My 2018 NHL Playoff Bracket

I have finished my predictions for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here is my bracket:

The Bruins have a very tough road ahead. They will face a tough Maple Leafs team in the first round, and will likely see the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, another tough team. Their defensive struggles will definitely hurt them in the later rounds, especially if they face the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, or the dominant Nashville Predators. I do think the Bruins will win in the end though. If they can stay healthy from here, they have a lot of talent that is capable of keeping the offense going. The defense should be alright without Brandon Carlo, especially if Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, and Torey Krug do well in the playoffs.

Here are some other notes about my bracket:

  • I have picked most of the higher seeds in the East besides the Bruins and Penguins. But in the West, I have picked several upsets. The Golden Knights were the league’s biggest surprise this year, but they are inexperienced in the playoffs, and regressed down the stretch after appearing to be the league’s best team in the early months. I think the Kings will give them a rude awakening and Vegas will struggle under pressure.
  • The Sharks will also go deep. I think they have a better roster than the Ducks and will outmatch them head to head. They will top the Kings, a lower seed after LA shocks the Golden Knights and advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Kings will win in Round 1, but do not expect them to go any further. But the Predators are too good for them. I also picked the Wilds over the Jets for similar reasons.
  • I think the Bruins would’ve been much easier off against the Devils. The Lightning will dominate in New Jersey. I think the Florida Panthers, who just missed the playoffs and a lot of other teams would have given their opponents a bigger challenge than the Devils.
  • In my opinion, although the higher seeds in the East will win in the 1st Round, lower seeds like the Maple Leafs, Flyers and Blue Jackets will give their opponents a good challenge. As I said earlier, I think the Devils will be the easiest first round opponent.

That’s all for my NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions. Stay tuned for more coverage.

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Bruins Shutout Penguins For Fifth Straight Win

The Bruins shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 5th Boston win in a row, making their record 36-22-10.  The Bruins have won 6 of their last 7 games getting at least one point per game since I went to the game on February 28, making them one of the hottest teams in hockey.  The Bruins would be the 7th seed playoff team if the season ended today.  In the game, Tuukka Rask got 30 saves.  Dennis Seidenberg had the first penalty, tripping against Chris Kunitz.  Then, the first of 2 Boston goals was scored.  Milan Lucic scored a goal assisted by David Pastrnak and Dougie Hamilton.  Soon after, Penguins player David Perron tripped Max Talbot.  The next penalty was on Loui Eriksson, hooking against Paul Martin.  The second period was quiet but penalty infested.  Patric Hornqvist was responsible for the first penalty, interference against Torey Krug.   the second and final 2nd period penalty was Chris Kelly’s hi-sticking penalty against Christian Ehrhoff.  The third period had a penalty about one fourth of the way in.  Ben Lovejoy was called for hooking against Brad Marchand.  With a few minutes left, Tuukka Rask made the save of the game.  He dived out of the net to grab the puck and get it into his glove.  Then, the Penguins took out their goalie, Thomas Greiss with about 40 seconds left.  Greiss is the backup goalie for Pittsburgh, who rested their starting goalie for today’s game.  He wasn’t a scratch, but he wasn’t in the net for the whole game.  Then, one of the best and longest shots I have ever seen for a goal that counted happened.  Zdeno Chara shot the puck all the way across the ice to get an empty net goal assisted by Gregory Campbell to make it 2-0 Bruins.  At the minute the goal was scored, Steve Downie of the Penguins got penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Some funny stuff happened in this final period as well.  At one point, the puck was stuck in Daniel Paille’s shorts, but he got up on his skates to see the puck drop out of his shorts.  Also, somebody shot on the goal but hit the post instead knocking the goalie net off its post.  Also, on a rebound from a Tuukka Rask save, the Penguins shot the puck and saw it go off a player’s leg and continue to bump against the boards.  The Bruins won 2-0.  In the game, Sidney Crosby, the Penguins’ best player was a last minute scratch.  Their next best player, Evgeni Malkin, barely played and did nothing due to an early game injury.  Still, it was still pretty impressive and good for the Bruins that they could shutout the Penguins in Pittsburgh, let alone defeat them in Pittsburgh or even beat them at all, visiting or not.  The Bruins were able to pull off an impressive shutout as visitors to one of the best teams in the entire NHL, but they were fortunate that Crosby and Malkin got injured before and early on in the game.  Either way, the Bruins had a good road win against a top NHL team.