DobberHockey Experts Panel – NHL Playoffs 2018

Mario Prata


Hey folks, we're back for another year of calling the winners for each round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. Each year, the members of the DobberHockey Panel (made up of DH writers) have their ups and downs with making calls on each series. As a group, though, the Panel’s consensus picks are pretty good. After eight years of doing this, the Panel’s record is 81-38.

In today's Round 1 installment: On top of the predicted winners for the initial round of play, our Panel went a little beyond with early prognostications on the Stanley Cup Final matchup, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, the postseason's Top 5 scorers, and, of course, this year's Cup champion.

Here are the Round 1 matchups:

Eastern Conference
Tampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs New Jersey Devils (WC2)
Boston Bruins (A2) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (A3)
Washington Capitals (M1) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (WC1)
Pittsburgh Penguins * (M2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (M3)

Western Conference
Nashville Predators (C1) vs Colorado Avalancxhe (WC2)
Winnipeg Jets (C2) vs Minnesota Wild (C3)
Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs Los Angeles Kings (WC1)
Anaheim Ducks (P2) vs San Jose Sharks (P3)

* Defending Stanley Cup champion

By the way, if you're in a playoff pool and you're in need of a great player list, check our annual Playoff Draft List. It's customizable based on your picks, or you can just roll with Dobber's very own picks. Your choice! Pick it up here!

As for the panel's picks: Let's just say that the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins garnered only two votes to three-peat. The Predators won the popular vote with six in total, which would make it the franchise's first-ever Cup. The Jets, Canada's great white hope with a few mentions, the Bruins and the Lightning are also in the mix for Lord Stanley's shiny mug. The spectacular Golden Knights didn't receive any Cup-winning votes but did receive a nod as a Cup Finalist. Individually, Preds' Pekka Rinne looks to bring home the Conn Smythe Tropy, while Bruins' Brad Marchand aims for the postseason's version of the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer.


Round 1:
Tampa Bay in 6
Toronto in 7
Columbus in 7
Pittsburgh in 6
Nashville in 5
Winnipeg in 6
Vegas in 7
San Jose in 6
Final: Winnipeg-Pittsburgh
Stanley Cup: Winnipeg
Smythe: Connor Hellebuyck
Top 5 Scorers:
1. Evgeni Malkin
2. Sidney Crosby
3. Mark Scheifele
4. Blake Wheeler
5. Patrik Laine
Steve Laidlaw
Round 1:
Tampa Bay in 5
Boston in 6
Columbus in 7
Pittsburgh in 4
Nashville in 5
Winnipeg in 7