The NHL playoffs are underway in Canada! Kid Reporters Christopher John and Keyahn Sethi have picks for every series happening now in the hub cities:
Blues over Avalanche
The St. Louis Blues are the favorites to earn the top seed in the round robin given their crown as defending champions. Led by Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues boast a strong lineup that is eager to repeat their triumphant victory last year. If Cale Makar, the Avalanche’s star defensemen can have a stellar series, Colorado will put itself in a great position to compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Golden Knights over Stars
If Joe Pavelski can match his playoff performance from last year (nine points in 13 games), Dallas will have a real shot at going deep in their playoff run this year. But the Golden Knights have the team chemistry that has carried them since their inception. Veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury needs to play his best hockey since his days in Pittsburgh.
Oilers over Blackhawks
A team that also has the potential to make it to the Finals is Edmonton. Carried by phenoms Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers have a powerful roster filled with some of the League’s top talent. The Oilers will be matched up well against the Blackhawks, led by the dynamic duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Predators over Coyotes
The key will be whether Arizona’s off-ice distraction with the sudden departure of GM John Chayka will have an impact. Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall will be relied upon to showcase the skills that made them coveted acquisitions. In particular, Hall will look to try and have an awesome playoff as he tries to market himself for the off-season free agency bidding.
Canucks over Wild
In the matchup between the Minnesota and Vancouver, it will be a good test to see what wins the Cup: a relentless offense or a strong defense. The Wild have one of the best defenses in the league with players like Ryan Suter and Matthew Dumba. With Vancouver, even their defensemen are offensive, like rookie of the year prospect Quinn Hughes.
Jets over Flames
In the round-robin matchup between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets, the edge will likely go to Winnipeg, whose lineup is stacked with perennial leading scorers Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
Maple Leafs over Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets are probably the only team in the Eastern Conference that does not have a huge star on offense. But what they don't have in offense, they make up for in defense. The Maple Leafs look ready to stop Columbus. With a plethora of options in offense they are a fast and quick team ready to do some damage with Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Nylander.
Islanders over Panthers
The Islanders and Panthers should be a short series. The Islanders have a great squad and should make quick work of the Panthers. The Panthers' problems fall in net with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, and if they can't fix them they won't go far this postseason.
Hurricanes over Rangers
Next is the Hurricanes and the Rangers. This will be a good series. They are both good teams and have a chance of beating each other. Carolina is good all-around and New York has questions in net. The Rangers are a good team but this is not their year.
Penguins over Canadiens
Outside of goal, the Penguins are solid. On the other hand, the Canadiens have a good team that could be improved. For me the decider for this series is Carey Price. If Price can catch fire and go on a hot streak they might stop the Penguins. But if this does not happen they will lose. This is why I think the Penguins will win.
Flyers over Bruins
Boston versus Philly are two great teams facing off. The Flyers won their exhibition game, while the Bruins looked sluggish as they lost to Columbus. I think the Bruins will knock the rust off at some point but this is why I think Philly will win.
Capitals over Lightning
The Bolts had a resounding win over the Panthers in their exhibition game, while the Capitals beat Carolina. I think that the Capitals will win because they have more grit and a little somebody named Ovechkin who has scored over 700 goals.
Photo credit: Dave Sandford/NHLI/USA TODAY Sports