First Round NHL Playoff Game One Picks

First Round NHL Playoff Game One Picks

The puck drops on the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs this Wednesday evening, and for the second season in a row, we’ll experience the NHL’s new divisional playoff format.

A Closer Look At My First Round NHL Playoff Game One Picks

No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 N.Y. Islanders

Season series: 2-2

  • Wednesday, April 15: N.Y. Islanders at Washington, 7, USA
  • Friday, April 17: N.Y. Islanders at Washington, 7, NBC Sports Network
  • Sunday, April 19: Washington at N.Y. Islanders, noon, NBC
  • Tuesday, April 21: Washington at N.Y. Islanders, 7:30, USA
  • x-Thursday, April 23: N.Y. Islanders at Washington, TBD
  • x-Saturday, April 25: Washington at N.Y. Islanders, TBD
  • x-Monday, April 27: N.Y. Islanders at Washington, TBD

Washington finished second in the Metropolitan Division and go into the first round battle against the Islanders with high hopes even if their Stanley Cup winning odds imply otherwise.

The Capitals look stronger on defense. That could be the reason that they beat New York on Wednesday. Even though the Islanders are one of the best teams in NHL when it comes to offense, they aren’t nearly as good as most teams when it comes to defense. Washington shoul d win this battle.

No. 1 St. Louis vs. No. 4 Minnesota

Season series: 2-2

  • Thursday, April 16: Minnesota at St. Louis, 9:30, NBC Sports Network
  • Saturday, April 18: Minnesota at St. Louis, 3, NBC
  • Monday, April 20: St. Louis at Minnesota, 8, CNBC
  • Wednesday, April 22: St. Louis at Minnesota, 9:30, NBC Sports Network
  • x-Friday, April 24, Minnesota at St. Louis, TBD
  • x-Sunday, April 26: St. Louis at Minnesota, TBD
  • x-Wednesday, April 29: Minnesota at St. Louis, TBD

The Wild face a tough task in the first round. They take on a St. Louis Blues team that has been very good lately. Minnesota’s defense could stop the Blues offense from scoring too many goals. It’s ranked first in penalty kills at 86.3%, fourth in shots against at 27.6, and sixth in goals against at 2.4.

But, will the Wild be able to score enough to beat the Blues? St. Louis’s defense is one of the best in the NHL. It allows only 27.2 shots against per match. The victor should be the Blues in this one.

No. 2 Nashville vs. No. 3 Chicago

Season series: 2-1 Blackhawks

  • Wednesday, April 15: Chicago at Nashville, 8:30, NBC Sports Network
  • Friday, April 17: Chicago at Nashville, 9:30, NBC Sports Network
  • Sunday, April 19: Nashville at Chicago, 3, NBC
  • Tuesday, April 21: Nashville at Chicago, 9:30, NBC Sports Network
  • x-Thursday, April 23: Chicago at Nashville, TBD
  • x-Saturday, April 25: Nashville at Chicago, TBD
  • x-Monday, April 27: Chicago at Nashville, TBD

Even though Chicago is the higher seed, Nashville has a chance to go 2 up on the Blackhawks because they take on Chicago at home in the first two games. The Predators were exceptional at home during the regular season going 28-9-2-2.

Chicago is one of the favorites from the Western Conference to win the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks have a huge issue with Patrick Kane. He’s healthier than he was before but he’s questionable for the first game in the series and most likely will be questionable for this game. Even a healthy Patrick Kane may not be a 100% effective Patrick Kane. Nashville should win on Friday.

No. 2 Tampa Bay vs. No. 3 Detroit

Season series: 3-1 Lightning

  • Thursday, April 16: Detroit at Tampa Bay, 7:30, CNBC
  • Saturday, April 18: Detroit at Tampa Bay, 3, NBC
  • Tuesday, April 21: Tampa Bay at Detroit, 3, NBC Sports Network
  • Thursday, April 23: Tampa Bay at Detroit, 7, NBC Sports Network
  • x-Saturday, April 25: Detroit at Tampa Bay, TBD
  • x-Monday, April 27: Tampa Bay at Detroit, TBD
  • x-Wednesday, April 29: Detroit at Tampa Bay, TBD

The Red Wings take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. There is some hope for the Red Wings. The team has been competitive all season long.

But this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Detroit faces a team in the first round in Tampa Bay that scores 3.2 goals per game off of 29.6 shots per game. Tampa Bay finished the season at 32-8-0-1. The Lightning figures to use home ice advantage to beat Detroit on Saturday.   

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