2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Round 1

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New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals

And for the final series in the Eastern Conference, we take a look at the New York Islanders (M-3) and the Washington Capitals (M-2).

For the Islanders, we see them back in the playoffs as they failed to make the big dance a year ago. The Islanders were defeated in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a fantastic, heart throbbing series. This time around, the Isles aren’t just squeaking into the playoffs, as they’ve been a strong team all season. Adding Jaroslav Halák, has been a huge addition to the team, finally getting stability between the pipes. The emergence and growth of young players such as Jonathan Tavares, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Travis Hamonic, and others have been a huge boost to this Isles team. Key trades by Garth Snow have also given this team more experience in the back-end, adding the likes of Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk.

In the nation’s capital, the biggest move in the off season was the addition of Barry Trotz. Trotz, who had been head coach of the Nashville Predators since their expansion in 1997, brought a fresh new look to a very talented team. The Capitals have been well-known for being able to put the puck in the net. Keeping goals out? A totally different story. Trotz, who always led very good defensive clubs in Nashville, brought his structure and system into Washington and it paid dividends immediately. The great play of Braden Holtby  sure did help, who went 41-20-10 with a 0.923 SV%. After the New York Rangers, I would have to say that the Washington Capitals are the most complete team in the Eastern Conference.

In one of the better match-ups in the first round, I’m going to give the slight edge to the Washington Capitals. As the season series suggested (2-2 tie), this is going to be a very tight series. I feel that the goaltending and explosiveness of the Washington Capitals outplays the young guns in Long Island. Capitals in seven.