Willies Ice Hockey Emporium staff, Jonathan Hill and Tyler Sheard, discussing who they think will win the NHL playoff play in round and in how many games.
Jonny: Carolina in 5. I've been very impressed with the Rangers this year, who have rebuilt quickly, surpassing many teams who have been developing talents quickly. I think the Russian phenom they’ve found in net Shesterkin steals at least one game, but the depth in Carolina proves too much. As a penguins fan, my only hope is that if the rangers do lose, they don’t end up with the first overall pick!!!!!
Tyler: Carolina in 4. I just think Carolina’s core is too strong and they have far too much depth for the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad is a fantastic player but I think he gets shut down. Like Jonny, I think Rangers steal one because of the goalie.
Tyler: Oilers in 3. Chicago aren’t going to be able to keep up with Mcdavid and Draisaitl. Chicago haven't showed anything in the regular season, and I don’t think they will in the playoffs. Oilers have got too many guys wanting to prove themselves.
Jonny: Oilers in 3. Chicago’s time has come and gone, they were well placed to rebuild until the corona virus gave them a playoff spot. They might steal a game if Corey Crawford is healthy and Mcdavid and Draisaitl have a off day. Chicago are the team most in need of that Lafreniere pick for me.
Jonny: Penguins in 4. Id like to say Pittsburgh in 3, but they always tend to have one bad game. Montreal’s only hope is Price turns back into the elite goaltender he once was. Crosby, Malkin, Guentzel and the depth will prove too great for a Montreal team lacking in depth below their first line.
Tyler: Penguins in 5. I was quite impressed with Monteal in the practice game against Toronto, but its not new news that they are past their prime, and the Penguins know how to win in the playoffs. Too much depth. Too much experience.
Tyler: Islanders in 4. I've been really impressed since Barry Trotz took over, and the way they’ve changed their system and play. They play controlled intelligent viewer friendly hockey. Barkov is better than Laine but not enough to overcome a team that’s really proved themselves over an entire season.
Jonny: Islanders in 4. The isles have just become a good playoff team, they're united, score by committee and have a great talent in Barzal. I just don’t see Florida having enough quality to overcome them.
Jonny: Winnipeg in 5. This was the toughest pick for me. Both had fantastic seasons. Connor Hellebuyck has turned into a franchise goaltender. Difficult for me to pick against Calgary as Matthew Tkachuk is one of my favourite players in the league and they’ve really come on as a team… I just think experience wins out on this one.
Tyler: Calgary in 3. I think this could be a big shock. Johnny Gaudreau hasn’t really performed in playoffs before but he hasn’t had a supporting cast that he has now. I think they’re stronger than Winnipeg this year who have weakened since their playoff run in 2018.
Tyler: Nashville in 4. This is a hard one because Nashville sacked their coach and then lockdown hit. Its hard to tell exactly what team they are but going off the rosters, Arvidsson, Forsberg and Josi will prove too much for an Arizona who haven’t seemed to find their spot since adding Kessel and Hall.
Jonny: Nashville in 4. Completely agree with Tyler. Nashville aren’t as good as when they got to the finals, but they’ll prove too much for an Arizona team that doesn’t really have an identity. Kessel usually turns up in the playoffs, but his supporting cast is significantly weaker than in Pittsburgh, Toronto or Boston.
Jonny: Leafs in 5. Tough one.. The leafs are talented, flash, but extremely fragile against a team ran by John Tortorella that seems to laugh in the face of adversity. I think the Leafs will win out, but they’ll need to get up early, or else the pressure might prove too much for them.
Tyler: Blue Jackets in 4. Another upset? Blue Jackets proved last year that they aren’t a team to be taken lightly. They’re a team with nothing to lose, unlike the Leafs who have spent the last 5 years building up the team and losing. This is in my opinion the last year this core gets a chance to stick together if they don’t succeed.
Tyler: Canucks in 5. This is a tough one, as I think Vancouver are a fantastic regular season team but lack experience in the playoffs, Pettersson and Hughes has great seasons but may be too small for the playoffs. It would be nice for the state of Minnesota to get some success, but I don’t think its this year!
Jonny: Canucks in 5. This is the series i'm least excited about. Neither team really plays a brand of hockey that draws me in. I think Vancouver win, purely due to their star power. Minnesota are in limbo with the GM looking to rebuild as they’re not good enough to win many playoff rounds.
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