We’ve made our way through the eight qualifying series, and to make sure that no one feels left out, we’re going to shift gears and make some predictions on the round robins. It may only be seeding at stake here, but with the top teams in the league set to be facing off, we’re going to have some fun on-ice products on deck. And what are we expecting out of them? Let’s discuss.
Stats below are at 5-on-5 and via Natural Stat Trick.
No. 1 Boston Bruins: 44-14-12. 57.32 GF%. 50.85 CF%
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning: 43-21-6. 57.04 GF%. 52.25 CF%
No. 3 Washington Capitals: 41-20-8. 52.35 GF%. 51.60 CF%
No. 4 Philadelphia Flyers: 41-21-7. 53.31 GF%. 51.02 CF%
Drew: I think it finishes with the Bruins on top, followed by the Flyers in second, Capitals third, and Lightning in fourth. The Bruins were easily the best team in hockey throughout the year, and their top line is scary good. I think the Flyers will finish second because before the pause, they were right up there with Boston in terms of form. Of course, that was months ago, but still I think the Flyers can keep up. With the way this team has surprised us this year, they’re certainly capable. The Lightning will finish behind the Capitals only because I don’t quite trust that Tampa has the gear to turn things up in the postseason. I’m most excited to see how the Flyers matchup against these opponents, since they’ve said they aren’t looking at these games in a do-or-die manner. If they can still regardless show up and hold their own, I’ll be going into the first round viewing with bated optimism.
Brad: I feel like, in general, the Capitals are looked at as the weakest of the group so I’m going the opposite route. The Flyers beat the Bruins and the Lightning, the Capitals shock and win out, and the Bruins beat the Lightning. Tampa Bay gets their losses out of the way early and get going once the playoffs start. Final order: WSH, PHI, BOS, TB.
Ryan G.: This is going to be an interesting tournament. Alain Vigneault has already said that he’ll use these three games to help determine his lineup for the actual playoffs, so we could see three different lineups from the Flyers. Other teams could do the same. I think each team’s first game will determine how they view their final two matchups. If a team wins and can get hot, they can grab the top seed. I think the Flyers win their first two games, but then lose to the Lightning, who win all three of their games. That would put Tampa Bay at the top, the Flyers at No. 2, and I’ll give the Capitals the edge over the Bruins for the other two seeds.
Maddie: This sure is going to be interesting! I think it would be pretty easy to come into this one and assume that, because of their regular season success, the Bruins will come out and clean up in the round robin. But I’m watching them right now in their exhibition game and they look all kinds of out of sorts. I think I like the Lightning to come out and win the top seed. I also think a lot of these games are going to end up being pretty close, and I’m honestly excited to watch all of these games, not just the ones the Flyers play in. My shot in the dark final order: TB, PHI, BOS, WSH.
Kelly: Holy moly the Bruins looked baaaaaaaaad in their practice game. I’m not sure it’s smart for one’s mental health to assume that they’ll continue to be that bad, but I’m thinking they don’t come out on top. I’ve been thinking a lot about how the Flyers will go in this tourney and less about how everything will shake out, so I’ll start there. Given that AV has pretty clearly said he’s going to be working out the final lineup through these games, I am kind of expecting the first two Flyers’ games to be a little wonky as they settle into the optimal lineup. Wonky doesn’t mean a loss, though, and though I’m trying so dang hard not to be an overly optimistic homer here I think the Flyers go 2-1 (W-W-L imo) and finish second to Tampa, who I’m thinking wins on the back of a stellar performance in goal and also jfc Brayden Point can score goals. Then Boston, then the Caps. Go Flyers.
No. 1 St. Louis Blues: 42-19-10. 55.60 GF%. 50.79 CF%
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche: 42-20-8. 58.48 GF%. 51.60 CF%
No. 3 Vegas Golden Knights: 39-24-8. 51.02 GF%. 54.76 CF%
No. 4 Dallas Stars: 37-24-8. 49.54 GF%. 49.48 CF%
Drew: Hear me out please....Vegas sweeps the three games and makes it to the Stanley Cup Final. If there’s any season for the Golden Knights’ mystery magic to show up again, it’s this one. Realistically, they could very well lose to Colorado, who have some scary good top end talent in Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar. However, I’m holding to my prediction and stating that Vegas top the group, followed by Colorado, St. Louis, and Dallas.
Brad: St. Louis retains the top spot, Vegas jumps up to second, Colorado takes third, and Dallas stays in fourth. Because I said so.
Ryan G.: The Avalanche are going to be scary with a healthy team. Most of their key players missed some time due to injury this season and they were still only a few points behind the Blues. The Golden Knights look pretty good as well. Let’s go Avalanche, Golden Knights, Blues, then the Stars.
Maddie: The one thing I feel pretty confident about here is that Dallas is going to wind up fourth in the standings. No disrespect, but the three other teams in this grouping are just so good. Really, I could see any one of them coming out hot and cleaning up, and I think that makes this round robin seem extra fun? But, gun to my head, I guess I can make a prediction. They looked a little shaky in their exhibition game, but I really like the Avalanche this season. I think they’re my pick for the first seed, then Vegas, then St. Louis, then Dallas. So Ryan, hello.
Kelly: I can’t be bothered to care about the West just yet but I’m going Avs, Blues, VGK, Stars. Rooting hard for an Avalanche - Flyers final. Let’s go.