Bold predictions for the 2022 NHL Playoffs: First-round upsets, Conference champions & Stanley Cup winners

Calgary Flames
Daniel from Glasgow, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin on May 2nd, it’s time to look at some of the NHL Playoff predictions 2022. If the regular season has shown us anything, it’s that there are many contenders for the 2022 Stanley Cup.

NHL Playoff predictions 2022

The Tampa Bay Lightning have won the last two Stanley Cups but are not the favorites entering the playoffs this year. According to FanDuel, the Lightning have the sixth-best Stanley Cup odds at +1100.

The team with the best odds to lift the Holy Grail at the end of the season is the Colorado Avalanche at +320. They may be the betting favorite, but there are a lot of other teams to look out for that can make a deep run.

Here are some of the boldest NHL playoffs predictions and best NHL playoffs betting tips.

First-round upset to watch

The team on upset watch in the first round is the Carolina Hurricanes. They will be taking on the Boston Bruins, who finished in the first wild card position with a total of 107 points.

Although the Hurricanes won the Metropolitan Division, they have one of the toughest tests in facing a heavily experienced Bruins team. Even though Carolina has won all three meetings between the two this season, Boston has won at least one playoff series in their last four seasons. At +104, the Bruins are a good pick if looking for a team to pull off the upset in the first round.

Teams with the easiest first-round matchup

There are going to be many close series in the first round of the playoffs. Toronto vs Tampa Bay, Minnesota vs St. Louis, and New York vs Pittsburgh are a few that bettors should stay away from.

Instead, there are a few favorites that have a much higher chance of winning. The Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and Edmonton Oilers are those few teams.


Flames

Calgary’s opponent in the first round is the Dallas Stars. The Flames were 2-0-1 against the Stars in the regular season.

Calgary’s offense of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm, combined with the goaltending of Jacob Markstrom, will simply be too much for Dallas to make it a close series. Dallas is the only team in the postseason to have a negative goal differential, as they have given up 246 goals, and have only scored 238.

Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche is taking on the Nashville Predators in the first round. 22 points separate the two in the standings, which is the largest gap in the first round this year.

The Predators will be coming into the series with a record of 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. Nashville will have a difficult time keeping up with a Colorado team capable of scoring four or five on almost every night.

Oilers

Edmonton will have the toughest test of the three when facing the Los Angeles Kings. The series will greatly depend on the goaltending in Edmonton.

If Mike Smith, who is currently on a nine-game winning streak, can sustain this level come playoff time, the Oilers will make quick work of the Kings.

The betting odds

Now, these are not the boldest NHL Playoff predictions, but they can be combined in a parlay for more risk and reward. The odds for Edmonton, Colorado, and Calgary to win their series’ is listed on FanDuel at +136.

Eastern Conference champion prediction

As far as NHL playoffs predictions go, picking the Eastern Conference champion may be the toughest. The current betting favorite is the Florida Panthers at +250. They are followed by the Maple Leafs, Lightning, and Hurricanes, who are all +500 to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Although Florida is the favorite, they have a tricky first-round opponent in the Washington Capitals. Even if they get through that test, Toronto or Tampa Bay would be waiting for them.

The winner of the Maple Leafs and Lightning series is the best bet for who will win the conference. Both teams can win the Stanley Cup this season. Toronto has had its fair share of meltdowns in the playoffs, but with a big series win against the defending champions, they could see themselves making a deep run and winning the Eastern Conference.

For more of a longshot team to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are two teams to look at. The Bruins have the experience to pull off multiple upsets, and at +850 might be worth taking a shot at.

The Rangers are also surprisingly underdogs in their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They currently have the best goaltender in hockey, as Igor Shesterkin has run away with the Vezina Trophy this season. They also have star players in Chris Kreider, who ranks third in goals, and Artemi Panarin, who ranks fourth in assists. With an outstanding goalie that can steal games, the Rangers at +1000 could prove to be the best odds out there for the Eastern Conference champion.

Western Conference prediction

In the Western Conference, the NHL Playoff predictions in 2022 are easier to make as there are a couple of teams that stand out from the rest. The current betting favorite to win the conference is the Colorado Avalanche at +140. The Avalanche is followed by the Flames at +270, then the Oilers at +750.

Although the Avalanche is a big favorite and deservedly so, the Calgary Flames have the best chance of winning the Western Conference. The Flames have what looks like the easiest path to the Final, as they should be able to handle the Stars in the first round. In the second round, Calgary would face the Oilers or Kings and would be heavily favored in either one of those matchups.

The Colorado Avalanche will have a much harder second-round series if they advance. The Blues and Wild are both experienced playoff teams and each can keep up with the Colorado offense. This makes Calgary the best bet for the Western Conference crown.

Stanley Cup champion

The toughest NHL postseason prediction is picking who is going to win the Stanley Cup. This season is especially tough, as there are truly six or seven teams that have what it takes to capture Lord Stanley.

The team with the best Stanley Cup odds is the Colorado Avalanche at +320. The Panthers are second at +550, followed by the Flames at +700, Hurricanes and Leafs at +1000, and the defending champion Lightning at +1100.

It is a bold prediction, but it will be the Calgary Flames that will be Stanley Cup champions at the end of the season. They will defeat either the Tampa Bay Lighting or Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Flames are one of the most complete teams in the NHL. They have multiple weapons on offense, with four players who have scored at least 35 goals this season. They also have a great goalie, as Markstrom ranks third among goalies with a 2.22 goals-against average.

Calgary has a +85 goal differential, which is second behind only the Florida Panthers. They are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and have a 25-9-7 record at home.

Many great teams can make a deep run and win the Stanley Cup, but nobody has a better chance than the Calgary Flames. With a Stanley Cup victory, the Holy Grail would be heading back to Canada for the first time since 1993. In the NHL playoffs, anything can happen, as the Flames will look to win their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.

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About Justin Gincauskas 32 Articles
Justin Gincauskas is a professional writing major at Kutztown University. He is also a member of the Kutztown Men's Tennis Team. Justin has a passion for sports and hopes to turn his professional writing major into a career in the field of sports writing.

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