Vegas vs Hawks – No doubt that past Championship glory will be tempting to take here. The likes of Toews, Kane & Keith is always hard to bet against. The problem, they are facing a Vegas team that traded for the Hawks 1.(b) goalie and are seasoned with veterans hungry to win. Without the pandemic this series would have never happened. Lehner the former Vezina finalist gets his revenge. Vegas in 5

Avs vs Coyotes – Is there anyone better than the Avs? Colorado full of speed, top flight talent at forward and on D for this writer is the team to beat. Do we need to keep mentioning the kid from where Sidney Crosby is from? We like the blend of talent and all that Rich Tocchet inspired play drawn out of this feisty Arizona team but the Coyotes already have won this year by upsetting the Predators. Colorado in 5

Stars vs Flames – It’s easier when no one sees you coming. After a disappointing season last year where the Flames had so much promise finishing on top of the league, there is no pressure on the back of their young stars. This is always a formula for a great playoff run. The Stars are very strong defensively, great goaltending, couple of “stars” up front but we have seen this team be overrated all year long. Flames in 7

Blues vs Canucks – The young flying Canucks backstopped by a hot goaltender seems like the perfect formula to upset the defending Stanley Cup champions. Perhaps aging tired legs combined with a goaltender that doesn’t have anything to prove anymore. This one is a tough pick but we are going with the upset. Canucks in 7

Flyers vs Habs – Can Carey Price and these group of underrated forwards and competent back end upset probably the hottest team in the league pre-pandemic. Something about the Flyers and their mix of high end offence, gritty forwards and very well coached team that puts an end to the Habs season. The Flyers finally have goaltending. This is the biggest change for this team. Flyers in 5

Lightening vs Jackets – Can the Blue Jackets defeat the Lightening again? Is any team better coach than the lovable Torts? Lovable was sarcastic. Say what you want but his players love him. Great goaltending, a solid D core and gritty forwards is the perfect formula. But Tampa can’t lose again in the first round? Especially to the same team and especially with their depth and coaching. Tampa in 7

Capitals vs Islanders – This is a real tough series. The obvious is the Caps are big, tough and more talented than the Islanders. The Islanders seem to be a band of believers similar to what I saw in Carolina last year. I can easily see an upset here for New York. My head tells me Ovi and Oshi will be too much. Caps in 6.

Bruins vs Hurricanes – After a rough qualifying round, the Bruins should come back strong. Or will they? The Hurricanes seem to be destined and really don’t get their due as to how deep and how clutch this team is. That Bruins top line will have their hands full with this tenacious bunch. Hurricanes in 6

@frankzappia1 @spinohockey for your comments