I never make it past the first round but the Bracket Challenge is fun anyway. I make two brackets every year, one based on facts and statistics, and the other based on intuition. However, both brackets led to the same result: the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup. I know, I know. I’ve joked about them not making it out of the second round for years and they may actually do it this time. I think they’re due for their first Cup in franchise history and Alexander Ovechkin needs a Cup on his already-impressive resume; they might actually have the team to do it.
This is my not-so-fun bracket (it’s called my boring bracket); it’s based on head-to-head matchups this season, any major injuries, etc. A few teams (Chicago, for example) won season series against their opponents 3-1-0, or 4-1-0 but every single matchup intrigues me. They should all be hard-fought and gritty series. I see Edmonton/San Jose going to a game 7 and possibly Pittsburgh/Columbus as well. In a dream world, Montreal beats New York in four games.
I’m definitely looking more forward to those Western Conference matchups than the Eastern Conference ones, however.
And this is my fun bracket.
I really, really like Calgary and I think they can go far too. San Jose has a few major injuries in Logan Couture and Joe Thornton but I think Edmonton has the edge here. I’d love to see Chicago get knocked out in the first round for the second year in a row, especially because I like what I’ve seen from Nashville and I think they can beat Chicago. I also like what I’ve seen from Minnesota and that series could go long and either way, but I’d love to see Tarasenko win a Cup soon. Edmonton/San Jose will probably be my favorite Western Conference series to watch.
As much as I don’t want New York to go far, they probably will because they have a knack for making it into the late rounds of the playoffs and falling apart. Boston looks good and I think they’ll beat Ottawa but fall to the Rangers. Ottawa seems like the least-ready for the playoffs to me. I also think people aren’t giving Toronto enough credit. I don’t think they’ll beat the Capitals but I think they’ll surprise people. At the end of the day, they’re a young team and they’ll get playoff experience. They’ll win a Cup soon enough. But my favorite Eastern Conference matchup is Pittsburgh and Columbus. I think Pittsburgh still holds an edge even with all of their injuries but it would be unwise to underestimate them in any capacity.
And with that said, I see Washington finally winning the Cup this year. Their team is poised to win so I guess we’ll find out. In all honesty, I’d love to see the Flames win, or a team that has never won a Cup (Minnesota, St. Louis, San Jose, Nashville, Columbus, and Washington). The fact that six teams in the playoffs have never won the Cup is astonishing but also amazing. And there are teams I definitely don’t want winning the Cup but I won’t divulge that information.
It’ll be a fun couple of months!