NHL Predictions for 2020 Playoffs-Qualifying Round and Round Robin Seeding

Hockey will officially be back Saturday, August 1st. With the return of the NBA last night and the MLB’s return last week, having live sports back feels like Christmas morning. Most of all, we will have all four major sports playing at once here in a few short weeks. The struggle to stay focused on our daily lives will be almost unbearable when we have continuous live sports 24/7. Regardless, the impact of COVID will not go unannounced as it has already stifled the MLB less than a week into their 60-game season. We shall see if it does the same to the NBA or the NHL. Hopefully it won’t, but I think we all have learned that we cannot count anything out when it comes to this virus.

Back to the NHL. Of course, the NHL was unable to finish their regular season when their season was forced to cease due to COVID. That being said, there was no clear way for the league commission to decide if their season would resume or if they would be out long enough to either: (1) Proceed to playoff play or (2) Kill the season altogether and wait to resume activities come this coming fall. Well here we are, with a different playoff format consisting of qualifying rounds consisting of best of five series, round robins with the top four teams of each conference playing to determine first round seeding, and, of course, empty arenas as the games will be played entirely in Canada in two “host” cities. The Eastern Conference will play in Toronto and the Western Conference will play in Edmonton.

Without further to do here are my predictions of what will transpire.

Qualifying Round

The Qualifying Round consists of eight teams from each conference playing amongst their fellow conference members who are ranked 5-12. Each game will be a best of five series with the winner each series moving into the first round to play a top four team in their conference. My predictions will come after the matchups.

Eastern Conference Qualifying Round

5. Pittsburgh Penguins v. 12. Montreal Canadiens – Pittsburgh Penguins
6. Carolina Hurricanes v. 11. New York Rangers – Carolina Hurricanes
7. New York Islanders v. 10. Florida Panthers – New York Islanders
8. Toronto Maple Leafs v. 9. Columbus Blue Jackets – Toronto Maple Leafs

Western Conference Qualifying Round

5. Edmonton Oilers v. 12. Chicago Blackhawks – Edmonton Oilers
6. Nashville Predators v. 11. Arizona Coyotes – Nashville Predators
7. Vancouver Canucks v. 10. Minnesota Wild – Vancouver Canucks
8. Calgary Flames v. 9. Winnipeg Jets – Winnipeg Jets

Round Robin Predictions

The top four teams in each conference will play each other to determine the seeding in the first round

Eastern Conference Round Robin Predictions
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Boston Bruins
3. Washington Capitals
4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Round Robin Predictions
1. St. Louis Blues
2. Vegas Golden Knights
3. Colorado Avalanche
4. Dallas Stars

First Round-Eastern Conference
8. Toronto Maple Leafs v. 1. Boston Bruins – Boston Bruins
5. Pittsburgh Penguins v. 4. Philadelphia Flyers – Pittsburgh Penguins
7. New York Islanders v. 2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Carolina Hurricanes v. 3. Washington Capitals – Washington Capitals

First Round-Western Conference
9. Winnipeg Jets v. 1. St. Louis Blues – St. Louis Blues
5. Edmonton Oilers v. 4. Dallas Stars – Edmonton Oilers
7. Vancouver Canucks v. 2. Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas Golden Knights
6. Nashville Predators v. 3. Colorado Avalanche – Colorado Avalanche

Conference Semifinals-Eastern Conference
5. Pittsburgh Penguins v. 1. Boston Bruins – Boston Bruins
3. Washington Capitals v. 2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Tampa Bay Lightning

Conference Semifinals-Western Conference
5. Edmonton Oilers v. 1. St. Louis Blues – St. Louis Blues
3. Colorado Avalanche v. Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas Golden Knights

Conference Championships
1. Boston Bruins v. 2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Boston Bruins
1. St. Louis Blues v. 2. Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas Golden Knights

Stanley Cup Championship
1. Boston Bruins v. 2. Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas Golden Knights

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