Friday, October 09, 2015

The Peerless Prognosticator Presents: Your 2015-2016 NHL Postseason and Award Prognostos

Now that we have our divisional prognostos out of the way, it’s time to get right down to it.  Who is going to win the Stanley Cup?

Round 1

The Metro will send five teams to the dance, which means Columbus will get the pleasure of being pasted by Tampa Bay in the first round.  The only upset in the East is a mild one.  Detroit will end Montreal’s season.  Meanwhile, the Caps and the Islanders meet again.  This time, no seven game suspense.  The Caps advance…let’s say in six.

Over in the West, we’re picking a more robust upset.  Minnesota will defeat Chicago in the opening round.  The most entertaining series, though, might be Los Angeles and San Jose.  From 2011 through 2014, these two met in the postseason three times, the Kings winning twice.  Make it thrice.

Round 2

For seven years, NHL fans have wanted to see a rematch of the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the postseason.  In 2016 they get it.  Pittsburgh has Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel, but the Caps have a deeper roster, better defense, and better goaltending.  They will make surprisingly short work of the Pens.  In the other bracket, the Lightning methodically deconstruct the Red Wings.  If it goes five, it will be a surprise.

In the West, the upstart Wild add another year of postseason disappointment to the St. Louis Blues, who find that leaning so hard on Vladimir Tarasenko has its limits.  He can’t score all the goals.  In the other series, the Ducks and Kings meet for just the second time ever.  The first was in 2014, when Los Angeles beat Anaheim in seven games.  The Ducks return the favor this time.

Conference Finals

The two deepest, most skilled teams at both ends of the ice – Tampa Bay and Washington – will meet for the chance to go to the Finals out of the East. Tampa has been here before, just one year earlier.  The Caps have not been this far into a playoff tournament since 1998.  Washington will be the underdog here, but they are going to advance on superior goaltending and “sticking to the script.”

Meanwhile, Anaheim will get to face Minnesota in the Western Conference final.  It would be easy for the Ducks to peek past the Wild, and this will cause them problems.  This series will go further than expected, but the Ducks will paddle their way on. 

Stanley Cup Finals

This is really the series folks want to see.  Not another Chicago or Los Angeles team playing an “Original Six” team from the East.  Nope, it’s Caps-Ducks.  Bruce Boudreau coaching against the team that gave him his NHL start and for which he won a Jack Adams Award.  Alex Ovechkin wanting to silence critics who say he can’t stand up to the pressure of big games.

Anaheim has lost in progressively deeper rounds the past three years – the first round in 2013, the second round in 2014, and the conference final in 2015.  This year, they lose in the Cup final.

Washington Capitals – Stanley Cup Champions

(yeah, yeah…we’ve been here before


And now…the end-of-season awards

Calder Trophy (top rookie)
  1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton
  2. Jack Eichel, Buffalo
  3. Sam Bennett, Calgary

James Norris Trophy (top defenseman)
  1. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay
  2. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa
  3. P.K. Subban, Montreal

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
  1. Braden Holtby, Washington
  2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville
  3. Carey Price, Montreal

Selke Trophy (top defensive forward)
  1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston
  2. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles
  3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago

Art Ross Trophy (leading scorer)
  1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
  2. Tyler Seguin, Dallas
  3. John Tavares, New York Islanders

Maurice Richard Trophy (leading goal scorer)
  1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington
  2. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
  3. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis

Hart Trophy (most valuable player to his team)
  1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington
  2. John Tavares, New York Islanders
  3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

Ted Lindsay Award (outstanding player)
  1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington
  2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
  3. John Tavares, New York Islanders

Jack Adams Award (top coach)
  1. Mike Yeo, Minnesota
  2. Barry Trotz, Washington
  3. Todd Richards, Columbus

Conn Smythe Trophy (most valuable player, postseason)
  1. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington

And there you have it, our prognostos for the 2015-2015 season.  Just remember…don’t do this at home, kids.  And don’t wager cash money on these picks (that’s my job).

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