A Prediction Of The 2024 NHL Playoffs (Pt. 1)

It’s playoff season, baby! You have to love this time of year because it’s when we finally start to know what the NHL playoff bracket is going to look like and we can start to look at the matchups we’ll see. The first round of the playoffs is always pure chaos and I don’t expect this year to be much different. The brackets are almost ready to be made but I want to get a bit of a head start and share with you how I think the playoff bracket will end up going. I’m going to be so very wrong with my predictions so get prepared to clown on me in about two months.

One thing I wanted to mention before going into this is that I’m writing this before the end of the regular season and some playoff matchups haven’t been finalized yet. Because of this, I am going off of an educated guess as to how the standings and matchup once the playoffs roll around in about a week. I’ll also keep my reasonings brief so this article doesn’t get crazy long. So, let’s get into it!

Round 1

Pittsburgh Penguins (WC2) vs New York Rangers (1)

My article about how the Penguins weren’t going to make the playoffs looks pretty stupid now. The Penguins had a crazy resurgent to end the year and it looks like they’re playoff-bound now. Unfortunately for them, they have to go up against one of the best teams in the league to start. The Rangers have been one of the best teams in the league and might win the Presidents Trophy this year. However, I have the Penguins pull off an upset in this one. I like the Penguins star power still and although the Rangers may out-match them in certain areas, I think that the Penguins will beat them because Sidney Crosby says so. He’s had a great year and I think he could be the determining factor in this series. I’m going with the Penguins in 7.

Tampa Bay Lightning (WC1) vs Boston Bruins (1)

The Boston Bruins were great this year and have been better than most people expected. So they get the wonderful reward of getting to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. I think the Lightning’s top guys will be too much for the Bruins as Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov will cause a lot of issues for the Bruins. Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t had the greatest year but that’s been due to injury and I think he will turn it around for round one. If the Bruins win, it will be because their goaltending stole them the series, but I don’t see that happening. I have the Lightning in 6.

Carolina Hurricanes (2) vs New York Islanders (3)

I’m not even really sure how the Islanders got here. There defence first system has got them some wins and they have a solid core but not one that’s nearly as good as the Hurricanes. I think the Hurricanes have way too much fire power for the Islanders and Freddy Andersen has been great since returning. I have the Hurricanes winning this series convincingly in 5 games.

Florida Panthers (2) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (3)

This series is such a tough one. I really like both teams and think that whichever team wins this series will go on a deep playoff run. It’s a tough one but I think I give the edge to the Florida Panthers. The main reason is that they can play a meaner style that fits more with playoff hockey and a style the Leafs haven’t done well against in the past. I say Panthers in 7 but honestly, this series could go either way and wouldn’t be surprised if the winner of this series makes it to the Cup finals.

Dallas Stars (1) vs Vegas Golden Knights (WC2)

A rematch of the Western Conference finals may take place in the first round this year and if it does, it will surely be a great series. While Vegas is the defending champs, I think I’m going with the Stars on this one. I think the Stars are more well rounded and I think they have the better goaltending. Ottinger has had an okay season but I feel like he’ll turn it around when the playoffs start. For Vegas, I’m not too confident in their goaltending this year despite Adin Hill having a pretty good season. His recent injury is a bit of a concern for me but overall I think the Stars have the better team and end up winning this series in 6 games.

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs Nashville Predators (WC1)

This one will be totally unbiased and will not be a complete homer towards the Canucks. In all seriousness though, the Canucks should win this series. While Nashville has had a good run recently, I don’t think that will sustain in the long run. Vancouver has a deeper team and more star power as well. With Thatcher Demko coming back as well, the Canucks should take this series but I don’t think it will be easy for them. Nashville is a team that will give you trouble and make you pay for any mistakes you make. I’m taking the Canucks in 6 for this one but Nashville could make things very interesting in this series.

Colorado Avalanche (2) vs Winnipeg Jets (3)

I’m not going to lie, I kind of think the Winnipeg Jets are frauds. I’m sorry, but they just seem like a team that has been carried by really good goaltending. That’s not to say that this team isn’t talented because they absolutely are. I’m a big fan of Gabe Vilardi and Nikolaj Ehlers and a few others on the Jets as well, but I feel like Rick Bowness’ style of coaching really limits this team offensively. Ehlers should be more heavily used but he’s not and there’s a few other things that I’m not a huge fan of. The Avalanche on the other hand are a wagon. The only real weakness they have is goaltending but I think with how good the rest of the team is, they’ll be fine. For this series I’m going Avalanche in 6.

Edmonton Oilers (2) vs LA Kings (3)

The third straight year that we get this series and it’s going to end the same way it did the last two times. The Oilers should easily beat the Kings and make their way to the second round. I’ve never been a big believer in the Kings and I feel like the Pierre Luc Dubious trade made their team worse. It wasn’t a trade they needed to make and I feel like they could’ve upgraded different areas on their team. The Oilers on the other hand have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. I don’t need to say anything else. Both these players are borderline unstoppable in the playoffs and the Oilers seem to have found a new gear since making their coaching change earlier in the season. I have the Oilers taking this series convincingly in a 4 game sweep.

Well, I thought I could get through the entire playoff bracket but I’ve already run out of room and only got past the first round. So it looks like we’ll do a part two to this. Stay tuned because you don’t want to miss more of my takes that will be incredibly wrong.

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