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Expert Picks

Stanley Cup predictions for 2017-18

Penguins, trying to win third straight title, favorites among NHL.com panel; six others picked as champions

NHL.com @NHL

Can the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup for the third straight season? Six of NHL.com's 17 panelists believe there's a good chance.

The last team to win three consecutive titles was the New York Islanders, who won four in a row from 1980-1983. Since then, four teams have had the opportunity to win three straight -- the Edmonton Oilers (twice; 1984-85, '87-88), Penguins ('91-92) and most recently, the Detroit Red Wings ('97-98).

Among the six voters who foresee the Penguins celebrating again as the last team standing in mid-June, four predicted captain Sidney Crosby would win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP for the third straight time. The other selections were goaltender Matt Murray and center Evgeni Malkin.

Who is the biggest threat to end the run of dominance by the Penguins? According to the panel, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who missed the playoffs by a point last season and lost in the Eastern Conference Final and Cup Final the previous two seasons.

Eight panelists have the Lightning representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, and five have them as champions for the second time in their history. Three had forward Nikita Kucherov winning the Conn Smythe.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs each received one vote to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the Final. Columbus has never been to the Final, and the Maple Leafs have not been there since winning it all in 1967.

Video: NHL Tonight: 2017-18 Playoff Predictions

In the Western Conference, things are more wide open.

The Anaheim Ducks, who reached the 2017 Western Conference Final before losing to the Nashville Predators in six games, received four votes to emerge from the West and one vote to win the Cup. The Edmonton Oilers, who Anaheim defeated in the second round, also received four votes as conference champions and one vote to win the Cup for the first time since 1990.

The Dallas Stars, who retooled after missing the playoffs last season, received three votes to make it out of the West. Two of those voters picked the Stars to win the Cup. Nashville, the Stanley Cup finalist from the West last season, received two votes to repeat as conference champion and one vote to go all the way for the first time in its history.

The Minnesota Wild (two votes), Calgary Flames, and Chicago Blackhawks, who have won the Stanley Cup three times since 2010, each received one vote to win the West.

 

Tim Campbell, NHL.com Staff Writer

Atlantic Division
1: Montreal Canadiens
2: Tampa Bay Lightning
3: Ottawa Senators

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: New York Rangers
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
1: Toronto Maple Leafs
2: Columbus Blue Jackets

Central Division
1: Minnesota Wild
2: Dallas Stars
3: Chicago Blackhawks

Pacific Division
1: Anaheim Ducks
2: Edmonton Oilers
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Nashville Predators
No. 2: San Jose Sharks

Conference champions
East: Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Dallas Stars

Stanley Cup champion: Dallas Stars
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Jamie Benn (DAL)

Video: Jamie Benn is named No. 17 on the list

 

Brian Compton, NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Atlantic Division
1: Toronto Maple Leafs
2: Tampa Bay Lightning
3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Ottawa Senators
No. 2: New York Islanders

Central Division
1: Minnesota Wild
2: St. Louis Blues
3: Chicago Blackhawks

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Calgary Flames
3: Anaheim Ducks

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Nashville Predators
No. 2: San Jose Sharks

Conference champions
East: Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Calgary Flames

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Victor Hedman (TBL)

Video: Victor Hedman takes the No. 15 spot

 

Nick Cotsonika, NHL.com Columnist

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Ottawa Senators

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: New York Rangers

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Washington Capitals
No. 2: Montreal Canadiens

Central Division
1: Dallas Stars
2: Nashville Predators
3: Chicago Blackhawks

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Los Angeles Kings

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Calgary Flames
No. 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions
East:
Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Dallas Stars

Stanley Cup champion: Dallas Stars
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Ben Bishop (DAL)

 

Matt Cubeta, Director, NHL International

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Montreal Canadiens
3: Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: New York Rangers
3: Columbus Blue Jackets

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Washington Capitals
No. 2: Buffalo Sabres

Central Division
1: Nashville Predators
2: Chicago Blackhawks
3: Minnesota Wild

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Dallas Stars
No. 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions
East:
Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Minnesota Wild

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Steven Stamkos (TBL)

 

Sebastien Deschambault, LNH.com Managing Editor

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Columbus Blue Jackets
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Carolina Hurricanes
No. 2: New York Rangers

Central Division
1: Minnesota Wild
2: Chicago Blackhawks
3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: St. Louis Blues
No. 2: Dallas Stars

Conference champions
East:
Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Minnesota Wild

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Nikita Kucherov (TBL)

Video: TBL@MTL: Kucherov nets his 40th goal of the season

 

Lisa Dillman, NHL.com Staff Writer

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Columbus Blue Jackets
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: New York Rangers
No. 2: Carolina Hurricanes

Central Division
1: Dallas Stars
2: Minnesota Wild
3: Chicago Blackhawks

Pacific Division
1: Anaheim Ducks
2: Edmonton Oilers
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Nashville Predators
No. 2: Los Angeles Kings

Conference champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Anaheim Ducks  

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Sidney Crosby (PIT)

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Crosby receives Conn Smythe Trophy

 

Sergei Feldman, Content Manager, NHL International

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Columbus Blue Jackets
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Boston Bruins
No. 2: New York Rangers

Central Division
1: Minnesota Wild
2: Chicago Blackhawks
3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Dallas Stars
No. 2: San Jose Sharks

Conference champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Chicago Blackhawks

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Evgeni Malkin

 

Tom Gulitti, NHL.com Staff Writer

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Columbus Blue Jackets
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: New York Rangers
No. 2: New York Islanders

Central Division
1: Chicago Blackhawks
2: Nashville Predators
3: Dallas Stars

Pacific Division
1: Anaheim Ducks
2: Edmonton Oilers
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Minnesota Wild
No. 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions
East:
Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Nikita Kucherov (TBL)

 

Pete Jensen, Senior Fantasy Editor

Atlantic Division
1: Toronto Maple Leafs
2: Tampa Bay Lightning
3: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Columbus Blue Jackets
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: New York Islanders
No. 2: Buffalo Sabres

Central Division
1: St. Louis Blues
2: Dallas Stars
3: Minnesota Wild

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Chicago Blackhawks
No. 2: Winnipeg Jets

Conference champions
East:
Toronto Maple Leafs
West: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup champion: Toronto Maple Leafs
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Auston Matthews (TOR)

Video: MTL@TOR: Matthews completes hat trick on breakaway

 

Robert Laflamme, LNH.com Senior Writer

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Washington Capitals
3: Pittsburgh Penguins

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Ottawa Senators
No. 2: New York Rangers

Central Division
1: St. Louis Blues
2: Nashville Predators
3: Dallas Stars

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: San Jose Sharks

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Chicago Blackhawks
No. 2: Minnesota Wild  

Conference champions
East:
Columbus Blue Jackets
West: Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup champion: Nashville Predators
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Filip Forsberg (NSH)

Video: Filip Forsberg takes the No. 43 spot

 

Adam Kimelman, NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Boston Bruins
3: Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Washington Capitals
3: Columbus Blue Jackets

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Carolina Hurricanes
No. 2: New York Rangers

Central Division
1: Chicago Blackhawks
2: Dallas Stars
3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: San Jose Sharks
3: Anaheim Ducks

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Calgary Flames
No. 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions
East:
Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup champion: Tampa Bay Lightning
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Nikita Kucherov (TBL)

 

Mike Morreale, NHL.com Staff Writer

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Boston Bruins
No. 2: New York Rangers

Central Division
1: Nashville Predators
2: Dallas Stars
3: Chicago Blackhawks

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: San Jose Sharks
3: Anaheim Ducks

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: St. Louis Blues
No. 2: Minnesota Wild

Conference champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Dallas Stars

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Matt Murray (PIT)

 

Bill Price, NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

Atlantic Division
1: Toronto Maple Leafs
2: Montreal Canadiens
3: Tampa Bay Lightning

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: New York Rangers

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Ottawa Senators
No. 2. Washington Capitals

Central Division
1: Chicago Blackhawks
2: Nashville Predators
3: St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: San Jose Sharks

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Minnesota Wild
No. 2: Winnipeg Jets

Conference champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Edmonton Oilers  

Stanley Cup champion: Edmonton Oilers
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Video: Leon Draisaitl takes the No. 39 spot

 

Shawn P. Roarke, NHL.com Director of Editorial

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Montreal Canadiens
3: Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Boston Bruins
No. 2: New York Rangers

Central Division
1: Nashville Predators
2: Chicago Blackhawks
3: Minnesota Wild

Pacific Division
1: Edmonton Oilers
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: San Jose Sharks
No. 2: Winnipeg Jets

Conference Champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Anaheim Ducks

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Sidney Crosby (PIT)

 

Dan Rosen, NHL.com Senior Writer

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Columbus Blue Jackets
2: Pittsburgh Penguins
3: Washington Capitals

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: New York Rangers
No. 2: Carolina Hurricanes

Central Division
1: St. Louis Blues
2: Chicago Blackhawks
3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division
1: Anaheim Ducks
2: Edmonton Oilers
3: Calgary Flames

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Dallas Stars
No. 2: San Jose Sharks

Conference champions
East:
Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Anaheim Ducks

Stanley Cup champion: Anaheim Ducks
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: John Gibson (ANA)

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm5: Gibson recovers to stone Fiddler

 

Dave Stubbs, NHL.com Columnist

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Toronto Maple Leafs
3: Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Washington Capitals
3: New York Rangers

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Columbus Blue Jackets
No. 2: Ottawa Senators

Central Division
1: Dallas Stars
2: Chicago Blackhawks
3: Nashville Predators

Pacific Division
1: Anaheim Ducks
2: Edmonton Oilers
3: San Jose Sharks

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: St. Louis Blues
No. 2: Minnesota Wild

Conference champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Sidney Crosby (PIT)

 

Rob Vollman, NHL.com Correspondent

Atlantic Division
1: Tampa Bay Lightning
2: Montreal Canadiens
3: Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
1: Pittsburgh Penguins
2: Washington Capitals
3: New York Rangers

Eastern Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Philadelphia Flyers
No. 2: Carolina Hurricanes

Central Division
1: Nashville Predators
2: Dallas Stars
3: Minnesota Wild

Pacific Division
1: Anaheim Ducks
2: Los Angeles Kings
3: Edmonton Oilers

Western Conference Wild Cards
No. 1: Chicago Blackhawks
No. 2: St. Louis Blues

Conference champions
East:
Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Anaheim Ducks

Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy winner: Sidney Crosby (PIT)

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