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Stanley Cup Qualifiers predictions

NHL.com staff members make their picks for eight series, round-robin, Conn Smythe winner, champions

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

NHL.com staff members have made their predictions for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Playoffs, and they believe the race for the championship is wide open.

Four of the 16 picked the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup, and the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights each were chosen as champions by three.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars each were predicted to win the Cup by one staff member.

The defending champion St. Louis Blues were picked by three to get back to the Cup Final but lose.

The Qualifiers will have eight best-of-5 series, four in the Eastern Conference and four in the Western Conference. The winners advance to the playoffs, and the losers will have a chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Aug. 10. The top four teams in each conference, based on points percentage, will play in the round-robin portion of the Qualifiers to determine seeding for the playoffs.

Three players were picked by more than one staff member to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs: Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.

Here are NHL.com's picks for the Qualifiers:

 

Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Philadelphia Flyers; 4. Washington Capitals

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Calgary Flames

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Bruins

Conn Smythe Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

 

Tim Campbell, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Philadelphia Flyers; 4. Washington Capitals

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Minnesota Wild

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Maple Leafs over Avalanche

Conn Smythe Trophy: Frederik Andersen, Maple Leafs

 

Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins 

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers 

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders 

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets 

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Washington Capitals 

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers 

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators 

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Lightning 

Conn Smythe Trophy: Robin Lehner, Golden Knights

Video: The Stanley Cup Qualifiers

 

Nick Cotsonika, columnist

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

 

William Douglas, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL:  Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Philadelphia Flyers; 4. Tampa Bay Lightning

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Calgary Flames

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Bruins

Conn Smythe Trophy: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Minnesota Wild

CGY vs. WPG: Calgary Flames

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins over Golden Knights

Conn Smythe Trophy: Tuukka Rask, Bruins

 

Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Arizona Coyotes

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Vegas Golden Knights; 3. Dallas Stars; 4. St. Louis Blues

 

Stanley Cup Final: Golden Knights over Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy: Mark Stone, Golden Knights

 

Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. Washington Capitals

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Vegas Golden Knights; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Golden Knights

Conn Smythe Trophy: Victor Hedman, Lightning

 

Tracey Myers, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Arizona Coyotes

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche over Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

 

Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Philadelphia Flyers; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. Washington Capitals

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Flyers over Blues

Conn Smythe Trophy: Carter Hart, Flyers

 

Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Washington Capitals

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Calgary Flames

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins over Blues

Conn Smythe Trophy: Tuukka Rask, Bruins

 

Shawn Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Boston Bruins; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Minnesota Wild

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. St. Louis Blues; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins over Golden Knights

Conn Smythe Trophy: Brad Marchand, Bruins

 

Dan Rosen, senior writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Washington Capitals; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Arizona Coyotes

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Avalanche

Conn Smythe Trophy: Victor Hedman, Lightning

 

David Satriano, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: Florida Panthers

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Philadelphia Flyers; 4. Washington Capitals

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Chicago Blackhawks

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Vegas Golden Knights; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Dallas Stars; 4. Colorado Avalanche

 

Stanley Cup Final: Stars over Lightning

Conn Smythe Trophy: Ben Bishop, Stars

 

Dave Stubbs, columnist

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: Carolina Hurricanes

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Columbus Blue Jackets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Vegas Golden Knights

 

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Blues

Conn Smythe Trophy: Victor Hedman, Lightning

 

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Eastern Conference Qualifiers

PIT vs. MTL: Pittsburgh Penguins

CAR vs. NYR: New York Rangers

NYI vs. FLA: New York Islanders

TOR vs. CBJ: Toronto Maple Leafs

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference Qualifiers

EDM vs. CHI: Edmonton Oilers

NSH vs. ARI: Nashville Predators

VAN vs. MIN: Vancouver Canucks

CGY vs. WPG: Winnipeg Jets

Round-robin order of finish: 1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars

 

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Avalanche

Conn Smythe Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning

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