• 2018 NHL Playoffs Projections

    Written by AccuScore Staff
    Follow @AccuScore on Twitter

    2018 NHL Playoffs Projections & Analysis

    At the start of the season, AccuScore predicted 8 teams in each conferences would reach the playoffs, so let’s take a look how season has progressed so far and AccuScore's projections of the final stretch of the regular season.

    When comparing the Eastern Conference predictions to current standings, six teams predicted to reach playoffs are currently within the top 8: Tampa Bay, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia and Columbus. With a strong start to the season, New Jersey surprised the projections. Even though they are currently sitting on the edge, it looks like they will make the playoffs this year.

    Boston has discovered the form it had a few years ago. The Bruins are cruising to the playoffs and are prepared for a long run in the playoffs. These two teams were not projected to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, but right now, the season simulations show them as being Stanley Cup Finals contenders.

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    In the Western Conference, the season has been a bit more unpredictable with high flying teams from a year ago like the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks are currently on the wrong side of the playoffs line. In the predictions before the season five out of eight teams predicted to reach playoffs are currently going to the postseason: Nashville, Winnipeg, San Jose, Anaheim and Dallas.

    All of today's NHL picks: NHL picks

    Los Angeles and Minnesota are current playoffs teams, which isn't a shock to the system because they were both predicted to be in the playoffs battle before the season. However, the Las Vegas Golden Knights have played beyond any expectations. They are almost sure winners of their division and with the way they have played this season, success during the postseason is not out of the question.

    Season simulations show that all 8 teams currently in line for the postseason will continue to the playoffs. The toughest competition will be between the Los Angeles Kings (65% probability to reach playoffs) and the Colorado Avalanche (38% probability to reach playoffs). More detailed article about the playoffs probabilities can be found here.

  • Accuscore Impact Analysis - NHL Trade Deadline Splashes 2018/2019

    This season the NHL trade deadline on February 25th finally saw some big fish change their habitats, whereas previously it’s been just about as interesting as watching grass grow. Several teams pulled the trigger on anticipated headline deals, while some certain trade baits were left untouched. We are of course interested on how these decisions affect the outcomes of coming regular season games and more importantly, the playoffs.

    By running Accuscore’s simulations before and after the deadline trades – or actually a bit before as some decisive moves were already made previous week, we can determine the impact these changes have had on the teams, both in the short and the long run.

    Overall the changes definitely made a couple of teams stronger and of course then left a couple of stragglers weaker. Interestingly though, with less than 20 games left in the regular season, the impact on the predicted point totals changed only very slightly. This is probably due to the fact that teams growing stronger were already comparatively strong and most of the strong teams got better – and respectively the bad teams were already bad. Let’s see what effect the trades have had on some of the contenders and their likely playoff partners.

    Trade deadline winners

    Columbus Blue Jackets

    Not only did the Blue Jackets finally add a legitimate presence at the centre in Ottawa’s Matt Duchene and necessary depth in mid-6 wing in Ryan Dzingel, but they managed to hold on to talisman Artemi Panarin and no.1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Addition of hard-nosed defenseman Adam McQuaid and backup keeper Keith Kinkaid added some icing to the cake. With the moves, Columbus grew significantly stronger in offense and more reliable in the back. More notably, the trades allow moving the current players to their more suitable roles, namely a step or two down the hierarchy.

    Pre-DL: to make playoffs 83%, to win division 15%, point total 94

    Post-DL: to make playoffs 97%, to win division 20%, point total 98


    Vegas Golden Knights

    Arguably the best player and probably one of the most undervalued two-way forwards in the game, Mark Stone left Ottawa for the Golden Knights. One of the most constant performers in struggling Senators, Stone brings a truckload of offensive talent to Vegas – something the team has been lacking. Stone instantly became Golden Knights best scorer with almost 20-point margin with his 62 points in 59 games. Rarely has an impact of a single addition been as big as Stone’s is for Vegas. And they know it, since instantly after the trade the former Senator signed an 8-year $76M contract, making him the highest paid Golden Knight in history.

    Pre-DL: to make playoffs 71%, to win division 0.03%, point total 88

    Post-DL: to make playoffs 84%, to win division 0.10%, point total 91


    Nashville Predators

    Boasting an already strong team, Nashville Predators upgraded a couple of key positions albeit not growing stronger depth-wise. Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartmann were sent away and in return the Predators acquired Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds. While Granlund provides some much needed talent in the offensive end with his hockey IQ and passing ability, Simmonds brings in another tough net-front presence which will be much needed in the post-season. Although Simmonds has disappointed this season, change of scenery might spark a little life on the big forward. Bottom-6 veteran centerman Brian Boyle joined already earlier, providing some depth to the offence. Fiala and Hartmann were solid roster players, but it seems their replacements add some value to Pred’s Stanley Cup run.

    While the regular season’s predictions improved only marginally for the Predators after trade deadline, the impact on probabilities to win a playoff series increased with almost 5% against their Western Conference rivals – except for the Jets.

    Winnipeg Jets

    Also considered one of the frontrunners for Stanley Cup in the western conference, Jets did what they did last season: acquired a center for top-6. Last year it was Paul Stastny, now in Vegas and this year it is Ranger’s Kevin Hayes, a big body as is Jets’ configuration with some excellent prowess in both ends of the ice. He’s been a solid +40 point scorer in more or less chaotic Rangers team and is expected to jump in to help the likes of Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers to score the goals. Jets also bolstered their D with Panthers’ Bogdan Kiselevich, who adds depth to injury ridden defensive core missing Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien. Buffalo’s defender Nathan Beaulieu came in as a reclamation project after failing to make an impact in his two seasons and just might get a chance in the coming weeks. Matt Hendricks came in as a veteran presence to the dressing room and will probably spend a lot of time as a healthy scratch mentoring the youngster and filling in the 4th line if necessary.

    Like with Predators, Jets’ predictions for regular season improve only slightly due to the additions. And as is with the Predators, Jets’ chances of winning a playoff series improved closer to 4% - except against the Predators.

    No-impact exchanges

    Several teams consider contenders made some roster changes which have no impact according to the simulations. Some teams needed to shake it up without really improving that much and some teams preferred more suitable players for different role – be as it may, the following trades provided some headlines but didn’t affect or had a marginal effect on Accuscore’s regular season predictions and the playoffs-scenarios.

    Washington Capitals acquired defenseman Nick Jensen from Detroit Red Wings in exchange to Madison Bowey. While Jensen is a definite upgrade to Bowey as of now, the impact in solid Capitals defence is minimal at best. Carl Hagelin’s arrival from LA Kings should provide some depth in offense, but his numbers this season and last season are so poor his impact is marginal as well.

    Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford continued his shuffling of the deck at the deadline. Already having sent out Carl Hagelin to LA for Tanner Pearson, Pearson was now exchanged for hard-nosed bruiser of a defender Erik Gudbranson of Vancouver. Former 3rd overall pick never filled his potential and is unlikely to have a big impact on Penguins hunt for the Cup, especially since exactly similar calibre Jamie Oleksiak was let go earlier. Coming in already before the deadline were also Florida’s Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann while Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan went the other way. The moves balance out overall and the impact is literally non-existent.

    Dallas Stars would’ve probably been in the winner side, but Mats Zuccarello’s injury in his first appearance pushed the Stars down a bit – especially with most of the other western contenders growing stronger. Additions of Andrew Cogliano and Jamie Oleksiak already in January and Ben Lovejoy joining in exchange to Connor Carrick are only fringe moves, which are not showing up on simulations. Healthy Zuccarello has a small impact, but in the playoffs Stars did not get remarkably better.

    Toronto made their move already in January, acquiring Jake Muzzin to bolster the defence. Maple Leafs boast such an impressive team that Muzzin addition had no significant impact to their expected results. The same goes for San Jose Sharks, who added forward Gustav Nyquist from Detroit Red Wings. Already having a playoff percentage of 100% and point total prediction at 104, Nyquist makes no difference in Accuscore simulations.

    Colorado Avalanche added centerman Derick Brassard, now with his 3rd team of the season. His numbers are remarkably poor and there’s only a marginal impact on Colorado’s probabilities.

    See Accuscore’s updated NHL picks and predictions HERE

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  • Accuscore's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019/2020 Second Round

    Predictions and Bracket

    The first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs provided huge entertainment and a couple of surprises as well. Reigning champions St. Louis Blues crashed out against the energetic Vancouver Canucks, while the champions a year previous, Washington Capitals were outdone by New York Islanders, coached by their title-winning centurion Barry Trotz. Otherwise, the favorites were the stronger suits as expected.

    In the West, Vegas and Colorado dominated their series against Chicago and Arizona respectively and went on to take an easy 4-1 series victory. In the East, the same goes with Boston Bruins against Carolina and Tampa Bay against Columbus where the favorites ran away after slow starts with impressive five-game-series. Dallas Stars had to go to the sixth issue before Calgary Flames went down and the brave Montreal Canadians kept Philadelphia Flyers on their toes to the sixth as well – but eventually it was 6/8 favorites heading to the second round.

    For betting on the favorites, or your selected underdog, don’t forget to take a look at the best sportsbook offers on our partners BetQL site!

    The second round games starting at a full throttle, Colorado Avalanche kicked-off their second round series against Dallas Stars already. Still being the biggest favorites – if only marginally this time, compared to the pre-playoffs predictions – Avalanche were handed a massive blow in game one: not only did the lose 3-5, but their no.1 goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer was injured and Pavel Francouz took his place. The injury somewhat hinders Avalanche’s chances but they are still likely to pave their way to the Stanley Cup finals. However, it might be worth following the goaltending situation when placign the smart bets in Avalanche vs Stars series.

    Here’s how the rest of the playoffs play out, according to the simulations.

    Click to enlarge in a new tabAccuscore's Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019/2020 Bracket and Prediction

    As the simulations indicate, we are expecting extremely close and even fought matchups for the rest of the playoffs. While the Avalanche is still narrow favorites, they are already in a pickle against Dallas and Vegas will prove likely prove even a tougher challenge, assuming they’ll overcome the dark horses Vancouver. If the West is mostly even keel, the same goes for the Eastern teams. There’s barely any margin for the favorites in the seven game series and only a couple of percentages separate the winner and the loser – meaning that it comes down to a coin flip.

    With the available odds, there’s barely any value left. Accuscore’s simulations tag Colorado still the favorites, with around 15% probability of capturing the Cup. The odds of +595 offer tiny value, but it is slim pickings for all the other teams.

    Available odds for Stanley Cup winner

    Vegas Golden Knights +330

    Tampa Bay Lightning +450

    Boston Bruins +550

    Colorado Avalanche +595

    Dallas Stars +600

    Philadelphia Flyers +610

    New York Islanders +900

    Vancouver Canucks +1400

  • Accuscore's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020 Preview and Predictions

    Let's get ready to rumble in NHL playoffs

    Ice hockey in August? Why not?! The NHL season restarts this weekend with a revamped playoff-format and an intriguing set-up, as the “new normal” in sports dictates. All the games are to be played in Canada, Edmonton serving as the host for the Western Conference teams and Toronto hosting the Eastern teams. The playoffs will be played with 24 teams, the top 4 of each conference heading straight to the first round after deciding the seeding in a round-robin group, and the rest of the teams battling in a best-of-five series to determine the other four first round teams. The qualifying round pairs have been decided by the regular season standings at the time of the break.

    Top dogs natural favorites

    Before the playoffs, the teams gaining a free pass to the first playoff round are of course biggest favorites, but not only because they get to skip one round. The round robin serves as a great match practice and allows the teams a not-so-important stretch to get back in form. For the others, it’s do or die from the beginning – and we are always looking for surprises.

    At the moment, Easter Conference is dominating the Stanley Cup winner’s race, with four eastern teams in top six – according to the Vegas’ NHL spreads. Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning share the burden of being favorites with odds of +650 each. Western Conference duo Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche follow, with odds of +800 and +900 respectively. Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers and reigning champions St. Louis Blues man the next three positions with odds of +1000 and Dallas Stars compliments the top eight with +1500.

    In Accuscore simulations, the round robin between the top teams is extremely even, as expected. However, there’s a small disagreement between the favorites suggested by the odds and Accuscore simulations. The Western side of the stage is dominated by Colorado Avalanche, while the East is taken by Tampa Bay Lightning. In fact, Colorado is the team most likely to go all the way and hoist the Stanley Cup, according to the simulations. But as always, there are plenty of obstacles on the way and countless variables to tackle.

    The Best of the Rest

    The format makes it rather difficult to challenge the top four of each conference. The first qualification round sees some heated matchups, with teams normally in the playoff-battle at the end of regular season now facing off in a best of five series.

    According to Vegas lines, rising from the qualification round to Stanley Cup Champion is not impossible but a rocky road nevertheless. Pittsburgh Penguins, a declining powerhouse of the East, is deemed the most likely team to beat the odds of +1500. The tournament hosts Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs follow further back with the odds of +2300 and +2900.

    Interestingly some of the pre-season favorites, such as Nashville Predators (+3500), Calgary Flames (+3700) and Winnipeg Jets (+5000), have fallen from grace in the eyes of Vegas oddsmakers. Indeed, their season’s had been disappointing when the forced break hit, but have they managed to get their act together during the lengthy hiatus?

    According to Accuscore’s simulations, yes and no. The Predators are likely to run over Arizona to make it to the first round, where they can challenge any of the top-4 teams. The Flames on the other hand, seem to continue their poor run and allow another challenger, Winnipeg to progress. Jets then get ousted by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, Colorado Avalanche in the first round.

    Playoffs Power Ranking

    With too many variables still in play to determine the bracket all the way, the easiest and most accurate way to predict the outcome, is to simply use Accuscore’s simulation engine to pit each team against each other and then calculate the results and see who comes on top. Here’s the order of things, if the old sporting cliché “you have to beat everyone to be the champions” would indeed be correct:

    1. Colorado Avalanche
    2. Tampa Bay Lightning
    3. St. Louis Blues
    4. Boston Bruins
    5. Edmonton Oilers
    6. Vegas Golden Knights
    7. Nashville Predators
    8. Philadelphia Flyers
    9. Florida Panthers
    10. Winnipeg Jets
    11. Dallas Stars
    12. Washington Capitals
    13. Toronto Maple Leafs
    14. Pittsburgh Penguins
    15. Carolina Hurricanes
    16. Vancouver Canucks


    While the ranking follows the odds for Stanley Cup Champions quite closely, there’s still a couple of good selections to go for. First of all, Colorado Avalanche is beating any of their opponents in best of seven series in the simulations. Their odds of +900 are so attractive that there’s a good pick for a surprise winner.

    For a bit of a longer shot, the hosting Edmonton could be in for a surprise in the fast and furious playoff-format. Familiar surroundings might give an edge even if there’s not home crowd support. The team is not necessarily best suited for a long regular season and heavy playoff load, but now the tournament is more like a start of the new season. The odds for Oilers hover around +2300, which looks nice and is worth a punt.

    Definitely a biggest surprise in the Accuscore simulations comes from Florida. And no, Tampa Bay’s success would not be a surprise. In simulations, Florida Panthers are beating their qualifying round opponents quite easily and fight toe-to-toe with Washington Capitals, prevailing by mere fractions of a percent. But the results show that they can actually beat most of their counterparts, although then being completely outplayed by the top 8 teams. Still, shooting long with the Panthers could be worthwhile with ridiculous +5500 odds.

    It is always worth keeping in mind that the first round pairings are yet to be decided and there’s plenty that can change until the Stanley Cup is decided in early October.

    But based on what we know, this is where we are at!



  • Hot Trends - NHL & NBA Playoffs, Baseball's Hot Week

    Written by AccuScore Staff
    Follow @AccuScore on Twitter

    Hot Trends - NHL & NBA Playoffs

    Cashing in with NHL playoffs

    The hockey season is approaching its pinnacle point--the Stanley Cup finals. But first, we need to figure out which teams are going to proceed to the finals. With the first round all but over, let’s look back how accurate Accuscore predictions have been at the start of the NHL playoffs.

    When betting outright winners in moneyline markets, 100 dollars in 42 games played so far have converted to 900 profit so far. Any bettor would take that. Another 400 dollar profit has been recorded by betting the same games on side value bets.

    In Europe, hockey leagues are in final stages. During the regular season and also in playoffs, the best profits have been recorded from totals betting. KHL provided a playoff profit of 500, while Liiga in Finland scored profits of 210 during the playoffs. Many of these players will head to ice hockey World Championship starting next week. Accuscore simulates every game from this tournament, as well. As a reminder, AccuScore recorded profits of 870 and 190 dollars from side value and totals betting, respectively, in the 2017 World Championships.

    All of Today's NHL Picks: NBA playoffs picks

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    NBA Playoffs - Early Returns

    NBA playoffs are in full speed as well. Golden State and Philadelphia proceeding to the second round were not surprises, but the New Orleans Pelicans 4-0 swept over Portland wasn’t included into most predictions.

    So far, the best betting results based on Accuscore predictions have been seen in side value betting. Even though some favorites have been struggling, we have been able to secure 91 dollars profit in playoffs. This is expected to be increasing, because simulations will catch up hot teams better during second round of playoffs.

    All of Today's NBA Picks: NBA playoffs picks

    Baseball Trends - Fire Week

    Baseball season has been struggled with cold weather in many places since start of the season. However, bettors who have followed Accuscore moneyline bets have been hot during the last week. With 100 bet for every MLB game during the last seven days, 1414 dollars profit have been recorded. That would keep you warm for a while. One nugget from totals betting is the trend of Washington Nationals playing on the road. Accuscore has predicted 10/11 correct of these game totals.

    All of Today's MLB Picks: Baseball Picks

  • NBA, NHL, MLB, Soccer: Cold Weather, Hot Trends

    Written by AccuScore Staff
    Follow @AccuScore on Twitter

    Cold Weather - Hot Profits For AccuScore

    The Major League Baseball season started few weeks ago, and the Boston Red Sox have been red hot with only two losses in 11 games, but how hot have Accuscore's baseball picks been during the first few weeks of the season? Notably, games when the home team favorite had over -130 odds have been profitable when simply betting moneyline as well as side value. You would receive profit of 282 and 439 dollars, respectively, when betting 100 for every game.

    Note: Be sure to check out AccuScore's Guide to Baseball

    While baseball season is just taking its first steps of the season, the NHL is into its postseason. After 1270 regular season games, Accuscore's NHL Picks generated overall profit with side value and moneyline bets. By betting 100 dollars for every game the profit of 495 from moneyline markets and 392 from side value bets may not seem staggering, but an overall profit entering the playoffs is always a positive sign for the playoffs. In addition, season totals bets also generated profits.

    Another league that changes gears to the postseason mood is the NBA. AccuScore's NBA Side value bets generated a profit of 1,363 when every game was bet by 100 units. Also, totals wagers generated profit during this regular season. A decent 390 profit out of all games when betting total based on Accuscore predictions is always good in your pocket.

    With a full season of data to fuel the projections and both sports profitable, NBA and NHL playoffs look set for a strong postseason, and NBA playoffs picks should be updated regularly.

    Soccer leagues in Europe don’t have playoffs in the traditional sense, even though the seasons are winding down across the continent. We have been very happy with the accuracy of our predictions since start of the season in August. The total profit of $32k with 100 dollars per every game in totals and 20% side value is something that anyone would welcome.

    During the last month, Serie A Picks continue to be the best performing league predictions in Europe. This time, the profit count during the last month is 1,078 when all side value bets and totals bets from every Serie A games were summed up. Overall, the accuracy of Serie A game predictions has been very good as the season totals shows over $10k profit for all of totals and 20% side value bets.

    Finally, AccuScore has predicted every Champions League game since group stage was completed. In these 24 games, few great side values in Manchester City losses against Basel and Liverpool have built up a great profit. By betting 100 dollars in every game’s side value, the profit number currently stands at 3150 dollars! Total bets from these same games have added another 328 dollars to the same profit column. With only five matches remaining in the Champions League, we're looking for these profits to continue to grow through the semifinals and final.

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  • NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019 - Bracket and Predictions

    Accuscore's 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

    It's playoff time in the NHL, which means Accuscore's bracket and predictions all the way until the Stanley Cup Finals is decided. For all the picks and predictions during the NHL Playoffs 2019, JOIN ACCUSCORE NOW by using code "NHL25" for 25% off the membership price!

    Accuscore's NHL Playoffs 2019 Bracket

    After simulating every NHL Playoffs 2019 game for 10 000 times, Accuscore has come up with the most likely scenario from the first face-off to the hoisting of the Stanley Cup and this is how it looks like: click to enlarge in a new tabAccuscore's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019 Bracket

    Accuscore's NHL Playoffs 2019 Predictions

    There are a couple of surprises is the Accuscore NHL Playoffs 2019 simulations. Depending on your bookmaker, you might find different sorts of betting options and as usual we'll provide the predictions with our odds. You can then make the choice according to your options. Here are the best value picks based on the pre-playoffs predictions as compared to available odds:

    Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Boston Bruins

    Widely regarded as a piece of cake for the Bruins, Accuscore's simulations are determined it'll go the other way. The teams faced off last year in the same setting and Toronto has only gotten better since then. Boston is a strong, hardened team, but Mike Babcock and his young troops are in for a fight and are playing with a chip on their shoulder from last year's narrow 4-3 defeat. Boston did win three of four regular season matchups, so they've got a small edge from past meetings. However, with the odds set clearly against the Maple Leafs, the young guns are certainly worth a shot. Take Toronto to progress with odds of -150 | 1.67 or better!

    Washington Capitals to finish off Carolina Hurricanes

    The reigning champions had their usual issues during the regular season and it can be questioned how much hunger the team has left after finally entering the winners circle. However, the team is top notch all over, with enormous amount of playoffs experience - and now the Capitals know what it takes to go all the way. Carolina Hurricanes has been an inspiring sparkle all season, but the team is inexperienced and not quite there yet when it comes to killing of even matched games. Their time will come, for sure, but it's too early for now. Take Washington Capitals with the odds of -210 | 1.48 or better!

    Western Conference regular season winners Calgary Flames over Colorado Avalanche

    The Flames were in flames most of the season, led by suberb performances by Norris-candidate Mike Giordano and red-hot goalkeeper David Rittich. The team has been built with patience and it's finally coming to fruition after some difficult times. Flames boasts top quality offensive talent, a deep secondary scoring unit and excellent defensive core in addition to sublime goaltending. The group is inexperienced in the playoffs, but it should not prove to be a problem in the first round - especially against equally inexperienced Colorado Avalanche, who are quite frankly not even close to Flames regarding quality down the line. Their top line is fantastic, but not quite enough to challenge the Flames this time around. Take the Flames to continute from the pair with odds of -256 | 1.39 or better!

    Keep an eye out for the next edition of Accuscore's NHL Playoffs 2019 predictions after the 1st round! We'll review the previous picks and provide an updated bracket and predictions then. And remember, in order to gain access to all NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs picks and predictions, SIGN UP NOW with a code "NHL25" in order to receive 25% off of the membership price!
  • NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Qualifying Round - Part 1

    Summer of Hockey is here!

    The NHL playoffs start now, the first of August. Regular season’s top four teams from both conferences have made their way to the actual playoffs already, but the rest of the pack is in for some qualifying action. Best of five series is played within the conferences between teams placed 5.-12. in the regular season. The first five pairs are on fire already tonight and here’s Accuscore’s prediction for those.

    Western Conference

    5. Edmonton Oilers – 12. Chicago Blackhawks

    The Oilers get to play on their home ice, even if there’s not support this time. Far better team by all measurements, Edmonton should get an easy pass over Chicago, who were all but eliminated from the playoffs when the season was put on hold. Connor McDavid and Leon Dreiseitl are likely to get one over Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. In Accuscore’s simulations, Oilers take the series by 67% probability and in four games with 27% likelihood.

    8. Calgary Flames – 9. Winnipeg Jets

    Both teams were in for a disappointment, but can redeem their season with the revamped playoffs. Jets were in trouble with their defense and without Vezina candidate Connor Hellebuyck’s heroics, might have missed their new chance as well. Calgary seemed flat overall and it remains to be seen if they can find a new gear to their game. Both need to improve in order to challenge anyone in the next round, and Accuscore simulations indicate that would be Jets, with 64% probability to beat the Flames. But it is close and most likely to go to 5 games, Jets prevailing in the last moment with 26% probability.

    Eastern Conference

    6. Carolina Hurricanes – 11. New York Rangers

    The last year’s dark horse Carolina is at it again, with their young team flying high heading to the break. They’re facing an uneven Rangers team, who had trouble keeping up to the playoff hunt earlier and are unlikely to pose much of a threat to better organized and disciplined Hurricanes. In Accuscore simulations, Hurricanes take the battle with 60% probability, but Rangers are not an easy target and take it to game 5. Hurricanes take the spoils in 5 with 23% probability.

    7. New York Islanders – 10. Florida Panthers

    Overall an all-around even series between two teams lurking in shadows behind the favorites. Not much was expected from Islanders, but they’ve grinded their way to the playoffs and the team is built for rough postseason hockey – but the playoffs this time are a different world, with no traveling and arguably less hardships of the long season. Florida might be somewhat talented team in the offense, but left a lot to be desired for in the regular season. Still, Accuscore’s simulations indicate the Panthers to finish off Islanders with 63% probability after a long and hard battle in game 5. It’s 26% likelihood for the Panthers to grab a victory at the latest moment possible.

    5. Pittsburgh Penguins – 12. Montreal Canadiens

    Penguin’s season had been a roller coaster of good and bad and everything in between. The veteran superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, supported by the likes of Kris Letang and Jake Guentzel were on and off all season, but the potential to contend for the Stanley Cup is still there. Defense is suspect and goaltending situation a question mark, but Canadiens should not pose a challenge. Their hopes were already gone, but the young team can now head to tease the Penguins with nothing to lose – and with Carey Price between the pipes, anything can happen. Accuscore simulations have Penguins as clear favorites for 67% probability to progress to the 1st round, and we see Penguins win in 4 with 26% probability.