Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playoff predictions: NHL Round 1

I have been watching and reading different "expert" picks for the last few days. They come from all over the internet, Ex. ESPN, NHL.com, and TSN. What I found was very few analysts were willing to gamble on upsets. The only upset pick was Buffalo over Philly. This comes a year after half the first round ended with upsets. So I've tried to put my big boy pants on and try not to be a tool like 90% of the people out there.

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals Vs. New York Rangers

I have watched each of the four games between these two teams and it wasn't pretty. The Rangers will be looking for Marian Gaborik to break out of his funk and put goals on the board. Two things worry me about this series. 1. Washington has been killed by injuries on the defensive end as the season closes out. 2. Gaborik and several other Rangers just seem to kill the Caps over the years. With all that said I think the Caps take this one in 7. With a healthy Wideman and Green I do not think this is a series to be honest. However Tyler Sloan and Erskine on the ice together at MSG with Rangers having last change will make anyone worry. As Skinner says "Prove me wrong kids. Prove me wrong."

Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabers

As I mentioned before this has been the trendy upset pick. In a way the Flyers remind me of the Caps last year. Great regular season but just seemed to get stagnant over the last month. That combined with a healthy Ryan Miller and an injured Chris Pronger I am also going to go with the Sabers. Remember these Sabers can score unlike in previous years. Sabers in 6.

Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadians

Since the addition of Tomas Kaberle maybe people have loved the Bruins. I don't know what it is but I think Boston stumbles here. Maybe I just can not get past what Montreal did last year but Boston just seems like its primed for a fall. Call me crazy. Montreal in 7.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning

No Sid the Kid of Geno for half the season and still Pittsburgh comes within a game of taking the Atlantic and the 2nd seed. This team can play defense and has the top PK unit in the league. MAF has been outstanding over the last few months. Enough so, Mark and I have discussed if he should be in consideration for MVP. However picking Pitt just doesn't seem right to me. Pitt has won 10 games by way of SO. Which I have come to believe is not real hockey. Also their GPA is 2.3 since Crosby went out with an injury. That is not a lot of room for mistakes. While I would like to see a round two match up (or Eastern Conference Final for that matter) of Pens v Caps I think TB is able to take one game on road and win in 7.

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks control their own destiny and lose at home to Detroit. Not the best note to start the playoffs on. I like the Blackhawks a lot and I think they will score more in this series then people think. But Crawford makes me cringe in net. I just do not see him stopping Kesler and the Sedin twins. Vancouver in 5.

San Jose Sharks vs LA Kings

Jonathan Quick is a great goaltender. However the loss of Kopitar is just too much for LA. Penner has not meshed since being acquired and LA will struggle to score. I think this series goes to San Jose in 5.

Detroit Red Wings vs Phoenix Coyotes

Keith Yandle... ever since my All-Star draft I like this guy. However, I think Detroit is the better team even without Zetterberg for game 1. (By the way his wife or girlfriend is really attractive) Jimmy Howard comes up big and makes this a short series. Detroit in 5.

Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators

Dan Ellis looks to be in goal for the Ducks for game 1. Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are great d-men and provide a good chance to slow down the Ducks offense. Many people have the Ducks as a dark horse Cup contender. I think Anaheim runs out of steam and falls to Nashville in a 7 game series. Nashville moves to the second round.

Think I'm crazy? Let me know comment below.

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