It’s very unfortunate that our beloved Avalanche are not participating, but there is plenty of intrigue heading into the playoffs this season and some of the match-ups look like they will be hard core dog fights – no, Michael Vick is not involved. Here is my take on each series, and my winning predictions…
Series A: #1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 New York Rangers
This series is very interesting. Washington is in dire need to break the chain of losing in the playoffs yet New York has pretty much OWNED them all year. In the 4 games that these teams played against each other during the season, New York outscored Washington 18-6 and won 3 of the meetings. If the Ovech-trick doesn’t show up to play, this series will be more of the same for the Caps. Plus, how can you discount King Henrik Lundqvuist in net? Interesting, but I’m sticking with the Caps in 6.
Series B: #2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #7 Buffalo Sabres
This match-up isn’t going to turn out to be very good at all. Even though Buffalo has been playing some great hockey and has charged into the playoffs full speed ahead, Philly will quickly extinguish any fire the Sabres bring with them. Philly is too big, too strong, and too good to lose this one – especially if Pronger plays. The only wild card for Buffalo is Ryan Miller. Will he stand on his head? I’m taking Philly in 5.
Series C: #3 Boston Bruins vs. #6 Montreal Canadiens
This will be one of the best first round match-ups. Montreal has been one of only a handful teams able to solve the Tim Thomas puzzle, but Boston can surely score goals in bunches. Chara will be throwin his weight around, Subban will be trying to follow up last year’s playoff performance and Carey Price will have to be magnificent. This one is a toss-up! But, I think I’ll take Boston in 7.
Series D: #4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning
This, too, will be a very interesting and entertaining series. Without Sid the Kid, can Pittsburgh compete? Will the St. Louis/Stamkos Show take over a game or two or three? One of the biggest question marks in this match-up is goaltending for the Lightning. But, this will be my first upset pick – Tampa in 6.
Series E: #1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Chicago Blackhawks
In my opinion, the defending champ Blackhawks don’t even deserve to be here. They made it into the second season by the skin of their teeth and haven’t shown that they can compete on a regular basis. The Sedin twins, with some help from Kessler and Luongo, will roll right over them and their rookie goalie. There is NO WAY the Canucks lose this series. Hell, there is no way this series lasts more than 5 games – Vancouver in 5.
Series F: #2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Los Angeles Kings
The Marleau/Thornton/Heatly line will dominate this series. San Jose finally looks like they might actually contend this year, and with last year’s Stanley Cup winning netminder (big mistake in letting him go, Chicago), no one could pick Los Angeles to win this one. With Kopitar out, the Kings will have to rely on production from too many young players. But, they do have Johnny Quick? Still, San Jose in 5.
Series G: #3 Detroit Red Wings vs. #6 Phoenix Coyotes
If history repeats itself, this will be a great series. These two teams met in the first round last year and needed 7 exhilarating games to decide a winner. Phoenix is a team that lacks mega-star power, yet plays like a team, whereas Detroit relies heavily on their stars to make a difference. If Jimmy Howard doesn’t bring his ‘A’ game, Phoenix will make things very difficult. But, I’m going to have to side with star-power – Detroit in 6.
Series H: #4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Nashville Predators
Nashville is another team that lacks mega-star power, but gets production from everywhere. They play a great team game. This series will be tough-as-nails and scrappy, and the hit total will rival the shot total. Even though the Ducks have the league’s leading goal scorer in Perry, I think the Predators come out on top – Nashville in 6.
So, there you have it! Agree? Disagree? Who do you think will get to taste victory and drink from Lord Stanley’s sacred chalis…
Tags: Anaheim Ducks Avalanche Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Detroit Red Wings Los Angeles Kings Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators New York Rangers NHL Philidelphia Flyers Phoenix Coyotes Pittsburgh Penguins San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Tampa Bay Lightning Vancouver Canucks Washington Capitals