LIGHTNING OVER PENGUINS
The Lightning are ready to translate their sustained regular-season dominance into the postseason. They have one of the NHL’s best offensive forwards in Nikita Kucherov, best defensive forwards in Anthony Cirelli, best defensemen in Victor Hedman and best goalies in Andrei Vasilevskiy. They’re 159-60-15 in the last three seasons for a reason.
Meanwhile, it would be surprising if at least one team from the qualifying round didn’t make a run to the conference finals. The Penguins are a good bet, although David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and the Bruins will have something to say about it. ✶