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The Gang Predicts The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Don’t @ us.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff hockey is here!

As the march for the Stanley Cup takes its first step this evening, it’s time for our annual staff picks. Don’t worry last year’s went VERY WELL and we ALL PICKED 100% CORRECTLY.

Let’s start in the East.

Eastern Conference

Blue = favorite, red = underdog (in terms of seeding)

Looks like a lot of us like the Bruins, even though I am sure most of us don’t actually like the Bruins. Many of us desperately hope our Flyers upset pick comes true and a surprising number of people went with the Jackets. Kate is all upsets all the time around here.

Now the West.

Western Conference

Blue = favorite, red = underdog (in terms of seeding)

Well they can’t accuse us of not being a Preds fan blog!

Look at all those smart hockey people who think the Kings will upset the Knights. I can’t wait til those smart hockey people have to watch the Golden Knights do the unthinkable. Meanwhile, no one has the Ducks-Sharks series going less than six games and Rachel is going solo on the Wild pick.

Before we go to our Finals picks, here are a few questions we had our crew answer. Feel free to give your takes in the comments below!

What’s your biggest upset prediction and what made you pick it?

Bobby: Vegas is not making it out of the first round. They don’t match up well against the Kings. Anze Kopitar has quietly been, once again, one of the best players in the league. Adding players like Drew Doughty around him, and I just don’t see how the Vegas wins unless Fleury steals the series.

Rachel: I think the Flyers have the ability to upset the Penguins. Pittsburgh may have rebounded in the second half of the season, but Philly is out for revenge after a few years outside the playoff picture. Pittsburgh goes home early and bandwagon Pens fans find a new favorite team.

Tucker: Is picking the Caps to advance past the 2nd round technically an upset?

Eric: Flyers over Penguins. I don’t think it’s much of an upset cause Philly is much better than they’re given credit but oh well. I also think the Sharks will make a surprising run.

Chris: Flyers over Penguins. If the Flyers can find decent goaltending -- and I think it will show up long enough to qualify as decent -- the length of the past two Cup runs by Pittsburgh will catch up to them fast.

Alex: The Flyers upsetting the Penguins, and I have no idea why. If you were to accuse me of wishful thinking, you wouldn’t be wrong, but I think the Flyers could catch the Penguins off guard. The Pens owned the season series 4-0-0, but there were 31 goals scored in those four games. If the Flyers can find themselves in a shootout with the Pens, I like their chances.

Kate: Uh, apparently it’s having the Preds not make it back to the SCF. Too much has to go right to win six of seven playoff series to rely on it; I went with a second-round exit because the Jets are a really good team, but it could happen in the third or even the first round.

Shaun: KATE, WHO HURT YOU?!

Which series interests you the most? Which will be a blow-out or possibly a sweep?

Alex: I can’t wait for the Vegas-Los Angeles series. It will either be a wholesome reckoning or yet another unprecedented milestone. Will the Kings finally put the best story in hockey on ice in 4 or 5 games? Or will the Golden Knights yet again make us question everything we thought we knew about how playoff experience? Marc-Andre Fleury’s playoff career tells me it will be the former.

Nick: Obviously there’s intrigue in the Battle of Pennsylvania, but I’m excited for Jets-Wild. Which curse will be lifted first? Will Minnesota win an opening series for the 4th time ever, or will the Jets/Thrashers win a playoff game? The Preds will win their series in a blowout.

Bobby: Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia looks absolutely tantalizing. Remember 2012 where the Flyers scored 8 goals on the Penguins two games in a row, just for the Penguins to score 10 the following game? Should be insane. Nashville vs. Colorado will be a blowout as the golden boys cruise to the next round.

Tucker: Sharks/Ducks is sure to be a blood bath of the highest order, and I think ultimately the Sharks have enough power to edge the Ducks in 7. Bruins/Leafs should also produces some beautiful hockey, but I think Toronto is a piece or two away from making some serious noise in the postseason. Lastly, I’m sure everyone hopes that Philly manages to upset the Pens, but lets be real here. Pittsburgh will dust them and cruise into the second round.

Marya: I think the Penguins are going to blow out the Flyers, but I’m not calling a sweep anywhere. I’m really interested in the Jets vs Wild series--will Winnipeg finally make a series featuring Minnesota exciting?

Laura: In the West, VGK vs Kings. Are the Knights playoff capable? In the East, the battle of PA may be long and bloody.

Kate: The Metro bracket has a lot of drama and potential drama. It’s not just the Battle of Pennsylvania--it’s the fact that three of the four possible second-round series are also going to be rivalry matches.

Hayley: Vegas has been dominant all season and it will be interesting to see how they handle themselves in the playoffs. The Kings are no strangers to the post-season and they’re not going to let the new guys steamroll them. In the East, Philly taking out Pittsburgh would be everything we knew we always needed, but didn’t think we’d ever get. Personally I could use a good laugh for a few days between series.

Ok, now the Finals picks.

Conference & Cup Finals

DAMN, WE ARE SOME PREDS FANS AFTER ALL

Seriously, that is a comical number of homer picks. Haha, these picks are going to crash and burn and we will delete this article forever. Except I guess we will have to leave it up for when Kate’s pick is accurate and true.

And finally, some hot takes to tickle your funny bone until the first game begins.

PLAYOFF HOT TAKES

Nick: Roman Josi joins Scott Niedermayer, Nicklas Lidstrom, Scott Stevens, and Duncan Keith as the only defensemen to win the Conn Smythe since 2000.

Hayley: The Preds oust the Ducks for the third straight post-season. In their devastation, the Ducks bend the knee, pledging unyielding loyalty to the newly crowned overlords of the Pacific the Nashville Predators of Anaheim.

Marya: Penguins vs Bolts goes seven games and is eventually decided by a really bad review.

Eric: Minnesota is bad. This isn’t a hot take and if you think it is you’re wrong.

Laura: No Black Aces are needed.

Kate: Intent to Blow 2: The game in which the Preds are eliminated features a goalie interference call nearly as bad as the one in Florida, which also goes against them.

Rachel: The Golden Knights go up 2-0 early against the Kings but lose four straight games and are eliminated in the first round.

Chris: Remember what happened the last time the Leafs and Bruins met in the postseason? Pepperidge Farm remembers, and it would be fun to see the Leafs get some sort of revenge for it.

Tucker: Tolvanen plays 2 games or less during the postseason, and honestly that’s okay with me.

Shaun: Marchand hurts someone really, really bad. In the ensuing retaliation (as he will not be penalized on or off ice) he, himself, is injured...in the groin.

Bobby: The cup-winning game has not one, but two goaltender interference controversies, and the cup winner’s legitimacy will forever be questioned.