2020 NHL playoff bracket: Who wins the Stanley Cup?
The National Hockey League playoffs are here!
The NHL did a wonderful job of keeping the players safe and secure in the bubble leading up to the post-season. The league has gone weeks without a positive COVID-19 test. The first week of testing in Phase 4 of the return-to-play protocol, produced zero positive tests out of 7,703 of them. Those numbers have continued to improve and that means everyone is COVID-free for the playoffs. All that’s left to do is investigate the 2020 NHL playoff bracket and pick a Stanley Cup Champion.
The top sportsbooks have posted the NHL playoffs odds and not much has changed leading up to the puck drop of the postseason. According to the 2020 Stanley Cup Odds to win the Vegas Golden Knights (+450) and the Colorado Avalanche (+5500) lead the way as favorites. The Chicago Blackhawks (+3300) and the Montreal Canadiens (+3000) are longshots to win the hardware.
NHL playoff predictions
Now that we have the odds and we have an NHL playoffs TV schedule handy, it’s time to make our NHL playoff predictions. We picked an underdog to watch, a team on the rise, and our pick for the team that will be crowned Stanley Cup champions.
The team on the rise…..
The team on the rise is the Philadelphia Flyers. They clinched the top seed in the East and dominated every opponent in the round-robin phase. They outscored the three top teams in the East 11-3 and look unstoppable. Overall the Flyers have done well against the teams remaining in the field.
Including round robin and regular season, Flyers are 17-6-3 vs. seven remaining teams in East playoff field:
2. Lightning — 1-2-0
3. Capitals — 4-0-1
4. Bruins — 3-1-0
5. Hurricanes — 3-0-1
6. Islanders — 0-2-1
7. Blue Jackets — 4-0-0
8. Canadiens — 2-1-0
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 11, 2020
Carey Price has a 1.67 goals-against average and can steal a game for Montreal, but the Flyers will cruise in the first round. If there is a team on the rise to keep an eye on it is the Flyers.
The underdog to watch….
The underdog to watch is the Boston Bruins. The Bruins were considered by many to be the best team in the NHL for most of the season. When hockey returned the Bruins went flat and had trouble winning. They lost the top seed and they were 0-3 in the seeding round. The power-play unit went 0-for-9 in three games and they had 1 point combined from Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. Goalie Tuukka Rask said the seeding games were just an opportunity “to shake the rust off” before the “real hockey.” Forward Brad Marchand called them “preseason games.” The Bruins have the talent to turn things around and the nice odds make this team the underdog to watch.
UPDATE: Bruins announce that Tuukka Rask is opting out of the NHL bubble
The Bruins bet looks a little more concerning after the announcement that Tuukka Rask is opting out of the NHL bubble.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 15, 2020
And your Stanley Cup champion is…..
The Tampa Bay Lightning has revenge in the first round of the playoffs against Columbus. A 62 win team was swept and embarrassed a year ago and they will make short work of Columbus who defeated the Maple Leafs in five games. This team is loaded with talent in Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to take on any team. They do have some injury concerns with Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, but they can beat Columbus while the stars rest. Tampa Bay is our pick to be 2020 Stanley Cup champs!