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Stanley Cup Playoffs predictions

NHL.com staff members make their picks for first round, Final, Conn Smythe

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

NHL.com staff members have made their predictions for the Stanley Cup First Round and Playoffs, and most believe the Honda West Division representative will win it all.

Nine of the 16 picked the Colorado Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup and five picked the Vegas Golden Knights. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes each were predicted to win the Cup by one staff member.

The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning were picked by three to get back to the Cup Final but lose.

The Avalanche are the No. 1 seed in the West and will play the No. 4. St. Louis Blues in the first round. The No. 2 Golden Knights will play the No. 3 Minnesota Wild.

The Stanley Cup First Round will have eight best-of-7 series, all played within the four divisions -- the West, MassMutual East, Discover Central and Scotia North. The four teams that advance from their divisions will play in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, and will be seeded 1-4, based on regular-season points and regular-season tiebreakers. The two winners from the semifinals will play in the Stanley Cup Final.

Eight of the nine staff members who predicted the Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup believe Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon will win the Conn Smythe Trophy voted as the most valuable player of the playoffs. Colorado defenseman Cale Makar got the other MVP pick.

Golden Knights forward Mark Stone received four picks for the Conn Smythe, and Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury got one.

Here are NHL.com's picks for the Stanley Cup First Round: 

Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Florida Panthers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. VGK vs. 4. EDM: Vegas Golden Knights
2. CAR vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Bruins
Conn Smythe winner: Mark Stone, Golden Knights

Tim Campbell, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Washington Capitals 

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Florida Panthers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. EDM: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. WSH: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Hurricanes
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins 

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. NYI: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. TOR: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Hurricanes
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Florida Panthers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Minnesota Wild 

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. BOS: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. TOR: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Maple Leafs
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

William Douglas, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. CAR vs. 3. TOR: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stanley Cup Final: Maple Leafs over Islanders
Conn Smythe winner: Wayne Simmonds, Maple Leafs

Tom Gulitti, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins 

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Minnesota Wild

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. BOS: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. TOR: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Hurricanes
Conn Smythe winner: Cale Makar, Avalanche

Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Florida Panthers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. BOS: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. TOR: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Hurricanes
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. VGK vs. 4. BOS: Vegas Golden Knights
2. TOR vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Lightning
Conn Smythe winner: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

Mike Morreale, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Nashville Predators
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: St. Louis Blues
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. VGK vs. 4. BOS: Vegas Golden Knights
2. TOR vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning 

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Lightning
Conn Smythe winner: Mark Stone, Golden Knights

Tracey Myers, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Florida Panthers 

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Minnesota Wild

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MON: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. EDM: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. PIT: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Hurricanes
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: New York Islanders
2. WSH vs 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. VGK vs. 4. NYI: Vegas Golden Knights
2. CAR vs. 3. EDM: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Oilers
Conn Smythe winner: Mark Stone, Golden Knights

Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs 3. BOS: Boston Bruins 

Discover Central;
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs 3. TBL: Florida Panthers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs 3. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. VGK vs. 4. WPG: Vegas Golden Knights
2. CAR vs. 3. BOS: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Hurricanes over Golden Knights
Conn Smythe winner: Sebastian Aho, Hurricanes

Dan Rosen, senior writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs 3. TBL: Florida Panthers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs 3. MIN: Minnesota Wild

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. TOR: Colorado Avalanche
2. CAR vs. 3. PIT: Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Hurricanes
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

David Satriano, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. VGK vs. 4. EDM: Vegas Golden Knights
2. TBL vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Bruins
Conn Smythe winner: Mark Stone, Golden Knights

Dave Stubbs, columnist

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs. 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs. 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs. 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. TBL: Colorado Avalanche
2. TOR vs. 3. BOS: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Maple Leafs
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

MassMutual East
1. PIT vs. 4. NYI: Pittsburgh Penguins
2. WSH vs 3. BOS: Boston Bruins

Discover Central
1. CAR vs. 4. NSH: Carolina Hurricanes
2. FLA vs 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Honda West
1. COL vs. 4. STL: Colorado Avalanche
2. VGK vs 3. MIN: Vegas Golden Knights

Scotia North
1. TOR vs. 4. MTL: Toronto Maple Leafs
2. EDM vs 3. WPG: Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Semifinals
1. COL vs. 4. BOS: Colorado Avalanche
2. TOR vs. 3. TBL: Tampa Bay Lightning

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Lightning
Conn Smythe winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

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