My NHL Playoff Predictions …

I’m a fairly big hockey fan, and for a while I used to try to predict the series winners and see if I can get over a 50% accuracy rating. I didn’t do it last season, but now that I have a blog I figure there’s no better time for me to restart the tradition than when I can post it so that everyone can see just how poorly I do [grin].

Anyway, first I’ll give the summary of my choices, with the team I pick to win being in bold. Then I’ll explain why afterwards. I’ll also update each round with which ones I got right and which I got wrong, and then keep that running total going forward as I predict the next round.

Eastern Conference

NY Rangers vs Ottawa Senators
Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals Incorrect
Florida Panters vs NJ Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers Incorrect

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks vs LA Kings Incorrect
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks Correct
Pheonix Coyotes vs Chicago Black Hawks Correct
Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings Incorrect

So, in the East:

Rangers vs Senators: The Rangers are a good team, and full value for their being first in the Eastern conference. The Senators have been one of the most surprising teams this year, although they went on a bit of a slump going into the playoffs (although all games were close). The Senators have a great record against the Rangers, but the playoffs are a completely new season … although not always. The big question is whether Maclean can do what Martin often failed to do and adjust when necessary. Tortorella is a great and experienced coach, but he’s a motivator and not a manipulator, making that easier. You could take the point totals and maybe how hot they are now and base it on that, but I’ll go with my heart on this one and be prepared to be wrong.

Bruins vs Capitals: I like Ovechkin, but Chara’s just too good for him to work around, and without Ovechkin I don’t think that the rest of the Caps can outplay the Bruins enough to win the series.

Panthers vs Devils: The Panthers were still fighting for a playoff spot late in the season, and are only in the third spot because they won their division. The Devils are at least as good a team if not better. And I won’t bet against Brodeur if it comes down to goaltending. Although, the last time I said that, Ray Emery and the Senators beat Brodeur and the Devils. But likely not this time.

Penguins vs Flyers: This will be a great series, but with Crosby back and rested, Pittsburgh just has too much firepower. If Crosby stays healthy, they will win, and if he gets injured, they still have a good shot.

Western Conference:

I know this conference less than the East, so these picks are harder.

Canucks vs Kings: Upsets can happen, and the Kings will be looking to play spoiler and have some talent, but unless Luongo completely implodes and Schneider can’t take over the Canucks have more than enough left, even without Daniel Sedin, to pull this off.

Blues vs Sharks: The Sharks have been somewhat unfairly targeted as playoff chokers, and the Blues are a bit of an upstart team, which might make this interesting. If Brian Elliot can play and play the way he has been this season, it will be an easy win. If he can’t, Halak has had playoff success, and Hitchcock will likely keep them focused. The Sharks struggled a bit this year and so while this might be more even than it might look on paper, the Blues should pull it off.

Coyotes vs Black Hawks: The Hawks are without Toews, who’s a critical part of their team. They also aren’t the team that won the Cup a few years ago. The Coyotes should be hungry to get past the first round and home ice advantage will be critical to them in what might be their swan song in the desert.

Predators vs Red Wings: This should be a close series and a great one, but in the end I simply won’t bet against Detroit’s experience and will to win.

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