2020 NHL restart

Bruins-Hurricanes predictions: Roundup of expert picks for NHL Playoff series

Bruins-Hurricanes predictions: Roundup of expert picks for NHL Playoff series

Entering the wide-open Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes might be the most unpredictable first-round series in the NHL.

On the one hand, the Bruins were the best team in hockey during the regular season. They boast one of the best lines in hockey -- David Pastrnak-Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand -- the NHL's leading goal-scorer (Pastrnak) and a Vezina Trophy finalist (Tuukka Rask) in net.

They've won six of their last seven regular-season matchups with the Hurricanes and swept Carolina out of the Eastern Conference Final last year.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

On the other hand ... The B's looked abysmal during round-robin play, losing all three games while failing to gain a single lead. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, swept the New York Rangers in the qualifying round and are brimming with confidence.

Carolina also has its own highly talented top line of Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Tuevo Teravainen and a hot goaltender in James Reimer.

So, which team has the edge -- the NHL powerhouse that stumbled through the round robin or the upstart underdog hitting its stride at just the right time?

Below is a roundup of experts' predictions for the Bruins-Hurricanes first-round matchup.

Joe Haggerty, NBC Sports BostonBruins in 6.
Sean Leahy, Pro Hockey Talk: Hurricanes in 6.
NHL.com staff writers: Nine writers pick Hurricanes; six writers pick Bruins.
ESPN.com staff writers: 13 writers pick Hurricanes; two pick Bruins.
USA TODAY staff writersTwo writers pick Bruins, one picks Hurricanes.
The Athletic coach/executive/scout picksCoach's pick: Bruins; executive's pick: Bruins; scout's pick: Hurricanes.

As you can see, the Bruins have plenty of bulletin board material of experts writing them off (especially on ESPN.com). In any case, it appears they'll have their hands full right off the bat in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

The NHL is officially returning to play.

The league and NHLPA ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal Friday, paving the way for the 2019-20 season to finish. The regular season is over, but the league is not yet jumping into the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The top four teams in each conference will determine their seeding for the first round by playing a round robin format. The teams ranked No. 5 through No. 12 in each conference will square off in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The four winners of the qualifying series in each conference will be matched up against the top four teams for the first round based on seeding.

These games will take place in two host cities. The Eastern Conference games will be played at Scotiabank Place in Toronto, and the Western Conference matchups will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Here's the schedule for every round robin game and qualifying round series. Check back to this article after each game for scores and updated schedules.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers 4, Bruins 1
Monday, Aug. 3: Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning 3, Bruins 2
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flyers 3, Capitals 1
Sunday, Aug. 8: Flyers 4, Lightning 1
Saturday, Aug. 9: Capitals 2, Bruins 1

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (No. 12) Montreal Canadiens
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Penguins 3, Canadiens 1
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Canadiens 4, Penguins 3
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Canadiens 2, Penguins 0
Canadiens win series 3-1

(No. 6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (No. 11) New York Rangers
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Hurricanes 3, Rangers 2
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1
Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1
Hurricanes win series 3-0

(No. 7) New York Islanders vs. (No. 10) Florida Panthers
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Islanders 2, Panthers 1
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Islanders 4, Panthers 2
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Panthers 3, Islanders 2
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders 5, Panthers 1
Islanders win series 3-1

(No. 8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (No. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Maple Leafs 3, Blue Jackets 0
Game 3, Thursday, Aug. 6: Blue Jackets 4, Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1
Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 5, Stars 3
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche 4, Stars 0
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights 6, Blues 4
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars 2, Blues 1 (SO)

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (No. 12) Chicago Blackhawks
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Blackhawks 3, Oilers 2
Blackhawks win series 3-1

(No. 6) Nashville Predators vs. (No. 11) Arizona Coyotes
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes 4, Predators 3
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Predators 4, Coyotes 2
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Coyotes 4, Predators 1
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Coyotes 4, Predators 3 (OT)
Coyotes win series 3-1

(No. 7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (No. 10) Minnesota Wild
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Canucks 4, Wild 3
Game 3, Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks 3, Wild 0
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks 5, Wild 4 (OT)
Canucks win series 3-1

(No. 8) Calgary Flames vs. (No. 9) Winnipeg Jets
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2
Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames 6, Jets 2
Game 4, Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames 4, Jets 0
Flames win series 3-1

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Bruins will play Hurricanes in first round series

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Bruins will play Hurricanes in first round series

The Boston Bruins will play a familiar foe in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After finishing at the bottom of the NHL's round robin standings and earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference as a result, the B's will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1. It's a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Final, which the Bruins won in a sweep.

The schedule, including the dates and times for each Round 1 game, has not been announced at this time.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The Bruins and Hurricanes played only once during the 2019-20 regular season -- a 2-0 win for the B's at TD Garden on Dec. 3. 

The Hurricanes are not an easy opponent, and looked pretty good in their qualifying round sweep of the New York Rangers during which they outscored the Blueshirts 11-3. Carolina also ranked 11th in goals scored, eighth in power play percentage, fourth in penalty killing, third in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage and third in 5-on-5 scoring chances allowed during the regular season. Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho's eight points were one behind Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid for the qualifying round lead.

The Bruins went 0-3-0 in the round robin and will need to play at a much higher level to eliminate the Hurricanes in the first round. The 'Canes are better than they were last season, and their roster has a lot more experience after last year's playoff run.