Stanley Cup playoffs picks: Every first-round NHL series

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Sunday, April 21, 2024

The six-month journey of the 2023-24 NHL regular season is complete. Sixteen of the league's 32 teams have been eliminated, and 16 have made the postseason bracket.

It's time for ESPN's hockey experts to serve up their picks on every first-round series, along with their calls on which team will skate with the Cup this June and which player will earn the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.

More: Playoff schedule


Lapsed fan's guide

Top 50 players

Cup contender comps

First round

Atlantic Division

A1 FloridaPanthersvs.

WC1 Tampa BayLightning

Sean Allen:Panthers in six

Blake Bolden: Panthers in six

John Buccigross: Panthers in seven

Ryan Callahan: Lightning in seven

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Panthers in six

Sachin Chandan: Panthers in six

Ryan S. Clark: Panthers in seven

Linda Cohn: Lightning in seven

Ray Ferraro: Panthers in six

Leah Hextall: Panthers in six

Emily Kaplan: Panthers in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Panthers in seven

Hilary Knight: Lightning in six

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Panthers in six

Steve Levy: Panthers in seven

Vince Masi:Panthers in six

Victoria Matiash: Panthers in six

Sean McDonough: Panthers in six

Mark Messier: Lightning in six

AJ Mleczko:Lightning in seven

Mike Monaco: Panthers in six

Arda Öcal: Panthers in four

Kristen Shilton: Panthers in seven

P.K. Subban: Panthers in six

Bob Wischusen: Panthers in seven

Greg Wyshynski: Panthers in five

Consensus prediction:Panthers (21 of 26 picks)

A2 BostonBruinsvs.

A3 TorontoMaple Leafs

Sean Allen: Bruins in six

Blake Bolden: Bruins in five

John Buccigross: Maple Leafs in six

Ryan Callahan: Maple Leafs in six

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Maple Leafs in seven

Sachin Chandan: Bruins in seven

Ryan S. Clark: Bruins in seven

Linda Cohn: Maple Leafs in six

Ray Ferraro: Bruins in seven

Leah Hextall: Bruins in six

Emily Kaplan: Bruins in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Maple Leafs in six

Hilary Knight: Bruins in seven

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Bruins in seven

Steve Levy: Bruins in seven

Vince Masi: Maple Leafs in six

Victoria Matiash: Maple Leafs in seven

Sean McDonough: Bruins in seven

Mark Messier: Maple Leafs in six

AJ Mleczko: Bruins in six

Mike Monaco: Bruins in six

Arda Öcal: Maple Leafs in four

Kristen Shilton: Maple Leafs in six

P.K. Subban: Bruins in six

Bob Wischusen: Bruins in six

Greg Wyshynski: Maple Leafs in six

Consensus prediction: Bruins (15 of 26 picks)

Metropolitan Division

M1 New YorkRangersvs.

WC2 WashingtonCapitals

Sean Allen: Capitals in seven

Blake Bolden: Rangers in four

John Buccigross: Rangers in five

Ryan Callahan: Rangers in five

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Rangers in five

Sachin Chandan: Rangers in five

Ryan S. Clark: Rangers in six

Linda Cohn:Rangers in seven

Ray Ferraro: Rangers in five

Leah Hextall: Rangers in five

Emily Kaplan: Rangers in six

Tim Kavanagh:Rangers in four

Hilary Knight: Rangers in five

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Rangers in five

Steve Levy: Rangers in five

Vince Masi: Rangers in six

Victoria Matiash: Rangers in six

Sean McDonough: Rangers in five

Mark Messier: Rangers in five

AJ Mleczko: Rangers in five

Mike Monaco: Rangers in four

Arda Öcal: Rangers in four

Kristen Shilton: Rangers in six

P.K. Subban: Rangers in six

Bob Wischusen: Rangers in five

Greg Wyshynski: Rangers in five

Consensus prediction: Rangers (25 of 26 picks)

M2 CarolinaHurricanesvs.

M3 New YorkIslanders

Sean Allen: Islanders in six

Blake Bolden: Hurricanes in six

John Buccigross: Hurricanes in six

Ryan Callahan: Hurricanes in five

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Hurricanes in six

Sachin Chandan: Hurricanes in five

Ryan S. Clark: Hurricanes in six

Linda Cohn: Hurricanes in six

Ray Ferraro: Hurricanes in five

Leah Hextall: Hurricanes in five

Emily Kaplan: Hurricanes in six

Tim Kavanagh: Hurricanes in five

Hilary Knight: Hurricanes in six

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Hurricanes in five

Steve Levy: Islanders in six

Vince Masi: Hurricanes in six

Victoria Matiash: Hurricanes in five

Sean McDonough: Hurricanes in four

Mark Messier: Hurricanes in five

AJ Mleczko: Hurricanes in six

Mike Monaco: Hurricanes in five

Arda Öcal: Hurricanes in four

Kristen Shilton: Hurricanes in five

P.K. Subban: Hurricanes in seven

Bob Wischusen: Hurricanes in six

Greg Wyshynski: Hurricanes in five

Consensus prediction: Hurricanes (24 of 26 picks)

Central Division

C1 DallasStarsvs.

WC2 VegasGolden Knights

Sean Allen: Stars in six

Blake Bolden: Golden Knights in seven

John Buccigross: Stars in seven

Ryan Callahan: Stars in seven

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Golden Knights in seven

Sachin Chandan: Stars in six

Ryan S. Clark: Stars in seven

Linda Cohn: Stars in seven

Ray Ferraro: Stars in six

Leah Hextall: Stars in six

Emily Kaplan: Stars in seven

Tim Kavanagh: Golden Knights in six

Hilary Knight: Stars in seven

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Stars in seven

Steve Levy: Stars in seven

Vince Masi: Stars in six

Victoria Matiash: Stars in seven

Sean McDonough: Stars in seven

Mark Messier: Golden Knights in six

AJ Mleczko: Stars in seven

Mike Monaco: Stars in seven

Arda Öcal: Stars in four

Kristen Shilton: Stars in six

P.K. Subban: Golden Knights in seven

Bob Wischusen: Stars in seven

Greg Wyshynski: Stars in six

Consensus prediction: Stars (21 of 26 picks)

C2 WinnipegJetsvs.

C3 ColoradoAvalanche

Sean Allen: Jets in five

Blake Bolden: Avalanche in six

John Buccigross: Jets in seven

Ryan Callahan: Avs in seven

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Jets in six

Sachin Chandan: Avs in seven

Ryan S. Clark: Avs in six

Linda Cohn: Jets in six

Ray Ferraro: Jets in seven

Leah Hextall: Jets in seven

Emily Kaplan: Avs in six

Tim Kavanagh: Jets in six

Hilary Knight: Avs in seven

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Jets in seven

Steve Levy: Avs in seven

Vince Masi: Avs in seven

Victoria Matiash: Avs in seven

Sean McDonough: Avs in six

Mark Messier: Jets in six

AJ Mleczko: Avs in seven

Mike Monaco: Avs in six

Arda Öcal: Avs in four

Kristen Shilton: Avs in seven

P.K. Subban: Jets in six

Bob Wischusen: Jets in seven

Greg Wyshynski: Jets in seven

Consensus prediction: Avs (14 of 26 picks)

Pacific Division

P1 VancouverCanucksvs.

WC1 NashvillePredators

Sean Allen: Canucks in six

Blake Bolden: Predators in seven

John Buccigross: Canucks in seven

Ryan Callahan: Canucks in six

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Canucks in six

Sachin Chandan: Predators in six

Ryan S. Clark: Predators in seven

Linda Cohn: Canucks in six

Ray Ferraro: Canucks in six

Leah Hextall: Canucks in six

Emily Kaplan: Canucks in six

Tim Kavanagh: Predators in six

Hilary Knight: Canucks in six

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Predators in six

Steve Levy: Canucks in five

Vince Masi: Predators in seven

Victoria Matiash: Canucks in six

Sean McDonough: Predators in six

Mark Messier: Canucks in seven

AJ Mleczko: Predators in six

Mike Monaco: Predators in seven

Arda Öcal: Predators in four

Kristen Shilton: Canucks in seven

P.K. Subban: Predators in seven

Bob Wischusen: Canucks in six

Greg Wyshynski: Predators in seven

Consensus prediction:Canucks (14 of 26 picks)

P2 EdmontonOilersvs.

P3 Los AngelesKings

Sean Allen: Kings in seven

Blake Bolden: Kings in seven

John Buccigross: Oilers in seven

Ryan Callahan: Oilers in five

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Oilers in six

Sachin Chandan: Oilers in five

Ryan S. Clark: Oilers in seven

Linda Cohn: Oilers in six

Ray Ferraro: Oilers in six

Leah Hextall: Oilers in six

Emily Kaplan: Oilers in six

Tim Kavanagh: Kings in seven

Hilary Knight:Oilers in six

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Oilers in five

Steve Levy: Oilers in five

Vince Masi: Oilers in six

Victoria Matiash: Oilers in six

Sean McDonough: Oilers in five

Mark Messier: Oilers in five

AJ Mleczko: Oilers in five

Mike Monaco: Oilers in six

Arda Öcal: Oilers in four

Kristen Shilton: Oilers in five

P.K. Subban: Oilers in six

Bob Wischusen: Oilers in five

Greg Wyshynski: Oilers in five

Consensus prediction: Oilers (23 of 26 picks)

Stanley Cup

Sean Allen: Stars

John Buccigross: Oilers

Ryan Callahan: Oilers

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Jets

Sachin Chandan: Stars

Ryan S. Clark: Stars

Linda Cohn: Rangers

Ray Ferraro: Stars

Leah Hextall: Stars

Emily Kaplan: Rangers

Tim Kavanagh: Golden Knights

Hilary Knight: Hurricanes

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Stars

Steve Levy: Rangers

Vince Masi: Hurricanes

Victoria Matiash: Hurricanes

Sean McDonough: Hurricanes

Mark Messier: Rangers

AJ Mleczko: Hurricanes

Mike Monaco: Hurricanes

Arda Öcal: Maple Leafs

Kristen Shilton: Hurricanes

P.K. Subban: Golden Knights

Bob Wischusen: Hurricanes

Greg Wyshynski: Oilers

Prediction breakdown:Hurricanes (8), Stars (6), Rangers (4), Oilers (3), Golden Knights (3), Jets (1), Maple Leafs (1)

Conn Smythe (MVP of the playoffs)

Sean Allen: Wyatt Johnston

John Buccigross: Connor McDavid

Ryan Callahan: Connor McDavid

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Connor Hellebuyck

Sachin Chandan: Jake Oettinger

Ryan S. Clark: Jake Oettinger

Linda Cohn: Igor Shesterkin

Ray Ferraro: Miro Heiskanen

Leah Hextall: Jake Oettinger

Emily Kaplan: Artemi Panarin

Tim Kavanagh: Jack Eichel

Hilary Knight: Jake Guentzel

Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Jason Robertson

Steve Levy: Igor Shesterkin

Vince Masi: Andrei Svechnikov

Victoria Matiash: Sebastian Aho

Sean McDonough: Jake Guentzel

Mark Messier: Igor Shesterkin

AJ Mleczko: Frederik Andersen

Mike Monaco: Sebastian Aho

Arda Öcal: Auston Matthews

Kristen Shilton: Jake Guentzel

P.K. Subban: Jack Eichel

Bob Wischusen: Sebastian Aho

Greg Wyshynski: Connor McDavid

Prediction breakdown: Connor McDavid (3), Jake Oettinger (3), Sebastian Aho (3), Igor Shesterkin (3), Jake Guentzel (3), Jack Eichel (2), Wyatt Johnston (1), Connor Hellebuyck (1), Miro Heiskanen (1), Artemi Panarin (1), Jason Robertson (1), Andrei Svechnikov (1),Frederik Andersen (1), Auston Matthews (1)

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