The NHL restart begins in a little over a week, and every hockey fan out there can't wait for the 1st of August. There are multiple matchups in the NHL qualifying round that you can't help but be interested in. But, all in all, here's how the qualifying round of the NHL playoffs will turn out.
Maples Leafs (8) vs Blue Jackets (9): The Jackets are coming into the playoffs lost and without a real identity as a team. But, the same could be said about the Maple Leafs. This matchup takes place in Toronto, so the Leafs don't have to move anywhere. They will take this comfortably in 4 games.
Penguins (5) vs Canadiens (12): Pittsburgh is just a couple points behind the flyers for that four spot in the Eastern Conference. The consequence, they have to play the worst team in the conference. Not too much of a penalty if you ask me. The Pens will roll, sending Montreal back home, where they will hold their breath that it was them who got the number one pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Islanders (7) vs Panthers (10): The Panthers were one of my sleepers I had in my article, and I am quite high on them. The Panthers will finally figure it out and move on to the next round.
Hurricanes (6) vs Rangers (11): The Rangers are regarded as a sleeper in some people's minds. But, not in this guys mind. Hurricanes will face some trouble, but Sebastian Aho and Dougie Hamilton will have a great series and the 'Canes will win the series in a game 5 thriller.
Flames (8) vs Jets (9): This should be a very intriguing matchup. The 8 and 9 matchup doesn't usually disappoint. And this year will be no different. This one will go to five. But, I have a hard time seeing the Flames slowing down the Jets young offensive attack. Jets will get the job done down in Edmonton.
Canucks (7) vs Wild (10): The Canucks have one heck of a young core, featuring Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. The Canucks will have their young core tested. But, they will survive this one and move onto the second round.
Blackhawks (12) vs Oilers (5): The Oilers have a heck of an offensive attack. They will not slow down that attack. The only problem is their goaltending. This may catch up to them in the later rounds. But, for now, it's smooth sailing for the Oilers, who will dispatch the Blackhawks in 4.
Predators (6) vs Coyotes (11): The Predators just happen to be on my sleeper list for the NHL restart. The Preds have experience, and one of the best defensive cores in the league, featuring Roman Josi. Nashville will breeze through this one, I am not convinced that the Coyotes are ready to compete. Nashville sweeps this one.
So, that's my predictions for the NHL restart. This should be very exciting. Experience doesn't always matter though, so watch out for the underdogs. With that being said, hockey is back, so enjoy it.