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NHL Stanley Cup: First Round Preview, Predictions & Tips 2024


The first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Saturday, and we’ve got eight matchups, with plenty of intrigue around them.

Here, I will give you my full Stanley Cup first round preview, with predictions on all eight games, and betting tips.

Whether it’s individual games or series betting, the odds are out and available to compare across a range of bookmakers.

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Eastern Conference Playoffs

First up, let’s take a look at the four Eastern Conference games taking place.

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals

Kicking us off, this one is a fairly simple matchup to work out. The Rangers are going to have way too much firepower for the Washington Capitals here, and win this one fairly comfortably in the end.

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NYR to Win Series 4-0

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals

Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay

I see another sign of hockey in Florida changing here, as the Panthers show their dominance over the Lightning. One-time this was a rivalry dominated by the class of Tampa, but this Florida team is built to win, with an excellent core and depth that few can match, so it’s a Florida win in this series.

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs

Toss a coin here, this could go either way. I think the Leafs are the slightly better team, but the Bruins know how to win more, and can dig deep to get the job done. In the regular season, I’d take quality, but in the playoffs, give me heart and character any day, so I’ll side with the Bruins for that reason.

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders

Fair play to the New York Islanders for making it, but I don’t think they’ll be hanging around too long here. The Carolina Hurricanes are better than them in every department, and I expect them to completely dominate this series.

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Carolina to Win Series 4-0

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders

Western Conference Playoffs

Now it’s time to move across to the Western Conference games we have.

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights

This is another series with little to choose between the teams. Dallas have the edge, a fresh bunch of stars, combined with veteran presence that has been there and done it all before. The Golden Knights are defending champs, and will get better as they play, with players returning from injury, but that may not come quick enough to win this.

Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators

A wide open series, which I think will swing both ways at different times, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it go all seven. I’m struggling to split them, but the Canucks have a bit more of the unknown about them in the playoffs, so I will give them a very small edge.

Winnipeg Jets v Colorado Avalanche

The Jets dominated this season matchup, but in the playoffs, I think the Avs will come out on top. The core they have is better, I think their star players will stand up and win game single handedly, so I’m taking Colorado here.

Edmonton Oilers v Los Angeles Kings

The Kings will feel they can get at Edmonton, and give them problems, but over a long seven game series, I see the Oilers coming out on top. At key moments, they are the team with the stars to stand tall and win it for them.

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Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights


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Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators


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Colorado Avalanche

Winnipeg Jets v Colorado Avalanche


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Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers v Los Angeles Kings


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NHL Playoffs

1st Round Acca

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Craig Jones

Craig Jones

Content Manager on Freebets. Experienced punter, from back street, smoke filled betting shops in the 2000s, to state of the art, dedicated betting apps of the 2020s. Covering the gambling industry with expert opinion and looking at the latest innovations.