2012 Stanley Cup Playoff predictions – Round 1

OK.

I used to give long-winded explanations of why I picked each team to win its series. Well, I’m not going to do that anymore because, let’s be honest, since I got a real job I don’t have the time anymore to analyze each series in the same amount of depth as I used to.

But, I still like to try my hand at choosing each round’s winners. And unlike what I’ve seen on the NHL website, I’m not going to go beyond the first round here. I only do round-by-round picks.

So let’s git r done!

Eastern Conference

(1) New York Rangers v. (8) Ottawa Senators

I have to go with the Rangers here. Simply one of the best teams in the conference against the eighth seed. I’ll take Rangers in 5.

(2) Boston Bruins v. (7) Washington Capitals

Oh how the might-ish have fallen. The Capitals have fallen since the Canadiens Halaked them in 2010. And as much as it pains me to say it, the Bruins did advance the farthest possible last year. Let’s go with Bruins in 6.

(3) Florida Panthers v. (6) New Jersey Devils

The NHL needs to fix its rule that the division winners get a top-three seed. The Panthers had only the sixth-best record in the conference this year, while the Devils had eight more points and finished in sixth. I have to take the Devils in 6.

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins v. (5) Philadelphia Flyers

Another example of the inequity of division winners getting a top-three seed. Both of these teams finished with more points than the Bruins. This is going to be a down and dirty series. These teams hate each other. I’m going with Penguins in 7.

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver Canucks v. (8) Los Angeles Kings

The Kings were supposed to be better than this. The Canucks are as good as their record indicates, and are back for another run at the Stanley Cup. It won’t be quick, but it will be the Canucks in 6.

(2) St. Louis Blues v. (7) San Jose Sharks

The Blues really turned it around after hiring Ken Hitchcock. The Sharks, like the Kings, were supposed to be better. I’m going to say the Sharks will be another playoff disappointment for their fans, falling to the Blues in 7.

(3) Phoenix Coyotes v. (6) Chicago Blackhawks

Same points inequality as the Eastern Conference, but not as bad. The Blackhawks are the better team, but the Coyotes are not to be seen as a pushover. In a long series, I’m taking the Blackhawks in 7.

(4) Nashville Predators v. (5) Detroit Red Wings

When was the last time the Red Wings weren’t the home team in the first round? It was 2010. I thought it was longer ago. Whatever. Nashville finally won a playoff series last year. The Red Wings are the Red Wings. It will be long, and maybe include a few overtime games, but will end with the Predators in 7.

And there you have it. My picks for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first round, anyway. How will I do? We’ll find out in two weeks.

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