Round 1 Predictions

Last year I went seven for eight; let’s see if I can make it perfect this year:

Eastern Conference

(1) Washington over (8) NY Rangers in six games

Lundqvist has the ability to steal this series and AO’s zero goals against the Rangers this year is worrisome, but I think the Caps finally stick with one goalie (Neuvirth) and get a much needed series win after last year’s disappointment.

(2) Philadelphia over (7) Buffalo in seven games

The only reason this series isn’t my upset special for Round 1 is because I can’t go against my preseason Stanley Cup pick in the Flyers. The Sabres are flying and have one of the best goalies in the league. The Flyers have three options in net and I think we’ll see at least two of Boucher, Bobrovsky and Leighton in this series. Pronger also hasn’t played in a while, but he’d suit up missing an arm if he had to.

(3) Boston over (6) Montreal in six games

I don’t see the Habs pulling off another miracle upset this year, and it will only get to six games because of their excellent powerplay. Thomas vs Price should be one for the ages.

(5) Tampa Bay over (4) Pittsburgh in seven games

This one is more for personal reasons; I don’t like the Penguins, I don’t like their system, and I don’t want to see them in the second round¬†without Crosby and Malkin. Calling Tampa to win Game 7 on the road is a big risk, but a Washington-Tampa second round would be amazing.

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver over (8) Chicago in six games

The lack of depth will be the Hawk’s undoing this time around. Luongo is having his best season since coming to Vancouver, and he won’t have to deal with Byfuglien parked in his face all series. The Hawks have enough firepower to make this one go seven, but remember this is Corey Crawford’s first playoff exposure.

(2) San Jose over (7) Los Angeles in four games

The Sharks have arguably the deepest forward core in the league, and they can no longer be considered unproven in the playoffs. They have been on a roll and are looking to prove last year’s Conference Final loss. I wouldn’t be surprised to see four one goal games, but no Kopitar and Williams is going to kill the Kings.

(3) Detroit over (6) Phoenix in six games

This was the matchup I was hoping for, so hopefully it doesn’t backfire. No Zetterberg for Game 1, but the Wings showed Chicago what they can do in a critical game without him. I think the key here will be special teams and it favours the Wings. Phoenix has the 23rd best PP and the 26th best PK!!

(4) Anaheim over (5) Nashville in seven games

Yeah I know, I picked seven of the eight favored teams. I was thinking this would be a much quicker series until I saw that Nashville is 3-1 against Anaheim this year, with two of those wins coming after the All Star break. Still, I don’t think the Ducks firepower can be stopped yet.

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