dallas Stars
Although neither team is particularly deep up front and both squads are top-heavy, it's a great pair of defence corps amongst the best in the league. This also pits probably the 2 hottest goaltenders in the league right now going head-to-head, with Jordan Binnington and Ben Bishop. This is close, but I give the nod to the veteran who has been here before.
ARMCHAIR GM LINE: STARS in 6
PACIFIC DIVISION FINAL
2. San Jose Sharks vs 5. Colorado Avalanche
The Sharks may be the only true contender still alive, and definitely the only one left in the West. The Avalanche proved they are better than most projected heading into these playoffs, but in this case you gotta go with the team that is deeper and has a lot more playoff experience up and down the roster.
ARMCHAIR GM LINE: SHARKS in 6
ATLANTIC DIVISION FINAL
2. Boston Bruins vs 5. Columbus Blue Jackets
I don't have much to say here, except for that it was a missed opportunity for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Having gone all in with trading two years worth of draft picks just to do something that they as a franchise were the only team in the league had never done which is win a playoff round, Columbus has already won their Stanley Cup. It's back to reality now.
ARMCHAIR GM LINE: Bruins in 5
METROPOLITAN DIVISION FINAL
2. New York Islanders vs 4. Carolina Hurricanes
Where's Crosby vs Ovechkin? What? No marquee matchup of Pittsburgh vs Washington? No doubt about it that both these teams deserve to be here after eliminating who they faced, but who's the big favorite now? It says here that there is a reason why a team in this series that led the league in goals against is the one that has home ice advantage.
ARMCHAIR GM LINE: Islanders in 6
2019 1ST ROUND PREDICTION RECORD: 1-7 (1/1 WIN IN EXACT GAMES)