Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round Predictions

Thought I might as well share my predictions for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I will have a more in-depth preview of the Flyers series tomorrow.

Eastern Conference:
(1) Montreal vs. (8) Boston
Montreal in 5
Boston is easily the weakest team that made the playoffs. They've had a successful season considering all of their injury problems, but the Canadiens are too strong offensively to be denied.

(2)Pittsburgh vs. (7) Ottawa
Pittsburgh in 6
The Penguins got their wish and avoided the Flyers in the first round and instead they will play an Ottawa team that has been reeling. Let's not forget that the Senators made the Stanley Cup final last year, so they should do some damage, but they aren't going to get past the Penguins potent attack.

(3) Washington vs. (6) Philadelphia
Philadelphia in 6
You can call me a homer if you want, but the Flyers are so much deeper than the Capitals. It's much easier to stop one player, no matter how good he is, than it is to stop three legitimate scoring lines. This series will come down to goaltending, and I have faith that Martin Biron will get the job done.

(4) New Jersey vs. (5) New York Rangers
New York in 7
This is going to be a hard-fought series, with the Devils trying to slow down the Rangers and their deep scoring attack. Expect a lot of low scoring games with two great goaltenders, but the Rangers are too good to lose in the first round.

Western Conference:
(1) Detroit vs. (8) Nashville
Detroit in 5
The Predators are no pushovers, and the Red Wings tend to fold in the playoffs, but there is no way Detroit has any trouble with Nashville. The Red Wings are better in every facet of the game.

(2) San Jose vs. (7) Calgary
San Jose in 5
The Sharks are my pick to win the Cup, so they will definitely have no problems getting past the Flames. The Sharks are the hottest team in the league heading into the playoffs. They can play any style of hockey, and they have great goaltending and a deep scoring attack.

(3) Minnesota vs. (6) Colorado
Colorado in 7
The Avalanche have fought through so many injuries and they appear to finally be getting healthy, so I expect this deep and experienced team to do what it takes to shut down Marian Gaborik and the Wild.

(4) Anaheim vs. (5) Dallas
Anaheim in 6
The defending champs will not go down in the first round, but they are going to have some troubles later on. They are getting old and the injuries are going to catch up to them. The Stars are a good team, but they just don't have enough to knock off the Ducks. Plus, do you really trust Marty Turco in the playoffs?

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