2020 NHL playoffs: Picks for each first-round series

The 2020 NHL playoffs have advanced past the awkward yet delightful qualification round, and we are now on to the tried-and-true, 16-team tournament with which we're all familiar. One twist this time around: Instead of a bracket, the teams will be re-racked after each round so that the highest seed plays the lowest in each conference.

There's a wealth of history in this round -- on the team vs. team and player vs. player levels -- and if the earlier games are any indication, we're in for a special set of contests.


We gathered our panel of NHL experts to hear their picks on each series in the first official round of the 2020 playoffs, along with how many games it will take to get to the result in each case.

More: Check out the full NHL postseason schedule here.

Jump to:

PHI-MTL | TB-CBJ | WSH-NYI | BOS-CAR

VGK-CHI | COL-ARI | DAL-CGY | STL-VAN




Eastern Conference




No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 12 Montreal Canadiens



Sean Allen: Canadiens in six

Ben Arledge: Flyers in six

Pierre Becquey: Flyers in seven

John Buccigross: Flyers in five

Sach Chandan: Canadiens in six

Linda Cohn: Flyers in six

Dimitri Filipovic: Flyers in five

Emily Kaplan: Flyers in six

Tim Kavanagh: Flyers in five

Don La Greca: Flyers in five

Vince Masi: Flyers in five

Victoria Matiash:Flyers in six

Barry Melrose:Flyers in five

Arda Ocal: Canadiens in seven

Greg Wyshynski:Flyers in five

Consensus pick: Flyers (12/15)



No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 9 Columbus Blue Jackets



Sean Allen: Lightning in six

Ben Arledge: Lightning in six

Pierre Becquey: Lightning in five

John Buccigross: Lightning in seven

Sach Chandan: Lightning in seven

Linda Cohn: Lightning in seven

Dimitri Filipovic: Lightning in five

Emily Kaplan: Lightning in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Blue Jackets in seven

Don La Greca: Lightning in six

Vince Masi: Blue Jackets in seven

Victoria Matiash:Blue Jackets in seven

Barry Melrose: Blue Jackets in six

Arda Ocal:Blue Jackets in seven

Greg Wyshynski:Lightning in seven

Consensus pick: Lightning (10/15)



No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 7 New York Islanders



Sean Allen: Capitals in five

Ben Arledge: Capitals in seven

Pierre Becquey: Islanders in seven

John Buccigross: Capitals in seven

Sach Chandan: Islanders in six

Linda Cohn: Capitals in seven


Dimitri Filipovic: Capitals in seven

Emily Kaplan: Islanders in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Capitals in six

Don La Greca: Islanders in seven

Vince Masi: Capitals in six

Victoria Matiash:Capitals in six

Barry Melrose:Islanders in six

Arda Ocal: Islanders in five

Greg Wyshynski:Capitals in six

Consensus pick: Capitals (9/15)



No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes



Sean Allen: Hurricanes in seven

Ben Arledge: Hurricanes in seven

Pierre Becquey: Bruins in five

John Buccigross: Hurricanes in seven

Sach Chandan: Hurricanes in five

Linda Cohn: Hurricanes in seven

Dimitri Filipovic: Hurricanes in six

Emily Kaplan: Hurricanes in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Bruins in six

Don La Greca: Hurricanes in six

Vince Masi: Hurricanes in seven

Victoria Matiash:Hurricanes in seven

Barry Melrose:Hurricanes in seven

Arda Ocal:Hurricanes in six

Greg Wyshynski:Hurricanes in six

Consensus pick: Hurricanes (13/15)

Western Conference





No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks



Sean Allen: Golden Knights in six

Ben Arledge: Golden Knights in five

Pierre Becquey: Golden Knights in six

John Buccigross: Golden Knights in seven

Sach Chandan: Golden Knights in five

Linda Cohn: Golden Knights in seven

Dimitri Filipovic: Golden Knights in four

Emily Kaplan: Blackhawks in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Blackhawks in seven

Don La Greca: Golden Knights in five

Vince Masi: Golden Knights in five

Victoria Matiash:Golden Knights in six

Barry Melrose:Golden Knights in six

Arda Ocal:Blackhawks in seven

Greg Wyshynski: Golden Knights in four

Consensus pick: Golden Knights (12/15)



No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 11 Arizona Coyotes



Sean Allen: Avalanche in five


Ben Arledge: Avalanche in five

Pierre Becquey: Avalanche in five

John Buccigross: Avalanche in six

Sach Chandan: Coyotes in seven

Linda Cohn: Avalanche in six

Dimitri Filipovic: Avalanche in five

Emily Kaplan: Avalanche in six

Tim Kavanagh: Coyotes in six

Don La Greca: Avalanche in six

Vince Masi: Avalanche in five

Victoria Matiash: Avalanche in five

Barry Melrose:Avalanche in five

Arda Ocal:Coyotes in seven

Greg Wyshynski:Avalanche in six

Consensus pick: Avalanche (12/15)



No. 3 Dallas Stars vs. No. 8 Calgary Flames



Sean Allen: Stars in seven

Ben Arledge: Flames in six

Pierre Becquey: Stars in six

John Buccigross: Stars in seven

Sach Chandan: Stars in four

Linda Cohn: Flames in six

Dimitri Filipovic: Stars in seven

Emily Kaplan: Flames in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Stars in seven

Don La Greca: Stars in six

Vince Masi: Stars in seven

Victoria Matiash: Flames in six

Barry Melrose:Flames in six

Arda Ocal:Flames in six

Greg Wyshynski:Stars in seven

Consensus pick: Stars (9/15)



No. 4 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 7 Vancouver Canucks


Sean Allen: Canucks in six

Ben Arledge: Blues in seven

Pierre Becquey: Blues in six

John Buccigross: Blues in seven

Sach Chandan: Canucks in six

Linda Cohn: Blues in seven

Dimitri Filipovic: Blues in six

Emily Kaplan: Blues in six

Tim Kavanagh: Blues in five

Don La Greca: Blues in five

Vince Masi: Blues in seven

Victoria Matiash: Blues in six

Barry Melrose:Blues in five

Arda Ocal: Canucks in seven

Greg Wyshynski:Canucks in six

Consensus pick: Blues (11/15)

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