Well, don’t say we didn’t warn you it was going to be difficult to predict winners in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
If you had all four division winners going out for the first time in the post-expansion (1967) era, then I need to get you on a plane to Vegas with a pocketful of my loot as quickly as possible.
Let’s have a do-over and see if the record can improve in the second round:
**Boston Bruins** vs. **Columbus Blue Jackets:** Boy, it sure would be tempting to go with destiny’s darlings, namely the Blue Jackets after their four-game upset sweep of No. 1 Tampa Bay. But something tells us the Bruins (our pre-playoff pick to win the Cup) have been toughened up by a seven-game test against Toronto while the Jackets have had to sit around for a week. **Bruins in six games.**
**New York Islanders** vs. **Carolina Hurricanes:** It says here not to bet against ex-Flyer Justin Williams when he smells another Stanley Cup (he has three of them). “Mr. Game 7’’ did away with the defending champion Washington Capitals and he could inspire another upset here. **Hurricanes in seven.**
**St. Louis Blues** vs. **Dallas Stars:** OK, we admit it, we’re going to let emotion get the best of us here and go with the St. Louis “Berubes’’ for somewhat personal reasons because coach Craig Berube (once upon a time the Flyers’ bench boss) is proving a lot of critics wrong. This could be a battle of goaltending, with Binnington besting Bishop in the long haul. **Blues in seven.**
**San Jose Sharks** vs. **Colorado Avalanche:** Sharks are lucky to be here and wouldn’t be if not for that controversial major penalty against Vegas which resulted in four power-play goals. Colorado, led by all-purpose Nathan MacKinnon, finished the season strong and has momentum on its side. **Avalanche in six.**