Predicting the Qualifying Rounds

In this post, I will predict each qualifying round matchup, along with the round robins. I will use the losers from this post to run a simulation to see who gets the #1 pick and do a mock draft. I will also use the winners from this post to predict the playoffs further.

The Top Seed Round Robin


The St Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche have reached this stage.

Predictions for each game

St Louis 5, Dallas 1

Colorado 4, Vegas 3 (OT)

St Louis 3, Colorado 2 (SO)

Vegas 4, Dallas 2

Vegas 3, St Louis 2 (OT)

Dallas 3, Colorado 1


1- St Louis 2-0-1, 5 points, Wins tiebreaker by Regular Season

2-Vegas 2-0-1, 5 points

3-Colorado 1-1-1, 3 points

4-Dallas 1-2-0, 2 points


The Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers have reached this stage

Predictions for each game

Boston 4, Tampa 3 (OT)

Washington 5, Philadelphia 2

Boston 5, Washington 3

Tampa 3, Philadelphia 1

Boston 3, Philadelphia 1

Tampa 4, Washington 3 (OT)


1-Boston 3-0-0, 6 points

2-Tampa 2-0-1, 5 points

3-Washington 1-1-1, 3 points

4-Philadelphia 0-3-0, 0 points


Goaltending is always important come playoff time, but never this important. Goaltenders can make or break the round robin and qualifiers.

In the eastern round robin, Tuukka Rask and Andrei Vasilevskiy are both elite goaltenders who have to prove that they can win a championship. How will young Carter Hart face the stress of playoff hockey for the first time, especially far from the friendly confines of Broad Street, where he has struggled away from. In Washington, a goaltender controversy approaches. Do the Capitals go with veteran Braden Holtby, or rookie phenom Ilya Samsonov?

In the west, Jordan Binnington must prove he is not a fluke and is well deserving among the game’s elite. Marc Andre Fleury and Ben Bishop are veteran elite tendies, but they both have capable backups if they fail. Also, does Colorado go with Pavel Francouz or Phillip Grubauer?

In the eastern qualifiers, Sergei Bobrovsky is the man of focus. Can Bobrovsky shake off a bad first season in Florida, and help the Panthers avenge their heartbreaking 2016 playoff loss to the Islanders? Can Carey Price turn back the clock and lead Montreal to a massive upset against the Penguins? Do the Islanders go with Thomas Greiss, who has dominated the Panthers in his career, or do they go with their starter Seymon Varlamov? Do the Penguins keep the upstart Tristan Jarry or do they go with experience in Matt Murray? Can Petr Mrazek withstand Artemi Panarin’s blitz? Can Frederick Anderson lead the Leafs not only past the qualifiers, but in a long playoff run? Does John Tortorella go with Elvis Merzlinkins or Joonas Korpisalo? Does Dan Quinn give Henrik Lundqvist the chance, due to experience, or does he go with Georgiev or Shesterikin?

In the western qualifiers, the focus is on Connor Hellebyuck. Can the Veznia favorite lead the Jets past the Flames or will David Ritticch prove himself as a true #1 goalie and outduel Hellebyuck? Are Jacob Markstrom and Darcy Kuemper for real? Does Corey Crawford still have the magic in him to shutdown the league’s two best forwards? Can Pekka Rinnie keep Juuse Saros at bay and redeem himself?

The Western Conference

(5) Edmonton vs (12) Chicago

Players to Watch: Connor McDavid, Leon Draitsaitl, Patrick Kane

Season Series: Chicago 2-1

X-Factors: Dominik Kubalik (CHI), James Neal (EDM)

Offense: Edmonton; Defense: Edmonton; Goaltending: Chicago; Coaching: Edmonton; Experience: Chicago; Special Teams: Edmonton

Edmonton in 4

(6) Nashville vs (11) Arizona

Players to Watch: Taylor Hall (ARZ), Roman Josi (NSH)

Season Series: Tied 1-1

X-Factors: Matt Duchene (NSH), Connor Garland (ARZ)

Offense: Even, Defense: NSH, Goaltending: Even, Coaching: NSH, Experience: NSH, Special Teams: ARZ

Nashville in 4

(7) Vancouver vs (10) Minnesota

Players to Watch: Zach Parise (MIN), Elias Pettersson (VAN)

Season Series: Minnesota 2-1

X-Factors: Matt Dumba (MIN), Brock Boeser (VAN)

Offense: VAN, Defense: Even, Goaltending: VAN, Coaching: VAN, Experience: MIN, Special Teams: VAN

Vancouver in 3

(8) Calgary vs (9) Winnipeg

Players to Watch: Mark Gioradano (CGY), Connor Hellebyuck (WPG)

Season Series: Winnipeg 1-0

X-Factors: Patrik Laine (WPG), Matthew Tkachuk (CGY)

Offense: Even, Defense: CGY, Goaltending: WPG, Coaching: WPG, Experience: WPG, Special Teams: CGY

Winnipeg in 5

Western Conference 1st Round

(1) St Louis vs (9) Winnipeg

(2) Vegas vs (7) Vancouver

(3) Colorado vs (6) Nashville

(4) Dallas vs (5) Edmonton

The Eastern Conference

(5) Pittsburgh vs (12) Montreal

Players to Watch: Sidney Crosby (PIT), Carey Price (MTL)

Season Series: Pittsburgh 2-1

X-Factors: Jared McCann (PIT), Jeff Petry (MTL)

Offense: PIT, Defense: PIT, Goaltending: MTL, Coaching: Even, Experience: PIT, Special Teams: PIT

Pittsburgh in 4

(6) Carolina vs (11) NY Rangers

Players to Watch: Sebastian Aho (CAR), Artemi Panarin (NYR)

Season Series: Rangers 4-0

X-Factors: Vincent Trocheck (CAR), Tony DeAngelo (NYR)

Offense: Even, Defense: CAR, Goaltending: NYR, Coaching: Even, Experience: CAR, Special Teams: CAR

NY Rangers in 5

(7) NY Islanders vs (10) Florida

Players to Watch: Sergei Bobrovsky (FLA), Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA), Mathew Barzal (NYI)

Season Series: Islanders 3-0

X-Factors: Noel Acciari (FLA), Jean Gabriel-Pageau (NYI), Adam Pelech (NYI)

Offense: FLA, Defense: NYI, Goaltending: Even, Coaching: Even, Experience: NYI, Special Teams: FLA

Note: More in depth preview coming July 1st

NY Islanders in 5

(8) Toronto vs (9) Columbus

Players to Watch: Seth Jones (CBJ), Auston Matthews (TOR)

Season Series: Tied 1-1

X-Factors: Elvis Merzlinkins (CBJ), William Nylander (TOR)

Offense: TOR, Defense: CBJ, Goaltending: CBJ, Coaching: CBJ, Experience: CBJ, Special Teams: TOR

Columbus in 5

Eastern Conference 1st Round

(1) Boston vs (11) NY Rangers

(2) Tampa vs (9) Columbus

(3) Washington vs (7) NY Islanders

(4) Philadelphia vs (5) Pittsburgh


This week I will be writing articles for every day of the week to be published at 1pm ET. This is the schedule

Sun 6/28- Qualifiers

Mon 6/29- Mock Draft

Tue 6/30-Playoff Predictions

Wed 7/1- Florida vs NY Islanders

Thu 7/2- Team Awards

Fri 7/3- Prospect Spotlight: Owen Tippett

Sat 7/4: Sixteen Super Musings from Superk116, July 4 2020 (basically my version of Elliotte Friedman’s 31 thoughts)

Follow me on twitter @Kylepuck16

I am now the writer for the Fifth Quarter Florida Panthers, my content will be moved there after July 4th. Follow me @FLPanthers_FQ