Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions: Round 1

Columbus at Pittsburgh

At the end of the day, I'll always bet on talent. The Penguins are clearly more talented and dangerous and arguably as deep as the Jackets. Columbus has had a great season, but they are getting screwed by the NHL's playoff format. Vegas has Columbus with the fifth best odds to win the Cup. I think they got the number 5 right. That's how many games I think it will take the Pens to dispatch the BJs. It won't be an easy series, for sure, but unless Bobrovsky is out of his mind, the Penguins will quickly prove to be the better team. Pens in 5

Toronto at Washington

I don't think this series will be as much fun or as lengthy as I (or Penguins' fans) would like it to be. The Leafs are in the playoffs for the first time since, like Austin Mathews was born. They are entertaining as hell and the Air Canada Centre might explode for games 3 & 4, but the Caps are too good. The crowd will help the Leafs win a game at home, but they will be golfing the end of next week. Caps in 5

New York Rangers at Montreal

Carey Price as been Carey Price since Claude Julien came to town. Henrik Lundqvist just finished a season with the lowest save percentage, fewest shutouts and highest GAA of his career. This is a series where goaltending can and will tip the balance. Montreal's stingy defense against the Rangers high-scoring offense. It's the playoffs. Take the D. I see a reverse of the 2014 Eastern Conference Final. Habs in 6

Boston at Ottawa

Boston is the only lower-seeded team that is favored in Vegas. Everybody loves the Bruins, who are back in the playoffs for the first time in three years, even though the Senators won the season series 4-0-0. The Senators completely changed their approach this year and it paid off big time. I'll take Boucher over Cassidy behind the bench so give me Ottawa in 6

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