Simulating the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with NHL22

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are finally here and with the first round matchups now finalized, there are unlimited ways we could start to predict what is coming for all 16 playoff teams. Today we are gonna try out of the sillier ways to do that, by seeing what the the NHL22 algorithm predicts will happen in the playoffs this year.

For those of you who don’t know NHL22 allows players to start a “Playoffs” which is the feature we used for this simulation. The game also allows for all games in the playoffs to be simulated which is what we did here. There was no human player involved in this simulation, all games were played strictly by the AI only. It’s also worth adding that this simulation was done on the PS4 version of the game.

Without further ado though let’s get into what NHL22 predicts will happen in this years playoffs.

The First Round

Eastern Conference

PIT 4 vs NYR 0

We’ll start by looking at the sweeps that occurred in the first round. The first of which coming between the Rangers and the Penguins. Sidney Crosby had a phenomenal first round scoring a series-best nine points in four games which included seven goals. The Rangers just weren’t able to get the puck in the net throughout the series as they only managed to score five total goals in four games against Casey DeSmith who boasted a strong 0.960 SV% in the series.

Three Stars of the Series:

Sidney Crosby (7G-2A-9P), Kris Letang (0G-6A-6P), Casey DeSmith (128 SA, 0.960 SV%, 1.25 GAA)

FLA 4 vs WAS 0

Another Eastern conference sweep. Florida easily dismantled the Capitals in four games. There isn’t really have much to say about this one, other than that Florida was able to hold Alex Ovechkin to only four goals in the series.

Three Stars of the Series:

Jonathan Huberdeau (1G-5A-6P), Alex Ovechkin (4G-0A-4P), Sergei Bobrovsky (132 SA, 0.931 SV%, 2.06 GAA)

BOS 4 vs CAR 1

Goaltending matters in the playoffs, and the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t really seem to know that going into this series. Despite strong performances from a number of Carolina’s forwards, the Bruins were able to light up Frederik Andersen who ended the series with an .854 SV%.

Three Stars of the Series:

David Pastrnak (4G-4A-8P), Sebastian Aho (1G-7A-8P), Seth Jarvis (4G-3A-7P)

TBL 4 vs TOR 2

The closest series in the East was fittingly between Toronto and Tampa Bay. The series was incredibly high scoring, despite Auston Matthews not really showing up. There was a total of 43 goals scored by both teams. But ultimately after trailing 4–2 going into the third period of Game 6, Corey Perry was able to force overtime for the Lightning where Ross Colton finished off the Leafs.

Three Stars of the Series:

Steven Stamkos (3G-7A-10P), David Kampf (2G-5A-7P), Victor Hedman (5G-3A-8P)

Western Conference

MIN 4 vs STL 0

This was the only sweep in the West, and like most sweeps there isn’t much to say about it. Fleury was the clear star of the series only allowing eight goals against from St. Louis who never really were able to get anything started.

Three Stars of the Series:

Marc-Andre Fleury (121 SA, 0.933 SV%, 2.00 GA), Tyson Jost (2G-4A-6P), Brandon Duhaime (3G-2A-5P)

NSH 4 vs COL 3

The biggest upset so far! Nashville came out to an early lead in the series winning three of the first four games. Then Colorado was able to mount a comeback bringing the series to a dramatic game seven. Colorado had all but won the series, but with only nine seconds left in the third period Filip Forsberg tied the game and then Luke Kunin quickly ended the series in overtime.

Three Stars of the Series:

Filip Forsberg (3G-6A-9P), Mikko Rantanen (2G-5A-7P), Mikael Granlund (3G-3A-6P)

EDM 4 vs LAK 3

Like the previous series this one looked as if it was also going to end in an upset as the Kings took the early series lead. In Game 5 when Edmonton faced elimination in overtime, Kailer Yamamoto was able to give the Oilers a second chance. In Game 7, Leon Draisaitl was able to score the game-winning goal with only 43 seconds remaining.

Three Stars of the Series:

Leon Draisatl (3G-4A-7P), Mike Smith (235 SA, 0.927 SV%, 2.16 GAA), Adrian Kempe (3G-4A-7P)

CGY 4 vs DAL 3

Do you like overtime? These two teams sure did. Dallas who was lead by a resurgent Alexander Radulov took an early lead in this series winning both of the first two games. Then Calgary was able to win back-to-back games in overtime to even things up. Both teams split the next two games and for one final time the teams met in overtime in game seven, where Matthew Tkachuk quickly finished off the series in front of fans at the Saddledome.

Three Stars of the Series:

Johnny Gaudreau (3G-9A-12P), Alexander Radulov (4G, 4A, 8P), Elias Lindholm (4G-5A-9P)

The Second Round

Eastern Conference

FLA 4 vs TBL 2

The Battle of Florida was back for a second year in a row. But where last year’s playoffs saw the Lightning win, in this simulation the Panthers were able to get their revenge. The series ended with Florida coming back from down 2–0 in the third period to win Game 6 by a score of 3–2.

Three Stars of the Series:

Anthony Duclair (5G-4A-9P), Jonathan Huberdeau (2G-5A-7P), Steven Stamkos (4G-3A-7P)

BOS 4 vs PIT 3

This series was a goalie battle for the ages with both DeSmith and Linus Ullmark recording two shoutouts each in the first four games. After dropping the fifth game, Rickard Rakell was able to prevent Pittsburgh’s elimination by getting a goal in overtime in Game 6. However, the Pens were no match for Brad Marchand who recorded four goals in game seven to clinch the series.

Three Stars of the Series:

Brad Marchand (8G-4A-12P), Patrice Bergeron (0G-10A-10P), Sidney Crosby (3G-4A-7P)

Western Conference

NSH 4 vs MIN 3

Another seven-game series. Nashville was once again able to upset their opponent. This series went back and forth between both teams but ended in a crushing 5 goal third period by the Predators to knock out the Wild.

Three Stars of the Series:

Ryan Hartman (4G, 6A, 10P), Colton Sissons (3G-5A-8P), Filip Forsberg (3G-3A-6P)

EDM 4 vs CGY 3

Going to seven games, the Battle of Alberta did not disappoint. The Oilers came in hot winning the first game of the series 6–2, and then after nearly finishing the Flames off in Game 6. Tkachuk was able to once again keep the Flames alive with another clutch overtime goal. The Oilers eventually defeated the Flames.

Three Stars of the Series:

Leon Draisaitl (4G, 8A, 14P), Connor McDavid (5G-5A-10P), Elias Lindholm (2G-8A-10P)

The Conference Finals

FLA 4 vs BOS 2

The Panthers were once again able to mostly dominate their opponent. With Bergeron playing in possibly his final NHL games he was at least the main force of opposition against Florida. But Claude Giroux was able to close out the final game of the series with a hat trick.

Three Stars of the Series:

Claude Giroux (5G-5A-10P), Patrice Bergeron (3G-6A-9P), Jonathan Huberdeau (5G-2A-7P)

EDM 4 vs NSH 3

The Oilers found themselves in their third consecutive seven game series. But this time they were able to win it with a Game 7 Mike Smith shutout.

Despite their elimination, you have to give credit to the Predators who had an incredible Cinderella run beating both the Avalanche and Wild.

Three Stars of the Series:

Leon Draisatl (3G-5A-8P), Mike Smith (2 SO, 0.913 SV%, 2.68 GAA), Roman Josi (2G-5A-7P)

Stanley Cup Final

FLA 4 vs EDM 2

Florida remained consistent in the finals. Once again they started the series strong by winning the first two games. In game three the Oilers mounted a late three-goal comeback to make it a series. However, Sergei Bobrovsky shutout Edmonton in Game 4. In Game 5, the Oilers once again rallied together for another three-goal comeback, and in Game 6, a Carter Verhaeghe hat trick crushed the dreams of Oiler fans worldwide, sealing the deal and crowning the Florida Panthers as the 2022 Stanley Cup Champions.

The Florida Panthers win the 2022 Stanley Cup. via EA Sports NHL22

We’ll see how closely the actual playoffs match this simulation soon enough. Let us know in the comments and on our social media if you think the folks over at EA might have gotten it right this year.

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