I don't claim to be a hockey expert, but I am enjoying hockey more and more these days, and I'm paying more and more attention to it. Also, this is a sports blog, so it's my responsibility to talk about most sports. Not golf, of course, because golf is absurd and pointless. But most other sports.
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
I'm hearing all over town that Montreal was the one matchup we didn't want to see in the first round. I still feel fine about the Caps' ability to overwhelm opponents, even Canadian opponents.
Washington in 5
#2 New Jersey Devils vs. #7 Philadelphia Flyers
All I know for sure is that the Devils are really damn good. Martin Brodeur is still elite, and I don't care how physical the Flyers play, Zach Parise is going to find a way to put goals in nets.
New Jersey in 5
#3 Buffalo Sabres vs. #6 Boston Bruins
This seems to be one of the sexier picks for an upset, and I do think the Bruins have got a good squad, but I just can't see Ryan Miller letting the Sabres come up short in the first round.
Buffalo in 6
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Ottawa Senators
Neither team is particularly good defensively, but the Penguins have the offensive firepower and a potentially dominant goaltender. It could be explosive, but it could also just not be close.
Pittsburgh in 5
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Colorado Avalanche
I wish I could predict good things for Colorado, but there's really no chance they come out of this series with a win. I mean, like a win in any game. San Jose is stacked.
San Jose in 4
#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Nashville Predators
The Blackhawks are basically Capitals West: they've got a ton of firepower, but their defense can be problematic. Nashville is the opposite, which could make the series interesting, but I wouldn't bank on it.
Chicago in 5
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Los Angeles Kings
The Kings? The Kings are in the playoffs? Is nothing sacred? Seriously, though, they're actually pretty decent, and the Canucks aren't unstoppable. In the end, though, I'll take the veterans.
Vancouver in 6
#4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings
Unstoppable force (Red Wings' puck movement) vs. immovable object (Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov). Today, I'll take Detroit, but if Bryzgalov gets hot, forget about it.
Detroit in 7
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