Our Playoff predictions are here and we have news for you!  A whiteout snow storm is coming to the NHL Playoffs!  See our format below that has some notes on the series, our prediction and some key players.  Please note that every team’s best players and in particular every team’s goaltenders need to play well for teams to advance so we will leave the obvious choices out of our notes.  Our “Need to Step up” selections are players that we think will need to play above their weight class to give their team the edge to move on to the next round.

First Round:


Notes: President’s trophy winner rarely wins the Stanley Cup so why does everyone keep picking them to win it?  I understand no one is deeper than the gang in Smashville.  It makes sense a lot of sense.  Go to the final and lose and the following year you are back to claim what is rightfully yours.  The big problem in this series is Avs goalie Varlamov is out.  He can steal a series but let’s face it in order to win in the playoffs goaltending is a must.  Bernier is a top notch back up but without Varly we just don’t think it will be enough.  We still think the Avs will make it difficult and why not?  Nothing to lose here…Preds in 6

Need to Step up – NSH: Kyle Turris, Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons, Ryan Ellis. COL: Nikita Zadorov, Samuel Girard, Tyson Jost & Carl Soderberg


The Jets, for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since they have come back, there is a lot of talk of this team going all the way.  There is eerie similarities between this team and the Black Hawks first Stanley Cup Champion of 2010.  I know they are building their team like Nashville but to this writer they really look like the Blackhawks!  As for the Wild, yes we know Suter is out.  This is a team that if not dealt with can become very dangerous if they shake any Jet confidence.  Keep in mind the eventual Stanley Cup Champion nearly always has a tough first round.  We don’t expect any different.  Jets in 7

Need to step up – Jets: Adam Lowry, Paul Stastny, Josh Morrissey, Mathieu Perreault  Wild: Zach Parise, Charlie Coyle, Matt Dumba, Nino Niederreiter


What else do the Vegas Golden Knights need to do?  After winning the division and taking the NHL by storm.  How about win a playoff round against what may be the most experienced playoff team in the conference.  It doesn’t hurt that they have won 2 Stanley Cups lately in 2012 & 2014.   Take note in 2012 they were the 8th seed and in 2014 they were the 6th seed.  This year they are the 7th seed.  The dream season ends for Vegas here.  As for the Kings we have four names for you: Quick, Doughty, Carter & Kopitar.  Enough said.  Kings in 6

Need to Step up – LA: Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Alec Martinez Vegas: Erik Haula, Alex Tuch, Riley Smith, Deryk Engelland


The Ducks are tough, have centre ice depth, defensive depth and goaltending depth.  Though the Sharks will be a tough opponent we think the Ducks who’s seem to thrive in this type of atmosphere will be too much for the Sharks.  We like what we see in San Jose and it’s not like the Sharks lack at centre ice, with Martin Jones in the pipes or a pretty solid defensive core.  This is really a coin flip series and should be one of the most intriguing coaching battles. Ducks in 7

Need to Step up – Ducks:  Jakob Silfverberg, Adam Henrique, Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase Sharks: Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Marc Edouard Vlassic


This is the year for the Caps to finally win the Cup!  As much as we feel for Alex Ovechkin we just can’t seem them winning this series.  Something is up with this team.  It seems like they can not put it together when the stakes rise.  Maybe starting Grubauer in net will be just the trick they need.  Torts seems to have his team rolling at the right time.  Depth throughout the line up and perhaps the leagues best goaltender in Bobrovsky.  Should be an interesting series.  Blue Jackets in 7

Need to Step Up – Colombus:  Nick Foligno, Brandon Dubinsky, Thomas Vanek, Seth Jones  Caps: Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller, Dimitry Orlov, Tom Wilson


Can the Flyers upset the Penguins?  I guess anything is possible but the only team on this side will need to beat them in some other format.  You can not match them at centre or forward depth so game plan will be the deciding factor.  Flyer don’t have what it takes to do this but maybe the Blue Jackets may.  Penguins in 5

 Need to Step Up – Penguins: Derick Brassard, Patric Hornqvist, Olli Maata, Justin Schultz  Flyers: Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov, Wayne Simmonds


As Tampa has been slowing up down the stretch we just can’t believe there will be an upset here.  Even though this may be the series that can have the biggest upset potential.  Jersey has been playing for their playoff lives for weeks going into the Stanley Cup tournament while the Lightning has been coasting.  Even this may not to overcome the Lightning depth and the genius coaching of Jon Cooper.  The Devils have this strange assortment of pluggers, young guys and players that need to prove themselves including their Hart Trophy candidate in Taylor Hall.  We so badly want to pick the Devils to win this series but we have to believe that talent will win in the end. Tampa in 7

Need to Step up – Tampa Bay: Tyler Johnson, Ryan Callahan, JT Miller, Ryan McDonagh  New Jersey: Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon, Brian Boyle, Will Butcher


Are the Bruins one of the most overrated teams in the playoffs?  With the exception of that top line it seems like they have been playing over their heads all season long.  Lines 2-4 and the Defence are good but not great.   At least for the Leafs I can point at Freddy Anderson and say that if it wasn’t for him the Leafs would most likely not have made the playoffs.  It seems like the Leafs win with great goaltending, timely goals and are never out of a game.  Coaching could end up being the difference.  Leafs in 7

Need to Step up – Bruins: Torey Krug, David Backes, Rick Nash, Charlie McAvoy Leafs: Nazeem Kadri, Leo Komarov, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly

Second Round Winners:

Winnipeg over Nashville, LA over Anaheim, Tampa Bay over Toronto, Colombus over Pittsburgh

Third Round Winners:

Winnipeg over LA, Tampa Bay over Colombus

Stanley Cup Champion: Winnipeg over Tampa Bay

by Frank Zappia @frankzappia1 @Spinohockey

The following are Picks by @Mass_Insight

NSH in 6, WPG in 6, VGK in 7, SJ in 6

TB in 7, BOS in 7, WSH in 6, PITT in 6

Stanley Cup Champion PITT in 6 over VGK

Your comments are welcome @spinohockey, @frankzappia1 and @Mass_Insight