NHL Playoff Power Rankings (Second round)
NHL Playoff Power Rankings 2016 (Second round edition)
The playoffs are here! Who has the best chances of hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup? Check out all 8 playoff teams ranked in order of their chances to win the Cup.
8. New York Islanders
Finishing as a wild card on the Atlantic side of the conference bracket was the best thing that could have happened to the Islanders. They beat a thin Panthers' team in the first round and now get Tampa Bay without Steven Stamkos. New York has a lot of injury concerns and even if they do beat the Lightning, this team doesn't have enough to beat the winner of Caps-Penguins and the Western Conference champs.
7. Nashville Predators
Peter Laviolotte certainly knows what he's doing when it comes to the postseason, but their first round upset came against an Anaheim team with a history of falling apart in the playoffs. To win the Cup, they will have to upset San Jose, the winners of the Central and the Eastern Conference.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos is the wild card for Tampa. His return would be a game-changer for the Lightning. Until then, however, they don't stand much of a chance. Don't let a five-game series against Detroit fool you, the Red Wings are a mess.
5. Dallas Stars
The Stars are not a serious contender without better goaltending and the first round confirmed that. Minnesota was arguably the worst team to make the playoffs and they were without Zach Parise and yet the Wild still managed to win twice. The lingering concerns over Tyler Seguin are also a huge red flag.
4. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks exorcised some serious playoff demons with their win over Los Angeles and it took them only five games to do it. Their stars came to play and Martin Jones silenced any fears over his inexperience by outplaying Jonathan Quick.
3. St. Louis Blues
The Blues-Blackhawks matchup certainly felt like a conference championship and winning another three rounds may seem like a daunting task for St. Louis. With no Los Angeles, Chicago or Anaheim to worry about, however, the Blues are clearly the best team in remaining in the West.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
The hottest team in the NHL made the New York Rangers feel their age as the Penguins breezed through New York in only five games. Matt Murray's emergence means Pittsburgh hasn't lost a beat without Marc-Andre Fleury.
1. Washington Capitals
A red-hot Michal Neuvirth was all that stood between the Capitals and a four-game sweep. Don't let the six games fool you, however, Washington showed they are as good as advertised. The power play clicked, Braden Holtby allowed only fives goals in six games and the Capitals completely shutdown Philadelphia's star players. Pittsburgh will be a much more difficult task and the winner of that series will likely be the favorite going forward.