It’s chaos time, folks! We’re down to the final four in the playoffs, and none of these teams have seen each other all year, so this is surely going to be... interesting, to put it lightly. The playoffs have been weird so far, and they’re only going to get weirder, it seems. Is it a fool’s errand to try and make any kind of prediction here? Maybe, but that’s certainly not going to stop us from trying.
Maddie: I want to pick the Lightning here, because I think they’re the better team and that should win out and be the end of it. But I also think the Bruins are a better team than the Islanders and should have knocked them out last round, and we saw what happened there. But I'm going to bet on the Lightning, despite my anxiety, because I simply cannot even entertain the possibility of a Cup Final with the Islanders in it. Lightning in six.
Brad: I’m not going to just start picking the Islanders now. As Maddie said, I was banking on a Bruins win — and what would have been a fun Tampa Bay-Boston series — but that didn’t happen. Lightning in six, but with playoff officiating, I’m not at all confident in that pick.
Drew: Lighting in seven games. I think the Islanders are going to be dead set on enacting revenge on Tampa, and they’ll give the defending champions a good run for their money with the way they’ve been playing (which is solely based on committing so many stick infractions that the refs can’t call anything because game management but whatever). I still think, though, that Tampa will win.
Steve: Good lord, are the Islanders actually going to do this? Are the Isles going to the Stanley Cup Final? No, not like this. Not like this...
The Islanders cannot go to the Final. They will not go to the Stanley Cup Final! I can’t see them pulling it off, this Lightning team is just too rich. The Islanders’ style of boring, unwatchable hockey has gotten them further than anyone outside of Long Island had imagined. But, they could go, couldn’t they? I’m picking the Lightning in 7, but I am not making eye contact with you as I say the words.
Eamon: As much as I hate to say it, it feels like the Islanders are the team of destiny this year. Barzal is hot, the goaltending has been outstanding, and as per usual the “let’s commit interference on every play so the refs won’t call it” strategy has worked. The Coliseum is a dump, but it’s been an electric atmosphere and clearly boosts the team at home. Tampa Bay is the better team, but all it takes in a low-event series like the one the Islanders are looking to play are a few bounces. I’ll take New York in seven.
Kelly: If the GODDANG Islanders win this series I will become the joker. Boring, safe hockey vs. dynamic, fun hockey. Fun must win. For all of our sakes. Lightning in 6.
Maddie: I feel like my energy here is pretty similar to the last matchup, in that I’m just really not looking forward to the potential future in which Montreal advances. But anyway. Both teams are coming in with some momentum, and I think the Canadiens could give the Golden Knights some trouble (especially if Carey Price really heats up), but with how Vegas just took care of Colorado, they’re hard to bet against, and I do kind of think Montreal is going to run out of gas at some point. Golden Knights in six.
Brad: OK, I actually want Montreal to advance here, but I cannot pick them to advance here. It’s gotta be Vegas... right? The Canadiens’ Danault line is one of the best in the league at controlling play but the Knights’ overall roster is so much better. Knights in six.
Drew: Canadiens in six. While Vegas’ roster is overall better on paper, Montreal are coming in red hot, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just think it will happen for them.
Steve: Unlike my shaky Lightning prediction, I am much more confident in picking the Las Vegas Golden Knights of Nevada in 6 games. The Canadiens have impressed for sure. This Vegas team is deep and playing terrific hockey. The long three year gap will be finally be broken and the long suffering Vegas fan base will be able to celebrate in a city known for its sober demeanor.
Eamon: I like the Canadiens, but there’s only so long that their run can last. They have quality talents like Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, and the Tatar/Gallagher/Danault trio, but the defense seems a bit slow to deal with the likes of Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and William Karlsson. Vegas is every bit as good at every position, just as deep, and has more star power. If Carey Price continues to stand on his head, this will at least be a competitive series, but he’s gonna have a blooper in here at some point. The Habs are the type of team where I don’t know if they can win a game where Price is mediocre. I’ll take Vegas in six.
Kelly: While the other series is boring vs. fun, this series is totally David vs. Goliath. The Habs have a lot of fun players and rooting for an underdog is fun, so while I know it’s the longest shot, I’m gonna go Habs in 7. For the chaos.