The NHL playoffs are finally here, and so begins another multi-month quest where I will try to find a place that shows the games on Versus. But before the games begin, I’ll make my picks for who will win the first round match-ups, the conference titles and ultimately the Stanley Cup championship.
Being from Illinois, I have been able to bask in the glory of the Chicago Blackhawks being the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Now, I fear I may lose my opportunities to bask in the glory for this year; however, I am happy to see the Blackhawks – although an eight-seed, be in the playoffs so that my glory days can still be alive for at least a week or so more. And finally, my predictions:
Capitals over Rangers – six games
The loss of Callahan from the Rangers will ultimately cost this New Yorkers dearly, ending in a lost chance to upset the No. 1-seed Caps, who are known for not living up to expectations in the playoffs. Business as usual: Ovie and Backstrom will lead the way for the Caps into the next round.
Flyers over Sabres – five games
The Flyers, like the Caps, have been a dominant team in the Eastern Conference all season long. Although the Sabres are a team, with Ryan Miller, that no team wants to play in the playoffs, the Flyers will outscore Buffalo in order to take the series in five games.
Bruins over Canadians – seven games
One of the oldest rivalries in the NHL will make for a thrilling series in the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins’ Tim Thomas has been too good this season to pick against the Bruins, ultimately. Bruins advance, and the Canadians bid for back-to-back playoff cinderella stories falls short.
Lightning over Penguins – seven games
Stamkos and the boys in Tampa Bay will win this series in seven games. The Sid The Kid storyline has been looming ever since he went out with the first concussion this season, and it will continue to hangover the Pens because coach Dan Bylsma is not sure if Crosby will be back for the series; in fact, it’s seriously doubtful. Stamkos rushes on past Malkin and the boys in Pittsburgh.
Canucks over Blackhaws – six games
My dream of back-to-back titles for the ‘Hawks can live on for six more games, but I’m afraid Luongo and the Sedin twins are going to be too much for the Hawks to handle in this series. It will go six games, though, because the Hawks definitely aren’t owned by the Canucks, actually it’s the opposite. All in all, the Canucks are too much better and march on. The Hawks just haven’t been the same team this year after unloading all of those players.
Kings over Sharks – five games
The Sharks, like the Caps, have always disappointed in the playoffs after having a really good season. The storyline will be the same this season. I’m a big fan of Drew Doughty and the boys in LA, as they will nearly sweep their rivals from San Jose. The Sharks with Nemi, the Cup-winning goaltender for the Hawks last year, will faulter.
Red Wings over Coyotes – four games
Can’t pick against experience or the kids from Detroit, as they always seem to be a factor in the playoffs no matter the seed they hold, in this case a three-seed. The Red Wings will sweep the Coyotes – the only sweep of the first round.
Predators over Ducks – seven games
Nobody wants to play the Preds at this point in the season, and the Ducks drew the short straw. It’s going to cost them, as the Preds will win the series in an exciting seven-game series.
Eastern Conference title: Flyers
The Flyers are back in the Stanley Cup championship looking for redemption after the Hawks beat them last year. They have been a dominant team in the regular season, and will be in the playoffs.
Western Conference title: Canucks
It only makes sense: beat the reigning Stanley Cup champions, and then go on to win the conference title and head onto the Stanley Cup series. The Sedin twins will be key in this playoff run, as I mentioned before.
Stanley Cup champions: Flyers
Flyers take out the Canucks in a vintage seven-game series to take the title after their second consecutive Cup appearance.