NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 3

For the second year in a row, in a Montreal/Tampa Bay series I hit a case where if I had known something before making my prediction, I would have changed it … and would have been right. This time, it was the sterling record Tampa had against Montreal in the regular season; while the regular season doesn’t mean that much in the playoffs, that dominant a record usually means that there’s something about your team that matches up really well against that team, and in a close series that’s all you need. That being said, that was the only series that I predicted incorrectly this round, leaving me at 8 – 4, which means that I will be above .500 for this playoff year. So let’s see how far above it I get this year.

Eastern Conference

Rangers vs Tampa Bay: The Rangers had to go to 7 games to get rid of Washington, while Tampa Bay had to go 6 to get rid of Montreal. There’s not much difference in how much rest they’ve had. The teams, obviously, are both strong. But there are a couple of things that stand out for me. First, the Rangers have played something like 14 straight one goal playoff games. Second, the Rangers have just come back from a 3 – 1 deficit. This is a team that can and has played in close games and is a team that simply will not go away if you get up on them. Tampa Bay didn’t really rush to put Montreal away either when they had them on the ropes. So I have to give the Rangers the edge.

Prediction: Rangers

Western Conference

Anaheim vs Chicago: This one is really, really close and tough to call. You don’t want to bet against a recent Stanley Cup winner who is playing really well right now. But you don’t want to be against a conference champion who’s playing really well right now either. Rest could be a factor … but it could be a factor either with fatigue or rust. With Game 1 not until Sunday, fatigue won’t be a problem, but rust might. And one game could make the difference in this series. Flipping a coin’s probably going to be as accurate, but I’ll take Anaheim in this one.

Prediction: Anaheim

Summary

Rangers vs Tampa Bay Incorrect
Anaheim vs Chicago Incorrect

Overall Record: 8 – 6

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