How do you feel about Leafs vs Habs?
Fulemin: Anyone who picks the Habs to beat the Leafs is counting on some sort of mental fragility on the part of the Leafs, or an eternal curse. Toronto has been definitively better all year. As much as I too am super worried about the brains/magic thing: Leafs in six.
Brigstew: The Leafs should win. The Leafs SHOULD win. The Leafs should WIN. THE LEAFS SHOULD WIN.
Katya: I think this is a big opportunity for the team. Getting Montreal in the first round is ideal, and their goal shouldn’t be to just play well or focus on their own game or any other conservative coach talk bull. They should be brutally efficient and dominate the Canadiens to the full extent of their power. They should play them like they are the Boston Bruins and need to be annihilated. They should overwhelm them with skill and laugh in the face of their “most hits in the galaxy” persona.
Species: This series is an easy win if they want it. If they don’t win it some serious shake-ups are both needed and will happen.
Arvind: The Leafs are the better team and should be the favourites. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee anything in playoff hockey. We could be playing the remains of the Buffalo Sabres and I still wouldn’t be that confident. Too much can go wrong in playoff hockey for bold declarations that we’ll for sure win. But as Katya says, this is a big opportunity. Montreal is among the weakest playoff teams this year, especially if you think they’re anywhere near as bad as they’ve shown over the last six weeks. They’re not without their strengths, and I expect they’ll be better than they’ve shown recently, but it’s not really going to get any easier.
Hardev: The Leafs will win, and you can blame me for jinxing it if they don’t. Four games, let’s sweep ‘em.
Seldo: I can't wait for everyone who was all in on the Habs to be juggernauts and go all the way this season to eat shit. I want my rage to be vindicated.
Will you watch the Edmonton/Winnipeg contest?
Fulemin: During intermissions. I really don’t like how the Jets play hockey and to be blunt I want Connor McDavid to rip them apart. Him scoring ten points in a four-game sweep would be fun, even if it’ll give Oilers Twitter something else to crow about while they try to convince us we should give the Selke to Draisaitl or some such nonsense.
Brigstew: In parts, if only to see if McDavid sets records for points in a single playoff series.
Katya: Likely some, yes. I have a weak grasp on what exactly the Oilers are as a team. So much of Leafs fantalk about them is of the har har you bad sort of thing, that isn’t helpful. Their games against the Leafs were such a weird mixed bag of low-event grind or total blowout, I’d like to see them play against a team that’s much easier to understand in the Jets — a bad one with two good forwards and a great goalie.
Species: I watch all the games. What else would I do these days?
Arvind: If the Leafs are leading their series, yes. If we are not, then I will pretend hockey doesn’t exist and just start randomly blogging about soccer and F1.
Hardev: Ditto on that F1 blogging thing. I’ll try to watch if Edmonton is losing (it’s a special pleasure to see Barrie suffering) and maybe the last game of the series to eye up the competition.
Seldo: I usually watch a lot of playoffs so probably. Unless I'm super tired, or my wife wants to watch something else, or my kids want to play Ultimate Chicken Horse on the Switch.
What about other divisions, are you going to watch?
Fulemin: Not closely. Tampa Bay and Florida should be a good series and yet I can’t escape the feeling that at some point Tampa will shout “just kidding” and break the Panthers into tiny little bits. I’m never watching an Isles game unless the Leafs are playing or I’m being paid to do so, and the really good series in the west looks slated for Round Two (Colorado-Vegas.)
Brigstew: The 2 vs 3 matchups all look real fun. Boston vs Washington could be a bloodbath, and Chara being on Washington now will not be funny to be if he follows his historical playoff M.O. Florida and Tampa are both exciting teams that seem to actually hate each other. Colorado vs Minnesota are also two pretty fun teams, the latter more surprisingly so.
Katya: I’ve almost entirely ignored the East division, so I’m not even sure if Pittsburgh or Washington are good or just as good as each other, but usually first round matchups don’t tell you much. Maybe the second round. I’ve intentionally watched Florida play, and I don’t know how they do it. So that series might be worth a look.
Species: Further to my answer to the previous question, I love the first round. It’s so sloppy and emotional and it’s fun to check in on the other fanbases and watch the meltdowns over losses and officiating and all that good stuff.
Arvind: The first round is a ton of fun, so I’ll try to watch. Again, this assumes the Leafs don’t make me want to forget hockey exists. Florida vs Tampa Bay is going to be interesting, and both of the east playoff matchups are tossups. In the West, it’s hard to root against the seemingly inevitable Vegas - Colorado matchup, because that would be really great hockey.
Hardev: I’ll be watching the Lightning as much as I can for Raw Charge, and the Avalanche a couple times for Mile High Hockey. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Taylor Hall highlights because I hate myself.
Seldo: Same answer. Hockey's good background TV.
Name your final four: North, East, Central, West.
Fulemin: Toronto (gulp), Boston (sigh), Tampa Bay (shrug) and Colorado (whee.)
Brigstew: Toronto, Pittsburgh, Florida, and Colorado.
Katya: Toronto, Pittsburgh (I have no idea, I just refuse to say Boston), Tampa, Vegas
Species: Toronto, Pittsburgh, Florida, St. Louis (see, we’re not a hive mind... OK fine I actually think it’s Colorado)
Arvind: Toronto (~35% chance of making it this far), Boston (~30%), Carolina (~40% chance), Vegas (~35% chance)
Hardev: Toronto (let’s roll), Pittsburgh (Sid’s back, baby), Carolina (I’m not sure Tampa has the same fire as last year, they might even lose to Florida), Colorado (President’s Trophy winners)
Seldo: Leafs, Panthers, Bruins, Knights.
Now it’s your turn, give us your final four.