Below are our 2019 playoff rankings. But first, here are the round-by-round scenarios on which the rankings were based:
Tampa Bay vs. Columbus: Columbus will give Tampa Bay all it can handle, but the Lightning's depth up front and throughout the lineup will prove too much. Tampa Bay's power-play should be the difference despite the brilliant play of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Lightning in 6.
Boston vs. Toronto: Toronto failed to import a physical third/fourth-liner or blueliner at the deadline. Boston plays a heavy game, which will wear down and take its toll on the Maple Leafs. Both teams have firepower up front and from the back line. Tuukka Rask is a better goalie than Frederik Andersen, which makes the difference. Bruins in 7.
Washington vs. Carolina: Carolina is a great story, but Washington is the better team and should advance easily. If Carolina's penalty kill can shut down Alex Ovechkin, maybe the series goes longer than expected. Capitals in 5.
New York vs. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh should dominate, especially on the power play, but the Islanders have the edge in net. This call is a hunch based on home ice and how well the Islanders played at the Nassau Coliseum. If Pittsburgh wins Game 1, all bets are off. Islanders in 7.