Every year my friends and I do a Stanley Cup playoffs pool. We've been doing this for about five or six years and it always makes the playoffs just a little more fun.
The format is simple -- eight friends, everybody gets two different teams. We randomize the order and we are all assigned a number 1-8. We then draft teams in a snake format (ex. ...6,7,8,8,7,6...). You can pick two teams in the same conference or opposite conferences -- it's all your preference. However, if both of your teams make it to the finals you win double the money. Simple, easy, makes the playoffs more interesting.
We'll start our draft on Wednesday night before the games, but here are my Stanley Cup playoff picks this season. Hopefully, my buddies don't see this.
New York Rangers (WC1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (A1)
Boston Bruins (A3) vs. Ottawa Senators (A2)
Toronto Maple Leafs (WC2) vs. Washington Capitals (M1)
Columbus Blue Jackets (M3) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (M2)
Calgary Flames (WC1) vs. Anaheim Ducks (P1)
San Jose Sharks (P3) vs. Edmonton Oilers (P2)
Prediction: Oilers (bring on the battle of Alberta!)
Nashville Predators (WC2) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (C1)
St. Louis Blues (C3) vs. Minnesota Wild (C2)
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals
Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers
Prediction: Connor McDavid ......I mean, Oilers
Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Round 3 (Conference Finals)
Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals
After years of disappointment in the playoffs, the Capitals finally get there. They're stacked on offense, defense and in net.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
When in doubt, pick the team that seems to win the cup every few years -- until they prove to me they can't get it done it's hard to pick against Toews, Kane, Keith and company.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals
*I HATE going with two #1 seeds but I'm not going to mix in some upsets just to be different. For my money, the Blackhawks and Capitals are the two best teams in hockey and I can very realistically see them making deep runs.
I think the Western Conference is a little more up in the air and could see the Blackhawks going down as early as the first round to the Predators, but their track record speaks for itself.
As for the Capitals, I think this is the year they finally live up to their potential. When you look at their team it's hard to find a weakness. They can score and they get great goaltending, which is a scary combo in the playoffs. For some perspective, the Capitals finished the season with 263 goals. The Sabres scored 201.
Don't @ me......