NHL Playoff First Round PredictionsPosted: April 11, 2012
Ahhh. Spring. All baseball teams still have hope. The NBA, well that is dead to me until the Sonics come back. Most importantly the NHL playoffs! This is arguably the most intense and entertaining part of all sports. The end of the season was intense for a few of us West Coasters. There was playoff hockey for the last three weeks. The Eastern Conference had a mini race down the stretch as well. Both conferences look to be wide open but some one has to win so, I will tell you who. To be honest I would have had this out last night but, I spent the night Face Timing with Geoff Buchanan.
1 Vancouver Canucks versus 8 Los Angeles Kings
The Kings come in to this match up after crapping away the Pacific Division over the last week. Vancouver is coming in hot, winning 8 of 9 to close the season and claimed the Presidents’ Cup. The Kings have a great defense and guys that can put the puck in the net at any time. However, the Canucks have a great defense and put the puck in the net frequently. Canucks in 6.
2 St. Louis Blues versus 7 San Jose Sharks
The Blues are young, fast and have great goldtending. They would be a problem for any team in a playoff series. However, the Sharks are my favorite team and I am picking them to win. This is strictly a biased pick. Sharks in 6.
3 Phoenix Coyotes versus 6 Chicago Blackhawks
Phoenix closed out winning games that had to and proved they can win with the pressure on. Mike Smith played out of his mind down the stretch. A hot goaltender can carry any team a long way in the playoffs. That being said the Blackhawks goaltending has been suspect and inconsistant all season. Chicago is going to have to rely on Hossa, Sharp, Kane and Toews to score a bunch. I don’t see that happening against a stingy Coyotes team. Coyotes in 5.
4 Nashville Predators versus Detroit Red Wings
Let me say this now, I hate the Red Wings, but in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. Nashville has a great goaltender in Pekka Rinne and good defense. They will need both to beat the best. Detroit makes the playoffs every year with thousand year old players who are extremely smart and skillful. This might be the best playoff series of the first round. I think the Preds get over the hump in a grueling series that has a few overtime games. Predators in 7.
1 New York Rangers versus 8 Ottawa Senators
I see this as the biggest mismatch of the playoffs. The Rangers are deep and talented with great goaltending. Ottawa held on a playoff spot but has been inconsistant all season. I expect Henrik Lundqvist to shut down the Senators. I will give Ottawa one game but that’s because I am feeling nice. Rangers in 5.
2 Boston Bruins versus 7 Washington Capitals
Boston is one of the most balanced teams in the NHL and the defending champs. Tim Thomas turns up his game this time of year and that is scary for anyone. The Capitals come in with almost no pressure compared to the last couple years. Ovechkin can turn any game and series. I can see the Caps giving the Bruins some real trouble but won’t have enough. Bruins in 6.
3 Florida Panthers versus 6 New Jersey Devils
Florida backed into a division championship but ended a decade long playoff drought. The Devils are here every year and the experience is going to prove to be the difference. Panthers are just happy to be in. Devils will take advantage of that fact and dominate this series. Devils in 5.
4 Pittsburgh Penguins versus 5 Philadelphia Flyers
Everyone thinks this is going seven games. I think if Sid the Kid played the whole year, the Penguins would be the number one seed. The Flyers are going to have to step up huge on defense and slow down the incredible offense of Pittsburgh. Philly can win games in the series but don’t have enough fire
power to hang. Penguins in 6.
See you next round!