The Road To The Stanley Cup

The Oracle’s 2015 NHL Playoff Predictions

We are now over a week into the NHL playoffs and they have been nothing short of exciting. Here’s a recap of the series so far along with predictions with how they will end up. Let’s start off with the Western Conference.

Pacific 1 Anaheim Ducks vs Wild Card 2 Winnipeg Jets (Ducks Win 4-0)

This series was closer than the record made it seem. Two of the three games were decided by one goal, and the other was only a two goal game. The Jets have been holding their own against the “Mighty Ducks,” but in the end the Ducks were just too deep and too skilled of a team for the young Jets to handle. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler were great in this series for the Ducks. The Ducks have advanced.

– Russell Hartman, A&E editor 

Pacific 2 Vancouver Canucks vs. Pacific 3 Calgary Flames (Calgary Leads 3-1)

As a fan of a team that was on the brink of playoff contention for most of the last month of the season, this playoff series has been nothing less than the most pleasant surprise in years. Spurred on by the speedy efforts of potential Calder winner Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames have become the feisty young team to root for in the Western Conference. After eliminating the Kings from playoff contention on the last day of the season, the Saddledome faithful have seen the most exciting playoff experience from their team since the days of Iginla and the Stanley Cup appearance in 2004. Assuming all goes to plan, I can’t wait for the next round. – Jack O’Brien, copy edior

Central 1 St. Louis Blues vs. Wild Card 1 Minnesota Wild (2-2) 

The Wild have been running through the NHL since acquiring goaltender Devan Dubnyk a few months ago. Their defense is rock solid led by Ryan Suter and they have great offensive depth led by Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. The Blues seem to not be able to turn it up during the playoffs, and they are looking like they might be eliminated in the first round again. For the Blues to have any chance this series they need utilize the talent they have and do it fast. If they don’t it will soon be time for golfing in St. Louis. – Russell Hartman

Central 2 Nashville Predators vs Central 3 Chicago Blackhawks (Blackhawks lead 3-1)

The Predators were great all season. They had solid goaltending, they were scoring and they looked to be a threat in the postseason. Only problem is that they ran into the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. The Blackhawks are one of the best postseason teams in the league and they know what it takes to win the Stanley Cup. They’ve won it twice in the past five years. Sorry Preds fans, this series is over. The Blackhawks will advance.

Russell Hartman 

Metropolitan 1 New York Rangers vs. Wild Card 2 Pittsburgh Penguins (Rangers Lead 3-1)

The New York Rangers know they will be judged on how they perform this postseason, and they are doing an awesome job so far. They are only one win away from the conference semi-finals with two games left in New York City. The Penguins will definitely make a push to win the series no doubt, and anything can happen in the playoffs but at this point, it’s the Rangers series to lose.  –Russell Hartman 

Metropolitan 2 Washington Capitals vs. Metropolitan 3 New York Islanders (Series tied 2-2)

With their final season at the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders are looking to make history on Long Island one last time. With the team on his back, Islanders Captain John Tavares sent the home crowd home happy scoring 15 seconds into overtime to win Game Three. The key for the Islanders is to keep Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin in check. Ovechkin can shoot the puck from anywhere. As long as the Islanders can keep the forechecking and hustle up, they have a great chance to win the series and advance. Washington’s overtime goal by Nicklas Backstrom in Game Four to tie the series at two games apiece was crucial to the Capitals hopes of advancing alive. Any team going up three games to one is not a good situation for the trailing team. My prediction is the Islanders will win in six games, if they can take the Capitals home crowd out of the game in Game Five.

Melissa Kramer, sports editor

Atlantic 1 Montreal Canadiens vs. Wild Card 1 Ottawa Senators (Canadiens lead 3-1)

The Senators came into the playoffs as the hottest team in hockey. Sports Illustrated named them as one of the five best team’s in their pre-playoff power rankings. However, this series has been marked by the dominant play of the Habs, who have matched the energy and passion of Ottawa with an impressive defensive front. Carey Price and P.K. Subban, superstars in their own right, have not disappointed in the face of a team based on momentum. While Ottawa might snag a close game here or there, Montreal has their eyes set on another deep run in this year’s playoffs.  –Jack O’Brien

Atlantic 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Atlantic 3 Detroit Red Wings (Red Wings lead 2-1)

This matchup was intriguing from the very start with both teams solid in every area. Both have good defense, good goaltending and have forwards who can score. Although Detroit is up in the series at the moment, it is still anyones series so far. This is the one first round series that has a very very good chance of going all seven games. Since there has to be a prediction, here it is: Lightning in seven.

Russell Hartman