We’re down to 4 teams as the Eastern contenders are in Edmonton to finish the journey and crown a Stanley Cup Champion for 2020. We asked our writers who they see coming out on top to represent the Eastern and Western Conferences.
The Lightning made quick work of the Boston Bruins, having clearly put last year’s embarrassing collapse in the first round against Columbus behind them. The fact that they’ve done it without Steven Stamkos is even more impressive. The Islanders are here after taking down the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 Saturday night. They’re kind of like the if the Canucks had more than two NHL caliber defencemen,
Markus - I honestly think Tampa’s a buzzsaw here. They got through both of their rounds so far without issue and they havme elite talent at every position. This year’s squad looks determined to make up for last year’s disaster. The Islanders are a great story, but I think Tampa has what it takes to get through their structure and Tampa is simply deeper. Lightning in 5
jimmi - The beneficence of Canada’s branch plant model keeps the bubble going in the CoTU. Trying to imagine a scenario where only Canadian pro sports teams were playing in USA hub cities.... got nothing. So... T-bay in 7.
Westy - Tampa Bay has some injury issues coming into this series and the Isles look pretty darn good. So I will go against the flow here. Isles in 6.
Beggsy - I’d love to believe that Barry Trotz can somehow will this team to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Lightning look like they’ve moved on from their playoff mistakes of last year.
Even without Stamkos, this team looks legit. The Isles will put up a fight, but I have the Lightning in 6.
Bailey- The last two regular playoff years have been about teams with a history of underachieving getting over the hump in the Caps and Blues.
I think that’s the bit of normalcy we’ll get in the 2020 bubble playoffs. The Lightning will get it done and go to the Cup, but it won’t be easy. Bolts in 7
Kent- Are the Islanders even allowed to win a Stanley Cup without a Sutter in the lineup? The Isles have gotten this far by taking advantage of the mistakes of their opponents, and that’s not going to be as easy against a Tampa Bay team that seems to be on a mission. Did something bad happen to them in the past? Anyway, I think Tampa takes this. Lightning in 6.
Imagine asking us to choose between an entire team of guys who made Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows look like perpetual Lady Byng candidates, or Corey Perry, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin? Lesser of two evils time? Who ya got?
Markus - I think this will be extremely competitive. Two teams that rely on a lot of structure, albeit in different ways. Dallas seems to have learned how to score which makes them formidable, but Vegas truly did dominate Vancouver and only went seven because Thatcher Demko put on the performance of a life time. Ultimately I like Vegas’ offensive depth better, but I think this one goes the distance. Golden Knights in 7
jimmi - uh... this is a little too fresh to call. The Gollum Nights have proven to deserve nothing but scorn and disdain. But Bettman’s Shortcut team seems destined for more fakery. If I had to choose, I’d deport the lot of them. Burst the bubble. Oh... and Stars in 6.
Westy - I think most people would think Vegas is the better team , but I think I will go with a hunch. Imagine Tom Gaglardi’s team winning a Stanley Cup before Francesco’s....that would burn and maybe encourage FA to get moving on winning a cup. Stars in 7
Beggsy - One of the craziest stories of the playoffs has to be how the Stars went from a boring, defensively sound team to one that plays reckless, exciting hockey.
Still, I picked Vegas and Tampa as the Cup finalists on Silky N’ Filthy way back last October....not that it was a bold prediction, but I don’t see it changing. Vegas’s speed ends up overwhelming Dallas as the series progresses. Vegas in 5.
Bailey - The Knights just have too much depth for the Stars to handle. This series will feature a ton of feistiness and will seem a lot closer than Vegas/Vancouver, although it will end quicker. The Canucks, throughout history, also seem to lose to the future Cup champ in the playoff, which the Knights could very well be. Vegas in 6
Kent- God, I really hope I am wrong about this. I want Dallas to win this. Badly. I want nothing but soul-crushing misery for Vegas, who are far more unlikable a team than the 2011 Canucks team the entire hockey world convinced you was so terrible. Dallas will give them a series, but these desert rats are probably going to the finals. Vegas in 7.