The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are officially underway with 16 teams vying to win the trophy this year. It’ll be a returning format that hasn’t been used for the playoffs since 1993 and should provide plenty of excitement. Just as the games were getting going, the NHL 21 Playoffs Bracket simulation arrived online. Based on the games EA simulated, a historic franchise is set to skate and score its way to another Stanley Cup victory.
NHL 21 Playoffs Bracket Simulation predicts Stanley Cup champion
For the 2021 NHL Playoffs format, the top four teams from each of the realigned divisions qualified for the playoffs. In the Central Division, the Carolina Hurricanes won the division, followed by the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Nashville Predators. The Pittsburgh Penguins claimed the East and are joined by the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders.
The North Division champions were the Toronto Maple Leafs. Divisional foes, the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Montreal Canadiens join them in the postseason. Last but not least is the West Division, with Colorado winning the division and the Presidents’ Trophy. Other West teams include the Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild, and St. Louis Blues.
With that, first-round matchups were put together and set to begin on Saturday. The EA Sports’ NHL 21 Playoff Bracket Simulation gives an online look at who will win the first, second, third, and championship rounds. Based on their simulation, this year’s Stanley Cup matchup will feature the Boston Bruins defeating the Las Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-3 series.
If that happens, it will mark the Boston Bruins’ first Stanley Cup win in 10 years and their sixth overall. If the finals matchup prediction is correct, it will mark Las Vegas’ second appearance in the Stanley Cup finals and second time losing.
First round gets underway featuring cover star in action
The playoffs schedule officially began on Saturday, May 15. The first and only game had NHL 21 cover star Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals hosting the Boston Bruins. He was the global cover athlete and returned to the game’s cover after appearing on the cover for NHL 07′.
As far as ratings go, Ovechkin was originally tied as No. 2 overall with Sidney Crosby. Both players had 93 overall ratings, with the Oilers’ Conor McDavid leading all players at 95 OVR. McDavid appeared on the cover of NHL 18.
Things got off to a good start for Ovechkin and the Caps as they defeated the NHL 21 favorites, 3-2 in overtime. The game-winning goal highlight came courtesy of Nic Dowd to give Washington a 1-0 series lead.
Sunday will bring more playoff matchups to the ice, with the first game of the day featuring the Penguins hosting the Islanders at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Also on the slate are the Wild at Golden Knights, Lightning vs. Capitals, and the Flames visiting the Canucks.
If the NHL 21 Playoffs Bracket simulator is correct, it could yield high returns for bettors. Based on Vegas Insider odds, the Boston Bruins are a serious longshot to win the Stanley Cup Championship at +1200.
Teams ahead of Boston on the futures odds include favorites Colorado at +450 (9/2), Vegas at +550 (11/2), Toronto at +700 (17/1), and Tampa Bay at +750 (15/2). Of those teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning are seeking to defend the title they won in 2020.
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