Stanley Cup Predictions if the NHL Season Hadn't Been Postponed

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fairly easy
What would the playoffs look like if the NHL season hadn't been paused? Writers and editors at Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News make Stanley Cup predictions.
April is supposed to be a time for wild-card mayhem, double-overtime Game 7s and four-game sweeps of everyone's Stanley Cup shoo-in. It's supposed to be when fans are developing new superstitions and relying on old ones to get their teams one win closer to 16 so their favorite players can try out a new (old?) shiny cereal bowl.

But the hockey world—as is the rest of the world—is on pause as the focus turns toward flattening the curve. The picture of when life will return to normal is no clearer than it was a few weeks ago, an acknowledgment Gary Bettman made Tuesday when he said that completing the 2019–20 regular season "may not be possible." It's still unknown if the season will return in any capacity, and if it does it seems that Lord Stanley likely won't be hoisted until at least the summer.

So as we prepare for a hockeyless spring, writers and editors from Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News decided to think about what could have been. Here are our Stanley Cup picks if the season were never halted.

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Alex Prewitt, SI Senior Writer

Lightning over Avalanche in six

Given that I errantly picked Tampa Bay to win the 2018 and 2019 Stanley Cups, I might as well stick to tradition with no 2020 postseason in sight.

After lurching to a 12-9-3 record through the end of November, the Lightning ripped off a 10-game winning streak that bridged New Years' Day and entered the NHL's shutdown firmly in second place in the Eastern Conference. Winger Nikita Kucherov remains a game-breaking talent up front—only Leon Draisaitl has registered more points (48) since Jan. 1 than Kucherov (44)—and few blueliners are better equipped for the playoff grind than 6'6" Swedish spruce tree Victor Hedman. But depth is what will carry (or, perhaps, would've carried) the franchise to its second Cup, thanks to two-way forward talents such as Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli and Blake Colemon, not to mention offensive defensemen like Mikhail Sergachev and Kevin Shattenkirk.

As for the…
SI Staff
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