The indisputable guide to winning your NHL playoffs pool – CBC.ca

The NHL playoffs are here, which means it’s time to expect the unexpected — until the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

Only once since 2009 has one of those teams not sipped from Lord Stanley’s mug. That was in 2011, when Boston’s victory in Game 7 sparked riots in Vancouver.

But this season, the Blackhawks missed the playoffs altogether, while the Kings limp in as the West’s No. 7 seed. Meanwhile, the Penguins are likely on tired legs after two consecutive Cup runs.

So which team is primed to take advantage and make good on the NHL’s promise of parity? And, more importantly, should you load up on that team in your NHL playoffs pool or spread the wealth in a year where uncertainty abounds?

Dominant top 4

Let’s assume the prime targets in your league are point scorers, since even in categories leagues those players tend to fill up the stat sheet with power-play time and shots on goal.

There are probably just four teams you’d be comfortable loading up on this post-season: the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.

Just outside of the top four are the Vegas Golden Knights — who’d be a decent bet in the Pacific Division — but keep an eye on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who recently returned after dealing with a concussion.

On each of the top-four teams, there are a few players you should be comfortable taking no matter what. If you’re rolling with the Bruins, their top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak are all safe choices.

The Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, left, David Pastrnak, centre, and Patrice Bergeron could be the best in hockey. (Michael Dwyer/The Associated Press)

The Jets present even more options, with five players having

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