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Expert Picks

Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round predictions

NHL.com staff members make their picks for eight series, Conn Smythe, champions

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

NHL.com experts have made their predictions for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they believe the best team in the regular season will rule in the postseason as well.

Ten of the 15 staff members who made predictions picked the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Presidents' Trophy with 128 points and became the second team in NHL history to win 62 games in a season, to hoist the Stanley Cup  at the end of the playoffs.

Five of the 10 to pick the Lightning predicted goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player in the postseason. Forward Brayden Point was picked by three writers and forward Nikita Kucherov was picked by two.

The Boston Bruins, who finished tied with the Calgary Flames for second in points (107), were picked by three staff members to win the Stanley Cup. The Flames and Nashville Predators each got one vote.

Here are NHL.com's picks for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

Amalie Benjamin, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: New York Islanders

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Jets
Conn Smythe Trophy: Nikita Kucherov, Lightning

Video: Previewing Columbus vs. Tampa Bay First Round matchup

 

Tim Campbell, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Toronto Maple Leafs 
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals 
NYI vs. PIT: New York Islanders

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames 
SJS vs. VGK: San Jose Sharks 
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Flames over Maple Leafs
Conn Smythe Trophy: Johnny Gaudreau, Flames

 

Brian Compton, NHL.com deputy managing editor

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins over Golden Knights
Conn Smythe Trophy: Brad Marchand, Bruins

Video: Previewing the Leafs vs. Bruins First Round matchup

 

Nicholas J. Cotsonika, NHL.com columnist

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins   
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Dallas Stars
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Flames
Conn Smythe Trophy: Nikita Kucherov, Lightning

 

William Douglas, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Toronto Maple Leafs
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins 

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: San Jose Sharks
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Predators
Conn Smythe Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning 

Video: Previewing the Stars vs. Predators First Round series

 

Tom Gulitti, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames 
SJS vs. VGK: San Jose Sharks 
NSH vs. DAL: Dallas Stars 
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins over Sharks
Conn Smythe Trophy: Patrice Bergeron, Bruins

 

Pete Jensen, NHL.com senior fantasy editor

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: San Jose Sharks
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins over Sharks
Conn Smythe Trophy: Patrice Bergeron, Bruins 

Video: Previewing Golden Knights-Sharks First Round series

 

Adam Kimelman, NHL.com deputy managing editor 

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning 
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators 
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Jets 
Conn Smythe Trophy: Brayden Point, Lightning

 

Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Golden Knights
Conn Smythe Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning

Video: Previewing the Avalanche-Flames First Round series

 

Tracey Myers, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS. vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: New York Islanders

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Blues
Conn Smythe Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning

 

Bill Price, NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

Eastern Conference First Round

TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS. vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: New York Islanders

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: San Jose Sharks 
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Predators over Capitals 
Conn Smythe Trophy: Ryan Johansen, Predators  

Video: Previewing the Islanders-Penguins First Round matchup

 

Shawn Roarke, NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Predators
Conn Smythe Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning

 

Dan Rosen, NHL.com senior writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: New York Islanders

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Dallas Stars
WPG vs. STL: St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Blues
Conn Smythe Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning

Video: Previewing the Blues vs. Jets First Round matchup

 

Dave Stubbs, NHL.com columnist

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Jets
Conn Smythe Trophy: Brayden Point, Lightning

 

Mike Zeisberger, NHL.com staff writer

Eastern Conference First Round
TBL vs. CBJ: Tampa Bay Lightning
BOS vs. TOR: Boston Bruins
WSH vs. CAR: Washington Capitals
NYI vs. PIT: Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference First Round
CGY vs. COL: Calgary Flames
SJS vs. VGK: Vegas Golden Knights
NSH vs. DAL: Nashville Predators
WPG vs. STL: Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Predators
Conn Smythe Trophy: Brayden Point, Lightning

Video: Previewing the Hurricanes-Capitals First Round series

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