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"Media Productions major at Buffalo State College. @BJWilsonSHC"
NY • United States • 22 Years Old • Male
The NHL Playoffs are back again! Wednesday night kicks off the start of the playoffs once again in the NHL. The new NHL format has created some very good match ups in the first round of the playoffs, and are likely to create more great match ups as the playoffs move on.

Sixteen teams have earned their spot in the playoffs with one goal in mind: to win the Stanley Cup. Here are my predictions for how the Stanley Cup Playoffs will unfold:

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:
A1 - Boston Bruins vs. W2 - Detroit Red Wings
Boston wins series 4-2

A2 - Tampa Bay Lightning vs. A3 - Montreal Canadiens
Montreal wins series 4-3

M1 - Pittsburgh Penguins vs. W1 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus wins series 4-2

M2 - New York Rangers vs. M3 - Philadelphia Flyers
New York wins Series 4-1

Western Conference Quarterfinals
P1 - Anaheim Ducks vs. W2 - Dallas Stars
Anaheim wins series 4-1

P2 - San Jose Sharks vs. P3 - Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles wins series 4-3

C1 - Colorado Avalanche vs. W1 - Minnesota Wild
Colorado wins series 4-2

C2 - St. Louis Blues vs. C3 - Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago wins series 4-2

Eastern Conference Semifinals:
A1 - Boston Bruins vs. A3 - Montreal Canadiens
Boston wins series 4-1

M2 - New York Rangers vs. W1 - Columbus Blue Jackets
New York wins series 4-2

Western Conference Semifinals:
P1 - Anaheim Ducks vs. P3 - Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim wins series 4-3

C1 - Colorado Avalanche vs. C3 - Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado wins series 4-3

Eastern Conference Finals:
Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers
Boston wins series 4-2

Western Conference Finals:
Anaheim Ducks vs. Colorado Avalanche
Colorado wins series 4-2

2014 Stanley Cup Finals:
Boston Bruins vs. Colorado Avalanche
Boston wins Stanley Cup 4-1

Why Boston?
By far, the Bruins have been the best team in the Eastern Conference all year. Their run to the President's Trophy picked up pace within the last 20 games of the year, including their impressive 12-game winning streak from March 2 to March 24. Boston will be challenged in the first round by the Red Wings, but, with enough momentum, the Bruins will push through and will make a run to a third Stanley Cup Finals appearance in four years.

Why Colorado?
The Avalanche could be considered one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season. With Patrick Roy behind the bench and energizing the young roster, I could see Colorado making a deep run. I predict they will make the Cup Finals, but not without its challenges. Minnesota will not be an easy test right away, but the winner of the Chicago / St. Louis matchup will perhaps be the toughest series for the Avalanche. But I believe the hottest team coming into the playoffs can keep the momentum up. Their defense may be their downfall, but the offense and strong play of Varlamov could get them over the top.

On Tuesday, the NHL held its annual NHL Draft Lottery in which the Florida Panthers hold the first pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. With Florida winning the lottery, Buffalo moves to second in the draft.

With the results of the playoffs and the NHL Draft positions (almost) set, here is my latest mock draft for the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft:

(This is just for entertainment purposes only!)

1.) Florida Panthers
D - Aaron Ekblad - Barrie (OHL)

2.) Buffalo Sabres
C - Sam Reinhart - Kootenay (WHL)

3.) Edmonton Oilers
LW - Leon Draisaitl - Prince Albert (WHL)

4.) Calgary Flames
C - Sam Bennett - Kingston (OHL)

5.) New York Islanders
C - Michael Dal Colle - Oshawa (OHL)
The Islanders keep their 2014 1st-round pick and defer their 2015 1st-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres.

6.) Vancouver Canucks
LW - Nikolaj Ehlers - Halifax (QMJHL)

7.) Carolina Hurricanes
RW - Jake Virtanen - Calgary (WHL)

8.) Toronto Maple Leafs
LW - Nick Ritchie - Peterborough (OHL)

9.) Winnipeg Jets
C - Jared McCann - Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

10.) Anaheim Ducks (FROM OTTAWA SENATORS)
LW - Brendan Perlini - Niagara (OHL)

11.) Nashville Predators
C - William Nylander - Sodertalje (Sweden-2)

12.) Phoenix Coyotes
RW - Kasperi Kapanen - KalPa (SM-liiga)

13.) Washington Capitals
D - Haydn Fleury - Red Deer (WHL)

14.) Dallas Stars
RW - Alex Tuch - USDT (USHL)

15.) Detroit Red Wings
C - Ivan Barbashev - Mocton (QMJHL)

16.) Philadelphia Flyers
D - Roland McKeown - Kingston (OHL)

17.) Minnesota Wild
RW - David Pastrnak - Sodertalje (Sweden-2)

18.) Tampa Bay Lightning
C - Dylan Larkin - USDT (USHL)

19.) Pittsburgh Penguins
LW - Sonny Milano - USDT (USHL)

20.) San Jose Sharks
C - Robby Fabbri - Guelph (OHL)

21.) St. Louis Blues
LW - Adrian Kempe - Modo Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
The pick may be Buffalo's pick if Ryan Miller re-signs with St. Louis before the NHL Draft

22.) Columbus Blue Jackets
D - Julius Honka - Swift Current (WHL)

23.) Los Angeles Kings
C - Nick Schmaltz - Green Bay (USHL)

24.) Montreal Canadiens
D - Brycen Martin - Swift Current (WHL)

25.) Chicago Blackhawks
LW - Nikita Scherbak - WHL (Saskatoon)

26.) New York Rangers
D - Anthony DeAngelo - Sarnia (OHL)

27.) Anaheim Ducks
RW - Joshua Ho-Sang - Windsor (OHL)

28.) Colorado Avalanche
LW - Jakub Vrana - Linkoping (SHL)

29.) Boston Bruins
C - John Quenneville - Brandon (WHL)

30.) New Jersey Devils
RW - Anton Karlsson - Frolunda Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
New Jersey picks 30th as a penalty for the Ilya Kovalchuk contract

So what do you think? Who do you have winning the Stanley Cup? Where do you think some of the young prospects will land?

Let me know on Twitter @BJWilsonSHC

As always, thanks for reading!
Filed Under:   NHL   Playoffs   Draft   Sabres   Panthers   Bruins   Avalanche  
April 17, 2014 7:13 PM ET | Delete
Well it think you have the first round close to correct, although I would not be surprised if there are more upsets that you think such as Detroit beating Boston or Dallas beating Anaheim. I think if the Habs bet buy TB that they will beat Boston, There is something about the Habs the Boston does not like to play them. The little guys seems to frustrate the Bruins to the point that they take a lot of stupid penalties. However, in order of the Habs to beat the Bruings they need to get their PP working.
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