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2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference quarterfinals predictions

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference quarterfinals predictions

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference quarterfinals predictions
The Philadelphia Flyers are the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Photographer: John E. Sokolowski /USA Today Sports

How about that qualifying round of the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Some big upsets. Five overtime games in the qualifying round (I’m not counting the three OT games in the round-robin games because they featured the regular-season five-minute OTs and not the postseason 20-minute affairs). Some great individual performances.

But the most important event in the qualifying round was . . . 

MY PHILADELPHIA FLYERS EARNED THE TOP SEED IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE!

Man, my Flyers looked awesome. They were playing excellent hockey before the pandemic pause in March. They picked up where they left off in beating Boston (sorry devoted Bruins fan Mike MacAdam), Washington and Tampa Bay. 

Former Union College standout Shayne Gostisbehere got into the Tampa Bay game and looked like his old self. He had two assists and played like he did when he burst onto the scene with the Flyers in 2015-16. Inconsistent play has dropped him down on the depth chart. Maybe his effort Saturday will lead to more playing time.

As for my qualifying-round picks, I was a mediocre 4-4. I managed to get three picks right on the nose (the Islanders in four over the Panthers, the Blue Jackets in five over the Maple Leafs and the Canucks in four over the Wild). 

I did embarrass myself in picking the Oilers to sweep the Blackhawks. Stuff happens.

Now, we move on to the best-of-seven conference quarterfinals, which get underway Tuesday. My Flyers will start Wednesday against the Canadiens, who took out the fifth-seeded Penguins in four. The Canadiens may have taken out one Pennsylvania team, but they won’t duplicate their success against the Flyers. This will disappoint College Hockey News writer and frequent “The Parting Schotts Podcast” guest Josh Seguin, who is a devout Canadiens fan.

Here are my picks.

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens — Flyers in 5.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets — Lightning in 7.
Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders — Capitals in 6.
Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes — Bruins in 7.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks — Golden Knights in 6.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes — Avalanche in 5.
Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames — Flames in 6.
St. Louis Blues vs. Vancouver Canucks — Blues in 7.

On Twitter, follow Associate Sports Editor Ken Schott @slapschotts and Daily Gazette Sports @dgazettesports. Email Schott at [email protected]. Listen to “The Parting Schotts Podcast” at https://dailygazette.com/sports/partingschotts, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify and SoundCloud.

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