I have a theory and it’s pretty well proven. The more you know, the less you know. When it comes to stuff like these predicitions, I look at every series and say both teams could easily win. On TSN’s the Reporters yesterday they had the Bruins as the most sure team to advance past the 1st round. REALLY?!? Detroit was the hottest team down the stretch, now they have Datsyuk back and they might get Zetterberg back mid series! It really looks like this 1st round is going to be nothing short of incredible. Three of the four 2 vs 3 series are rivalries and should be amazing battles. Only 1 Canadian team this season is a downer without a doubt, but five of six original 6 teams are in and such great storylines. Some playoffs may not be as exciting as others, but they never fail to be tremendous….here we go again!
DO NOT SLEEP ON THE WINGS!! I don’t like the way the Bruins have seemingly cruised the last half of this season. They haven’t been pushed at all, and now they’re facing an experienced team, the best coach in hockey, and the hottest team in the league the last month. Congrats on the President’s trophy, you get the toughest 1st round matchup you likely could have asked for. I touched on a lot of what I like for the Wings in the opening paragraph. The key will obviously be Jimmy Howard stepping up for the Wings and he proved last year that he’s capable of doing just that. The Bruins are loaded, I’m not denying that for a second. But the Wings are such a brutal matchup for them. I’m really tempted to take the Wings here, and since everyone wants to crown the Bruins Eastern champs already, I’m going to.
Red Wings in 6
I hope this series is much better than I’m expecting, but I’m looking at it right now and it doesn’t get me too pumped up. Neither team winning would be an upset, there is no rivalry, no storyline to get people excited, it’s just not intriguing to me. Sure the Pens will likely blowout the Blue Jackets, but if the Jackets win a few and an upset looks possible then things will get juicy! I will say that I am interested to see how Stamkos does in the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of what an amazing sniper Stamkos is, but I’ve felt he’s been pretty overrated by the media. 50 and 60 goal seasons are great, but as a playmaker, defensively, in the dot, ability to play in any situation, that is the stuff I want to see improve in his game before I crown him a top 5 player in the league. It’ll take away from his scoring, but there is a reason 50 goal scorers don’t lead teams to Stanley Cups and all around great players do. As for what I think will happen…Bishop needs to get back. He’s the only chance the Lightning have with such a young team. I don’t think he gets back in time.
Canadiens in 6
The only way the Jackets can win this series (and they can) is Bobrovsky playing incredible and Fleury doing what he has done in the last 2 playoff seasons. I have a feeling that Fleury is going to get tough and play well. People forget, he started last year’s playoffs with a shutout. He was bad, but he wasn’t as bad as memory may say he was. And he’s won before. He stole game 7 of the 09 final in Joe Louis arena. That’s a pretty impressive notch to have on your belt. That’s a Nahreman Issa type notch on your belt! We all know up front the Pens are the better team, and the Jackets just have hardly any playoff experience. Also it feels like making the playoffs was the Blue Jackets Cup win. I don’t love the Pens, but they should take this series.
Penguins in 5
I think most are going to pick Philly. Completely understandable. They’ve been the hotter team, and even though I haven’t checked the numbers on this, they’ve been one of the top teams in the league since firing Peter Laviolette. But I like the Rangers in this spot. They’re more balanced. Now Mason isn’t expected to go in game 1. I love Ray Emery, but can they trust him? Even if Steve Mason plays most of this series, he has comeback from the dead this season, but who knows what he’ll be like in the playoffs? I actually like the Rangers a lot in these playoffs as a darkhorse. If Philly got….even the Pens, I would like their chances because they go to a different level for the Pens. But I like Vigneault over Berube, Lundqvist over Mason, and the Rags blueline over Philly’s.
Rangers in 6
The Ducks aren’t going far. Their depth in my opinion is vastly overrated. If you took Ryan Getzlaf off this team I don’t know that they would be in a playoff spot. But having said all this, I don’t see why they should fear the Stars. Who is the shutdown pair Lindy Ruff can use against Getzlaf and Perry? I know Seguin and Benn will see a ton of Beauchemin. Let’s not forget either, for all the praise heaped on Tyler Seguin this season, this kid has disappeared in the playoffs because he plays far too much on the perimeter. And that was in the East, the West is MUCH more physical. Will John Gibson get the start in game 1? He probably should, and he’ll probably shine because he’s thrived at every level he’s played at. I don’t believe the Ducks go past the 2nd round, but I believe they’ll get past the Stars
Ducks in 5
You know I had the Kings here and went over all the reasons I loved them. In fact, this is what I had…or I guess still have but you get it. “The Kings are such a terrible matchup for the Sharks. Experience, goaltending, defense, and even though they don’t score a lot they have guys who can put the puck in the net (Carter, Gaborik, Kopitar, Williams, Brown). The Kings will look to wear down the Sharks. It might be a lot like the Kings 1st round series with the Blues last season where the Kings dropped the first 2 games on the road but slowly chipped away and wore the Blues down. And that was the Blues, who are built to play that game. The Sharks aren’t. The Sharks THINK they can win in the playoffs, the Kings KNOW they can.”
All this is true. But the Sharks showed me something in the playoffs last year, and I think they realize this is likely their last kick at this thing. I’m as big on the way the Kings are built as anyone, including Kings diehards. But in the first round, with the Sharks likely being as desperate of a team as you’ll see, I think they get it done in game 7 at home.
Sharks in 7
Forgot about the fact that the last game Roy played was game 7 of the 2003 1st round facing the Wild didn’t you? Again I’ll say it, I have pretty much no clue how the Avs are in this spot. Yet here they are. The major edge is in net, where Varlamov has a little bit of playoff experience and has been incredible this season. The rest of the matchups are pretty even with no Matt Duchene. Miko Koivu, and Mikael Granlund matchup perfectly with Stastny and MacKinnon down the middle. Suter is far and away the best D-man in this series. The Wild will make this a long series, and I could see the Avs being upset here being so young, but I’m going to say they squeak by.
Avalanche in 7
What an absolute DISASTER for the Blues to end the season the way they have. Talk about getting punished, now they go from getting Minny which would have been a great matchup for them, to getting the Hawks with…at least as of writing this…are getting Kane and Toews back for game 1. This is a BAD situation for the Blues. I don’t like the Hawks to do it back to back, but I love them to get out of the first round. And for the Blues, the team I picked to win the Cup at the start of the season, what a major disappointment this would be.
Chicago in 6
As for the rest of the playoffs….
Eastern Conference Champs
I love the Rangers in the East. I just think they’re so well rounded as a team, and the East could be an easy road. I expect Brad Richards to turn back the clock, Lundqvist to come up big, they have a real solid blueline, great balance up front, they’re experienced, well coached, and if you read my stuff you know I love teams who fly under the radar.
Western Conference Champs
I’ve been burned by the Sharks before. And most think that they’ll get so beat up by the Kings that they won’t be able to stand even if they do get past them. But if they get past the Kings, they matchup great with the Ducks, and great with the Hawks. Logan Couture is the x factor for this team. If he steps up, this team can win the West…and I’m saying he will.
Stanley Cup Champs
I think the Sharks finally do it. They have a different feeling than they did from 06-12. Those teams, even though they weren’t that different, were soft. With home ice against the Kings they get past them, and then they’ll prove to be much deeper and better coached than the Ducks, and I believe the Hawks will wear down as these playoffs go along. Even though the Rangers won’t have anywhere near the physical road the Sharks will have, the Sharks will be much more battle tested than the Rangers.
Sharks in 5 to win the Cup
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