For the three hockey fans in the USA, here are my picks to advance out of the first round of the National Hockey League (NHL) Playoffs.
Nashville Predators vs Dallas Stars. Nashville has been business-like by winning the Central Division without much fanfare. Winning the division by a point means that they do not have to play Winnipeg or St. Louis in the first round. Pick: Nashville in six.
Winnipeg Jets vs St. Louis Blues. The Blues have been the hottest team in the NHL in the second half of the season. Their good play should continue in the playoffs. Pick: Blues in seven.
Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche. Calgary was the surprise of the season with the best record in the Western Conference. Nevertheless, they drew a tough out in the first round against the Avalanche, who have major scoring talent. Pick: Avalanche in six.
Vegas Golden Knights vs San Jose Sharks. These two teams met in the conference semifinals last season with Vegas winning the series. Over the past season, I do not see that much of a change in either team. Pick: Vegas in five.
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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning has the best record in the NHL, while the Blue Jackets went all out in order to make the playoffs. Pick: Lightning in six.
Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs. Adding John Tavares may be the difference in this Original Six series. Pick: Toronto in seven.
Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes. The defending champs will have to go against the league’s most exciting team. I want to see what type of post-game celebrations Carolina has prepared for the playoffs. Pick: Carolina in five.
New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins. Who would have thought that the Islanders would even make the playoffs this season? Pick: Islanders in six.
Pic is from Pixabay.com.