Winning formulas entering Tuesday's Stanley Cup Quarterfinal matchups
Dylan Callaghan-Croley (@DylanCCNHL)
August 11, 2020
The “first round” of the 2020 NHL Playoffs is set to begin Tuesday afternoon as 16 teams remain and are fighting for the Stanley Cup. On Tuesday, four of the eight matchups get underway starting with Columbus vs a Toronto. Here’s what each team will need to do if they hope to move on to their conference semi-finals.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning
What Columbus has to do to win: If Columbus is going to win this series, they’ll have to once again play a perfect series. Their defensive efforts shined multiple times against the Maple Leafs but also had a few mental lapses that they can’t afford against Tampa Bay. Additionally, they’ll need to keep up their strong offensive efforts if they hope to win.
What Tampa Bay has to do to win: Tampa Bay is without at least Steven Stamkos and may be without Victor Hedman. That being said, for Tampa to win they simply need to play their game, their one of the best teams in the NHL and can dominate in all facets of the game. As long as they have strong goalie play, the Lightning will be tough to beat.
Prediction: Tampa Bay in 6
Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars
What Calgary has to do to win: Calgary put together one of the more impressive performances in the qualifying round against Winnipeg though worth noting the Jets were missing both Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine. That being said Calgary excelled on both ends of the ice against an explosive team in the Jets including two dominating wins in games three and four. The Flames should be able to keep Dallas’s offensive efforts in check and if they can continue their strong offensive play, they could run away with this series.
What Dallas has to do to win: Dallas will need a very strong defensive effort in the series to win this series. The Stars coming into the restart were great defensively but struggled to score. In the round robin, th Stars defensive play was suspect to say the least and their offensive didn’t exactly provide any reassurance. Will the shootout win over St. Louis in the final game of the round robin wake the Stars up?
Prediction: Calgary in 6
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes
What Boston has to do to win: First and foremost, the Bruins have to wake up from the rut they were in during the round robin. Bruins simply didn’t look anything like the only team to finish the regular season with 100+ points and you have to wonder if they’re going to be able to turn it on mentally as they enter this series. Their defensive efforts were good but their offense has to be a bit of a concern heading into game one.
What Carolina has to do to win: Carolina dominated the New York Rangers in the qualifying round and look like a team there could make a run in the playoffs. The Hurricanes offense really shined in the series but their blue line was strong as well even without a Dougie Hamilton who was a Norris candidate before getting injured this season. They’ll need to keep up those strong defensive efforts against Boston.
Prediction: Bruins in 7
Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks
What Vegas has to do to win: I think for Vegas it’s not about their play on the ice but more so mentally. They cannot take this Chicago team lightly to say the least. The Blackhawks are playing with house money at this point and have a tremendous amount of confidence and momentum on their side following their qualifying round upset of the Oilers. Vegas is by far the better team then Chicago but while young and mostly inexperienced in the playoffs, the Blackhawks are still led by veterans with multiple Stanley Cups and have a group of young exciting players behind them playing behind them ready to make an impact in the playoffs.
What Chicago has to do to win: If Chicago is going to win this series, they’ll need to keep it tight defensively and open up their game offensively. While they played well on both sides of the ice in the qualifying round, the Golden Knights are a different animal than the Edmonton Oilers. Vegas remains one of the leagues deepest teams and can score all up and down their lineup. Corey Crawford will need another strong performance throughout the series to really give Chicago a chance. Offensively, they’ll need their stars to step it up but will really need to receive production from throughout their lineup. It’s hard seeing Chicago win this series but you can’t say never to a team with nothing to lose.
Prediction: Vegas in 5