The Tampa Bay Lightning ran away with the NHL’s best record, making them the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. But it wouldn’t be the playoffs without surprises, and the Eastern Conference could be wide open if they get tripped up. Will they get the job done?

A quick glance at the Western Conference reveals a very strong group of six teams at the top. Would anyone be surprised to see any one of the Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, or Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final?

All this is to say, now is the time to bold, and the USA TODAY Sports NHL staff is ready to document their craziest playoff predictions.

Kevin Allen: Ryan

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