Disclaimer: we actually all wrote this before last night’s games, so forgive us our overestimation of Tampa.
Who do you wish was in the playoffs and isn’t?
Fulemin: If I have to pick one? Philadelphia. They have a knack for ending up in games that end 7-6 or whatever, and that’s something I value.
Arvind: If we’re talking teams that were reasonably close to making it, I guess the Coyotes would be fun and help that fanbase and franchise out.
Species: I wish TSN was in on the playoffs.
seldo: Montreal. Yes, I know, but it makes their first round pick worse and they would get to be stomped by the Lightning.
Katya: My like to watch team is the Flyers, but I’m going with Vancouver. They lucked around near the top of the Pacific for a while, and them making the playoffs and then imploding would have destroyed souls.
nafio: France. Oh, wait there’s NHL hockey. Can I just say Connor McDavid by himself? If not, I suppose the Oilers.
Hardev: Part of me really wanted to see the Buffalo Sabres get destroyed by Tampa in four games. I guess Columbus is cool, too.
Who do you wish had got beat out on the last day in a heartbreaking and/or hilarious way?
Fulemin: Habs. Always.
Arvind: The only thing funnier than the Oilers entire season would be if the Oilers missed out on the last day. Alternatively, I would love an angry Jack Eichel tantrum if they got beat out for a playoff spot on the last day.
Species: I wonder if Eichel would then fire himself as the GM?
Brigstew: Dammit, I was gonna say Montreal or Edmonton.
Katya: Buffalo, for sure.
nafio: Habs, always and forever.
Hardev: Just to be different, watching the Islanders go winless to end the season and get knocked out of the playoffs on the final day would’ve been some sweet sweet snake oil.
There was a claim on the five-hour draft lottery show that the first round is all close matches, which is likely not true. Which matchup is the most lopsided?
Fulemin: Not gonna overthink this one: I don’t see the Jackets hanging in long against TB unless Bobrovsky goes bananas on them.
Arvind: Obvious answer is TB - Columbus. Obvious second answer is Calgary - Colorado.
Brigstew: Those poor Bruins don’t know what’s about to hit them.
Species: So long, Torts.
seldo: I’m going to say Vegas/San Jose. Those Sharks can not be trusted in the playoffs. This postseason will see many of those big contracts come back to bite them.
nafio: Tampa vs Columbus is such an obvious answer it’ll probably be wrong.
Hardev: Did you know Columbus is the only NHL franchise to never win a playoff series?
Is there an underdog out there who is going to stage an early upset?
Fulemin: Carolina. I believe in the Corsi Gods now.
Arvind: Because God hates us, you know the Islanders are somehow sweeping the Penguins.
Brigstew: I do want Carolina to go deep and make a lot of Hockey Men(TM) angry.
Species: There really isn’t. There’s a few toss up matches in the first round, like the Jets and Blues, but I expect the playoffs to go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final exactly as the odds say it should.
seldo: There’s not really an underdog in the playoffs aside from the Hurricanes, so no, there will not be an upset.
Katya: Carolina is my choice of who I want to do it. Vegas is going to kick the Sharks out to sea, but that’s not really an upset.
nafio: I agree, there’s not anyone who’s really an underdog, but even without the surge I want the Canes to make it.
Hardev: Colorado because Calgary somehow feels like playing Mike Smith in net is a good idea.
Is there one series you want to see end in a brutal four-game sweep just for the laughs (no not that one, someone else)?
Fulemin: You know it has to be Pittsburgh cleaning out the Isles.
Arvind: The Blues just running through the Jets would bring me a lot of joy.
Brigstew: The Bruins! (Re-reads the qualifier to the question). Fine... I guess the Capitals. Fuck Tom Wilson.
Species: All of the above are great, but those smug Golden Knights fans need a lesson on how a 31 team NHL really works. I can’t wait to see how the attendance drop when they miss the playoffs seven years in a row, if they aren’t already relocated to Quebec City by then.
seldo: The Penguins beating down the Islanders, with at least one game seeing them hanging double digits on the Coliseum scoreboard.
Katya: I wanted Columbus to miss because I’m just evil like that, so they can go in four shutouts. They’re going, anyway.
nafio: I want the Stars to sweep Nashville just so Benn and Seguin can continue to mock their owner.
Hardev: Winnipeg ripping off the mask, yelling “Surprise!” and destroying the Blues would turn a lot of Twitter heads.
Who is coming out of the west and the east?
Fulemin: I know this is a boring choice but Tampa Bay and Calgary. TB is the best team I’ve seen in a long while and while Calgary is pretty flawed, so is everyone else in the west.
Arvind: St. Louis and Tampa Bay.
Brigstew: The Leafs, obviously, and San Jose I guess.
Species: A Flames vs. Leafs final would be great simply for the meltdown NBC executives would have to fulfill their contractual obligation to air those games in prime-time with zero Americans watching them.
seldo: I’ve never been a giant homer before * cough * but I have to say Leafs in the East, and the Blues from the west.
Katya: Tampa has to lose the east before anyone else could win it, and I don’t see it happening. The west is going to be the Blues if Binnington keeps on Winnington or Vegas if he doesn’t.
nafio: Leafs in the east, Knights in the west.
Hardev: the Blue and White team with that #91 I like in the East and Nashville in the West.
Which player is getting the playoff suspension that will outrage the masses for being too short/too long?
Fulemin: The only reason I’m not picking Tom Wilson here is because it’s too obvious. But I’m going to say Evgeni Malkin.
Arvind: Gabriel Landeskog.
Brigstew: Well it won’t be Tom Wilson because he never gets suspended in the playoffs until at least his seventh murder, so I’ll say Kadri.
Species: Bruins fans will be outraged over Nazem Kadri getting a $3,500 fine, “the maximum allowed per the CBA,” and not a four game suspension for something which Leafs fans will be outraged he was even given a penalty for in the game by the officials.
seldo: Malkin will Malkin it up when the Penguins play the Capitals in round two. It won’t be anything serious, but enough to make people rabble rabble rabble.
Katya: Someone on the Blue Jackets, likely Foligno, is going to “get the boys going” by trying to break Point in half.
Hardev: I feel like we could get a lot of controversy around Micheal Ferland. People (at Sportsnet) called him the next Tom Wilson, so we’ll see how right they are.
Which goalie is just going to hilariously implode like Pekka Rinne that one time?
Fulemin: Can you implode if you’re not built to begin with? Because that’s Martin Jones at this point.
Arvind: Whichever sad excuse for a goalie is in the Flames net.
Species: Oh, yes. Mike Smith. He will be their undoing but the media will blame Johnny Gaudreau for not scoring enough so the Flames could win every game 8-7.
Brigstew: There is no goalie who implodes more hilariously than Tuukka Rask.
seldo: Tuukka Rask will hurl all the milk crates of pucks.
Katya: Binnington might be the most likely, or Rinne himself, but I’m going with Mike Smith.
Hardev: Don’t tell me the blowback from the racist comments Jordan Binnington made isn’t going to rattle him. He didn’t handle his press conference very well at all.
Which fourth liner is going to be Ryan Reaves this year and score, score, punch, and score?
Fulemin: Tyler Ennis is gonna fight David Backes in Game 4 and absolutely kick his ass. Be honest, you know you want to see it.
Arvind: It’s Gauthier time, bitches.
Brigstew: Petan’s gonna show up just in the Nic of time.
Species: ROMAN POLAK FOR THE CONN SMYTHE!
seldo: I can’t name another team’s fourth line, so it’s the Leafs baby!
Katya: You guys haven’t studied the fourth lines of the NHL? Huh. Adam Erne seems like a really good choice to me.
Hardev: “It’s Gauthier time, bitches.” - Arvind