I really need to pay more attention to these kinds of things. I just noticed the NHL playoffs begin today.
I had better get on to issuing my yearly predictions as to how each series is going to play out.
For those unaccustomed to my methods, I only do a round at a time. I like to evaluate each series by match up, and not lock myself into predicting who will win a series that might not actually happen.
Some years I have been stunningly accurate (like in 2006 when I picked Edmonton to knock off the 58-win Detroit Red Wings in the first round). Other years I’ve done a fairly piss poor job of picking winners. How will I do this year? We’ll have to wait until the dust settles to find out.
On to brass tacks.
1 Pittsburgh Penguins v. 8 NY Islanders
Have to give this one to Pittsburgh. The league’s #2 team overall against the #16. Yes, upsets are going to happen. Just not in this series. Penguins in 5.
2 Montreal Canadiens v. 7 Ottawa Senators
This is a match up that should have happened a few seasons ago. Instead, it happens now. Both teams are close. Both in terms of team play and in physical distance. The only aspect of this match up the experts are giving to the Habs is offence, with defence and goalkeeping favouring the Senators. However, the playoffs are a different beast, and I have confidence Carey Price will be Carey Price. Canadiens in 6.
3 Washington Capitals v. 6 NY Rangers
It appears like Alex Ovechkin is back. Led the league in goals. Willed his team into a playoff berth. Then again, the Rangers were consistent all year. As much as how a team ends the regular season doesn’t really mean anything, I have to go with the hotter team. Capitals in 7.
4 Boston Bruins v. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs
Don Cherry is going to jizz himself each and every game. This is a decent mismatch. The Bruins are the better team, and the Maple Leafs, while icing a good team, just don’t match up that well. Except in fisticuffs. But fighting virtually disappears in the playoffs. Bruins in 6.
1 Chicago Blackhawks v. 8 Minnesota Wild
I’m calling another no-contest here. Chicago pretty much ran roughshod over the West this year. Minnesota, while holding its fate in its hands, still pretty much only scraped into the playoffs. Blackhawks in 5.
2 Anaheim Ducks v. 7 Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings scraped into the playoffs. The Ducks were the league’s #3 team all season. The Red Wings, in making the playoffs, are in them for the 22nd straight season. The Ducks are back following a really bad year last season. I have to say experience wins out, but barely. Red Wings in 7.
3 Vancouver Canucks v. 6 San Jose Sharks
Third straight division win for the Canucks. The Sharks have basically seen their window to win the Cup close. The same could be said about the Canucks, too. But with the up-and-down nature of the Sharks’ season, you never know. Canucks in 7.
4 St. Louis Blues v. 5 LA Kings
The Kings return to defend their title in a better position than last year. The Blues are in the midst of surging into a home-ice spot. I’m leaning towards the hotter team. Blues in 6.