Three most likely first round upsets in 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL: New York Islanders at Winnipeg Jets

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Monday night. Here are three underdogs that are not just likely, but I am actually predicting.

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets are the eighth seed in the Western Conference, while the Vegas Golden Knights are the first seed. There is one major reason why I like Winnipeg to beat Vegas. The reason is goaltending. The Jets actually gave up fewer goals this season than the Golden Knights. Winnipeg gave up 225 goals while Vegas gave up 229 goals. Connor Hellebuyck, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2020, is an absolute workhorse, and is a better goaltender than anything the Golden Knights have to offer. The Golden Knights do get a boost by the fact that Winnipeg native Mark Stone is returning from back surgery, but there is still a lot of questions when it comes to their goaltending. Right now it seems like they are going in with a tandem of the inconsistent Laurent Brossoit and the over-the-hill Jonathan Quick! YIKES!!!

New York Rangers

A lot of people expected the New York Rangers to be in the postseason. Not everyone predicted the Devils. The Rangers were five points back of the Devils in the regular season, and gave up seven fewer goals. Like the Jets, the Rangers have a Vezina Trophy winning goaltender in between the pipes. Igor Shesterkin won in 2022. The Rangers also have the advantage when it comes to playoff experience. This is a Rangers team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2022. The Devils are in their first playoffs since 2018.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Experience and goaltending are the two reasons why I like the Lightning too. Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy in 2019 and Conn Smythe Trophy in 2021. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021, and reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2022. Don’t forget the Toronto Maple Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004!!!




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