The 2022 NHL Playoffs are finally here, featuring eight exciting matchups. Here are the 2022 NHL Round 1 Playoff Predictions.
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes
|Boston Bruins||Carolina Hurricanes|
|3.10||Goals for per game||3.38|
|2.63||Goals against per game||2.44|
The first-round series between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes will be extremely difficult to predict. The Boston Bruins have the more experienced team while the Hurricanes have the Bruins’ number this year and are a better overall team. The main X-Factor in this series is the Hurricanes’ goaltending. Prior to the postseason, both Hurricanes were injured, leaving them with a big question mark in net. It is expected that Antti Raanta will be back to start the series but the question of whether Freddie Andersen will make his return is still in the air. Despite this, The Hurricanes should be able to take down the Bruins ever so narrowly.
Prediction: Hurricanes in 7
Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers
|Pittsburgh Penguins||New York Rangers|
|3.26||Goals for per game||3.05|
|2.70||Goals against per game||2.49|
The young New York Rangers are out of their quick rebuild and are up against an extremely disciplined and experienced Penguins team. These teams match up very evenly on paper with both teams being better than the other in certain aspects. But just like the Hurricanes series, there is a big question in net for the Penguins as goaltender Tristan Jarry is expected to miss the start of the series. With Jarry’s injury and the Rangers really heating up after the trade deadline, they should defeat the Penguins to advance to the second round.
Prediction: Rangers in 6
Washington Capitals vs Florida Panthers
|Washington Capitals||Florida Panthers|
|3.31||Goals for per game||4.14|
|2.95||Goals against per game||2.86|
The Presidents’ Cup winner Florida Panthers are up to face the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. On paper, the Panthers blow the Capitals out of the water, being significantly better offensively, defensively, and in net as well as being better on special teams. However, the resilient Capitals will attempt to go on another Stanley Cup run with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson on the roster. The Panthers should be able to comfortably take out the Capitals in the first round.
Prediction: Panthers in 4
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs
|Tampa Bay Lightning||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|3.44||Goals for per game||3.79|
|2.77||Goals against per game||3.09|
In the season with the most pressure built up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they are facing the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning. This series will be extremely intense with the Leafs trying to make it past the first round and the Lightning going for three in a row. The Maple Leafs have the upper hand offensively, both teams are equal defensively, but the Lightning have the clear advantage in net. Due to the big goaltending and experience difference, the Lightning will barely defeat the Maple Leafs in round one.
Prediction: Lightning in 7
Nashville Predators vs Colorado Avalanche
|Nashville Predators||Colorado Avalanche|
|3.19||Goals for per game||3.76|
|3.02||Goals against per game||2.83|
Although this series does look close on paper, it should be an easy pick. The Colorado Avalanche finished 2nd in the entire NHL and 1st in the Western Conference despite dealing with injuries to their star players such as Nathan Mackinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and others. Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators just squeaked into the postseason however their star goaltender Juuse Saros was just injured and will miss 4-6 weeks due to injury. Although it would be fun to see an underdog victory, the Avalanche should take this period fairly easily.
Prediction: Avalanche in 4
St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild
|St. Louis Blues||Minnesota Wild|
|3.74||Goals for per game||3.66|
|2.84||Goals against per game||3.04|
The matchup between the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild is easily the best series in the Western Conference first round. Both of these teams are top-heavy, with plenty of depth and a solid tandem in net. The Wild are better defensively and have better goaltenders but the Blues have the upper hand on depth and special teams. Based on the statistics on paper and their head-to-head record, the Blues will narrowly sneak past the Wild.
Prediction: Blues in 7
Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames
|Dallas Stars||Calgary Flames|
|2.84||Goals for per game||3.55|
|2.98||Goals against per game||2.51|
Two of the best first-lines in all of hockey face off in this first-round series. The Dallas Stars trio of Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, and Roope Hintz have scored 44% of the Stars’ goals this season while the trio of Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, and Johnny Guadreau have scored 42% of the Flames’ goals. On paper, the Calgary Flames look like the much better team and based on the lack of depth the Stars have along with the Flames’ advantage on the back end, the Flames should be able to defeat the Stars in the first round.
Prediction: Flames in 5
Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers
|Los Angeles Kings||Edmonton Oilers|
|2.85||Goals for per game||3.48|
|2.83||Goals against per game||3.06|
The star-led Edmonton Oilers take on the strongly defended Los Angeles Kings team. The big storyline for this series is the battle between the Oilers Stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl against the Kings’ top defensive centers Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault. In last year’s playoff, Danault successfully shut down the Leafs’ top line of Matthews and Marner and will try to replicate that success this year against the Oilers. However, based on the teams on paper and the Oilers stars, the Oilers should be able to beat the Kings.
Prediction: Oilers in 6
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