I don't know what's going to happen in a best-of-seven series. I don't know who is going to show up and who is going to fold. I don't know who will get hurt or which crazy bounces will favor which team. I don't know which ref will swallow his whistle or which security guard will look the other way while a trainer sneaks onto the opposing bench between periods to measure stick curves. But I do know this. Most of the predictions you read are generated with my Quisp-o-matic DIY playoff prediction generator.
- Sort teams into two groups, Perennials and New Blood.
- Sort the Perennials into Elite and Usual Suspects.
- Re-designate no more than one Elite team per conference as Chokers.
- Pick one Cinderella per conference (from any group).
- Put an asterisk next to anyone you think will have goalie problems.
- Elite beats New Blood in five.
- Elite beats Usual Suspect in six.
- Usual Suspect beats New Blood in seven.
- Any series with Chokers or Cinderellas are decided by a coin toss. Higher seed gets heads. Winner of coin toss wins series in seven games.
- Tie-breaker: team you like more wins in seven games. (ignore asterisks; i.e. elite vs. elite* are tied)
- (Only after applying all coin tosses and tie-breakers) For any asterisk: outcome reduced by a factor of one (e.g. if you were to win in seven, now you lose in seven; if you were to win in six, you now win in seven; if you were to lose in seven, you now lose in six; if you were to lose in six, you now lose in five.) Note that in all cases but one, the winner stays the same. But: a team with goalie problems, that otherwise would have won in seven, now loses in seven.
- After you make your predictions, go through and flip a coin for every Elite team that won in seven games. If it comes up heads, change "wins in seven" to "wins in six."
- The Conn Smythe trophy is awarded (if the team is elite) to the leading scorer (regular season) or captain (determined by coin toss) of the cup-winning team, or (if the team is not elite) to the goalie of the cup-winning team.
Therefore, my predictions:
- San Jose Sharks (choker) vs. Colorado Avalanche (new blood): coin flip says Colorado in seven.
- Chicago Blackhawks (elite*) vs. Nashville Predators (usual suspect): Chicago in seven.
- Vancouver Canucks (usual suspect) vs. Los Angeles Kings (new blood): Vancouver in seven.
- Phoenix Coyotes (Cinderella) vs. Detroit Red Wings (elite): coin flip says Detroit in seven.
- Washington Capitals (elite*) vs. Montreal Canadiens (new blood): Washington in six.
New Jersey Devils (usual suspect) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (usual suspect): tiebreaker says Philadelphia in seven.
Buffalo Sabres (Cinderella) vs. Boston Bruins (usual suspect): coin flip says Buffalo in seven.
Pittsburgh Penguins (elite*) vs. Ottawa Senators (usual suspect*): Pittsburgh in six.
- Chicago (elite*) vs. Colorado (new blood): Chicago in six.
- Vancouver (usual suspect) vs. Detroit (elite): Detroit in six.
- Washington (elite*) vs. Philadelphia (usual suspect): Washington in seven.
- Pittsburgh (elite*) vs. Buffalo (Cinderella): coin flip says Pitt in seven. BUT: asterisk flips that to Buffalo in seven.
- Chicago (elite*) vs. Detroit (elite): Tie-breaker says Detroit in seven. Asterisk reduces it to Detroit in six.
- Washington (elite*) vs. Buffalo (Cinderella): Coin flip says Buffalo in seven. Asterisk reduces it to Buffalo in six.
- Buffalo (Cinderella) vs. Detroit (elite): Coin flip says Buffalo in seven.
- Conn Smythe: Ryan Miller
And there you have it. Perfectly reasonable predictions. Just like the pros do.