Predictions for the Eastern Conference in the First-Round of the NHL Playoffs

Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers
Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs got a nice surprise on Tuesday night when they lost to the Florida Panthers and were gifted with a series that is likely 10x easier.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will kick off the NHL Playoffs next week on the road against the Boston Bruins, and while they did lose to Boston four times this year, I'm not worried at all.

The Leafs are overdue for some playoff luck and Boston is going to regret losing their final two games.

I am not saying it's going to be easy, just easier than playing Florida.

Boston has one of the best players in the NHL In David Pasternk and one of the best defenseman in the NHL In Charlie McAvoy. Their goalies are also among the best in the league.

But after that? Their roster is not good. They have a ton of players who could play on the Leafs fourth line or their bottom-pairing, but that's it.

I realize that the Bruins probably haven't lost seven out of 11 games in probably over two years, and that that is what is going to have to happen for them to lose to the Leafs, but I think it's still going to happen.

The Leafs can put a superstar on every line, and can (assuiming Calle Jarnkrok can play) dress a fourth line that is better than Boston's 3rd line (Dewar-Kampf-Jarnkrok). With three scoring lines and a great shut-down line, the Leafs are going to be relentless.

The weakness of the Leafs is, of course, their goalies and defense, but the randomness of goalies should play into their favor.

Consider this: Auston Matthews is better than Pavel Zacha, and that is true in pretty much every signle game. There is really no chance, outside of injury, that the Bruins will get a better performance out of Zacha than the Leafs get out of Matthews.

However, when it comes to goaltending this isn't the case. There is no doubt that both Swayman and Ullmark are superior to Samsonov and Woll. Over a whole season this is as much of a slamdunk as Matthews over Zacha. However, in a single playoff series, there is at least a 40% chance the Leafs get the better goaltending.

Basically, there is a degree of randomness to Boston's biggest strength that isn't present in Toronto's. This will lead to the Leafs winning the series.

I think this is the biggest lock of the playoffs. The follow predictions could go either way, but the Leafs over Boston is all but a guarantee!