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2018 Stanley Cup playoff predictions: Confidence high in Jets, Lightning

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Tampa Bay and Winnipeg are almost unanimous picks to make the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs begin Wednesday night, and with some interesting storylines to boot.

In the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights are the division winners. The Golden Knights will host its first playoff games, while the Predators enter the postseason coming off their best regular-season in franchise history. The Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets are also back in the playoffs.

In the Eastern Conference, there’s some familiar teams at the top with the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. The two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins are also back and could face the Capitals in the second round yet again.

With the Chicago Blackhawks not in the playoffs for the first time in nine years, Second City Hockey’s staff and other Blackhawks fans have found filling out a bracket challenging.

Just for some laughs, here are SCH’s preseason picks:

Brad: Edmonton over Toronto

Brandon: Tampa Bay over Minnesota

Dave: Montreal over Edmonton

Jenna: Edmonton over Toronto

And here are SCH’s 2018 playoff predictions with overwhelming confidence in a potential Jets vs. Lightning matchup in the Stanley Cup Final.

2018 SCH’s Stanley Cup playoff predictions

Voter NSH vs. COL WPG vs. MINN VGK vs. LA ANA vs. SJ TB vs. NJ BOS vs. TOR WSH vs. CBJ PITT vs. PHI East champion West champion Stanley Cup champion Conn Smythe
Voter NSH vs. COL WPG vs. MINN VGK vs. LA ANA vs. SJ TB vs. NJ BOS vs. TOR WSH vs. CBJ PITT vs. PHI East champion West champion Stanley Cup champion Conn Smythe
Brad NSH MINN VGK SJ TB BOS WSH PITT BOS NSH BOS Brad Marchand
Brandon NSH WPG LA SJ TB TOR CBJ PITT TB WPG TB Brayden Point
Dave NSH WPG LA SJ TB TOR WSH PITT TB WPG TB Steven Stamkos
Jenna NSH WPG VGK ANA TB TOR CBJ PITT TB WPG WPG Blake Wheeler
Peter NSH WPG VGK SJ TB BOS CBJ PITT TB WPG TB Nikita Kucherov