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I went 8 for 8 on my predictions for the First Round.

Updated: May 8

This is a picture of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket, featuring all 16 teams in the playoffs. Shown above are the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, and the New York Islanders.

I understand it's a bit late for Second Round predictions, but I'll give them anyway. It's also worth noting I went 8 for 8 for picking teams to win the First Round for the first time in my life. I didn't get the number of games right for all of them though, and we'll see why below.

New York Rangers M1 vs. Washington Capitals WC2

Prediction: Rangers in 6

What really happened: Rangers in 4

I thought Charlie Lindgren was going to be good enough to steal a game or two for Washington, but he simply wasn't the same goalie that carried them to the playoffs. With that said though, I now see that the 5th worst offense went as far as it could go. In today's game, being able to score is nonnegotiable to win even one playoff game. It also didn't help that Ovechkin disappeared in the playoffs, and that their special teams could not compete with New York's.

Carolina Hurricanes M2 vs. New York Islanders M3

Prediction: Hurricanes in 5

What really happened: Hurricanes in 5

I was right in that I thought the Hurricanes could sweep the Islanders, but I also figured that the Islanders would pull out a miracle win. The Hurricanes were simply the better team, with the Islanders goaltending failing with both Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov, who were once thought of as the exemplary goaltending duo of the NHL. Even with the Patrick Roy reunion, Varlamov couldn't stop a beachball, and the Islanders were no help defensively, and just didn't have the attack to outscore the Hurricanes on a nightly basis like they needed.

Florida Panthers A1 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning WC1

Prediction: Panthers in 7

What Really happened: Panthers in 5

It's no secret the Tampa Bay Lightning weren't the luckiest team in the First Round, but they didn't exactly deserve to win either. In the playoffs, you need your big names to come up big, and that didn't happen, whereas the Panthers got a big save or a big goal when it mattered. Andrei Vasilevskiy also isn't the same goalie that carried the Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cups, and if you can't be guaranteed even average goaltending in the playoffs, you can't get anywhere.

Boston Bruins A2 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs A3

Prediction: Bruins in 7

What really happened: Bruins in 7

What can't be said in this series. This may be the worst of all of the above losses for the Leafs. Never mind that they lost 7 straight series against the Boston Bruins. Never mind that the last 4 have been in Game 7, or that they've never been more than 1 goal or 1 period away from eliminating Boston every time, or that of those 4 times, 3 of those, they had clawed back from down 3-1 in the series and held leads at some point in the 3rd period. I'd have a tough time arguing that this was worse than 2013, but it's par for the course. Mitchell Marner was crying on the bench in Game 4, Auston Matthews stormed down the tunnel and they disguised it as a flu in the media, and not only that, but when they were there, they barely showed up. They claw back though, with 2 close wins in Games 5 & 6, before taking a 3rd period lead in Game 7. And David Pastrnak scores because Mitchell Marner is lazy on the backcheck and sloppy with his line change. The bottom line is, nothing can save the Maple Leafs from themselves, and the loser culture is so heavily ingrained there that it will take another 20 years to even come back to respectability.

Dallas Stars C1 vs. Vegas Golden Knights WC2

Prediction: Stars in 6

What really happened: Stars in 7

I was right to think Dallas had a leg up on Vegas this year, and though I thought it would be a close series, I didn't see a 7th game happening. The Golden Knights missed an opportunity in the series very early on to put the Stars away, as they were 1 goal away from taking a 3-0 series lead, and even if they won Game 4, that also would've put an end to Dallas' Stanley Cup hopes. But the salary cap circumvention karma has caught up to them, and their deadline acquisitions that they were saving for the playoffs didn't wind up working out at all.

Winnipeg Jets C2 vs. Colorado Avalanche C3

Prediction: Avalanche in 6

What really happened: Avalanche in 5

The Winnipeg Jets defense and goaltending were the most hyped up x-factors on either side, but both of them failed to show up in the First Round against the league's best offense, which lit them up for 28 goals. Even in the game they won, they were awfully nervous sounding in their press conference after the game, citing that they were playing a game that they didn't want to play. The Avalanche played more like the 2022 Stanley Cup Champions than the team that limped into the playoffs barely hanging on with nothing more than a Central Division title to show for it, and were far better equipped with excellent forward depth to handle the Jets.

Vancouver Canucks P1 vs. Nashville Predators WC1

Prediction: Vancouver in 5

What really happened: Vancouver in 6

The Canucks weren't a clear-cut favorite to win this series, but they played a good Nashville team that only got better at the end of the season and beat them in one of the closest series of the entire playoffs. The Predators gave up leads at really bad times, surrendering a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period in Game 1, giving up a 3-1 lead in Game 4 and losing in overtime, and just didn't take advantage of Vancouver not playing their best. Arturs Silovs also was an unexpected but pleasant surprise for Vancouver, as he shut out Nashville in the clinching game, allowing for Pius Suter to send them to the Second Round.

Edmonton Oilers P2 vs. LA Kings P3

Prediction: Oilers in 7

What really happened: Oilers in 5

The Oilers looked shaky in the first 2 games as I expected, but they really found their game in the rest of the series, and LA simply wasn't good enough. When the Oilers are at their worst, they often beat themselves with avoidable defensive mistakes and costly penalties. But Stuart Skinner was big for them in the final 3 games, allowing only 4 goals on 82 shots in that time frame, and the Oilers defense played the best hockey that they've ever played.

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