Well it is that time of the year yet again. The playoffs are upon us once more, and I have compiled an all start team of hockey experts to provide out thoughts and predictions on this, the most wonderful time of the year. So allow me to introduce you to the four man panel....
Currently residing in sunny St. Maarten, is a man who has posted here on my blog almost as often as I have, he's an expert pilot, Habs fan, and copying of all of my predictions, none other than Troy.
Troy Says: Glen's right, I do copy him. (Editor's Note: He may not have ACTUALLY said that, and in all honesty, any similarities in our predictions are entirely coincidental)
Also, we have someone new to the blog, but not new to having me curse about him. He is the man who benefited from the greatest hockey collapse since the Ottawa Senators in 2008 and claimed the Kodiak Hockey Pool over me, Jeff.
Jeff says: eff here, Glen has so graciously asked me participate in his yearly playoff predictions blog, and I feel mighty honoured. I do however, believe I deserve to be here after I laid a slaughtering on him in the Kodiak Hockey pool, coming back from 130 points down to finish 100 points ahead. It was a massacre, and it was the most fun I have ever had. Maybe next year Glen.
Anyways, I am very excited about the first round, as we have some new elements yet to have been introduced to the playoffs (Ovechkin) and some old ones (Detroit). Should be a fun ride.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: He actually did say that)
Next we have someone who is not afraid to make a gutsy call. You have probably known him your whole life, and he has probably spent a fair amount of time in your pants. He's none other than a Canadian Quarter, Mr. Coin.
Mr. Coin says: *shine*
(EDITOR'S NOTE: For the coin I flipped for each game with heads going for the home team and tails for the visiting team...yeah I have no life...)
Lastly we have the man you all pay the big money to see...ME!!!
Glen says: Pleasure to be here on the greatest blog site EVER, shall we get started?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Not only is he knowledgeable, he's very attractive too)
#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #8 Boston Bruins
Troy Says: Now normally the season series between two clubs has no bearing on a playoff series but Montreal went 8-0 against Boston this year and they are 11-0 if you include last season. For some reason Montreal just has Boston's number and I see this continuing in the playoffs.
Prediction: Montreal in 5.
Jeff Says: I am pumped that montreal came out with 1st in the East. Even though I used to hate them. I am also glad to see Boston make a return. Two factors in this series will be Chara and of course, Price. Even without Koivu and Streit, Montreal still has the better team. Unless Tim Thomas shuts the door completely Montreal will have its way with Boston. The Price is right.
Prediction: Montreal in 5
Glen Says: I'm always such a sucker for Original Six Series's, they just get me excited. This is the series that the NHL has seen more often than any other, as they have met 30 times previous to this year. Montreal's record in the series is a staggering 23-7. Look for lucky number 24. I would have said five for Montreal, but I am going to be a little daring here.
Prediction: Montreal in 4
Mr. Coin Says: The Bruins still have that Bobby Orr kid right? No...well then they surely can't score on George Hainsworth, and watch that Guy Lafleur kid, he's going to be something one of these days... (EDITOR'S NOTE: I assume since a quarter is really old that it must be senile and stuck in the past...)
Prediction: Montreal in 6
#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #7 Ottawa Senators
Troy Says: These two teams met last year in the first round and I thought it was going to be a very close series but Ottawa ended up winning in 5. It's amazing what a difference a year can make. Ottawa is a very talented and experienced team and I think that may give them enough to take one game. But that's it.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5
Jeff Says: Everyone is expecting a slaughter, and rightfully that should happen. However, as I said earlier, this is playoff time. This is a tougher series to call then I would like to think. Ottawa is without Alfie and that will hurt but they still have talent. I just see Pittsburgh as being to good and too hot right now. But I warn everyone right now, this could go horribly wrong for Pittsburgh, they have an immense amount of pressure on them right now and are expected to get to the cup. They could seriously crack and end up overwhelmed by the Sens. However, they say you need more then one line to win the cup, and Pittsburgh has just that and more. This is either going to be over quick, or turn into an all out war. I'll go with the former though, but with reservations.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5
Glen Says: You know, everyone is expecting the Pens to walk all over Ottawa here. Perhaps it's just my excessive fanboy nature, but I have to disagree. I think that these teams could put on a hell of a show, remember this is the same Sens team that started the season 17-2, not too shabby. I have been saying for a while now that if Ottawa can make it out of the first round that they could be in the finals. Also, I have been saying that Pittsburgh is going to go deep this year. I guess I need to make a call, no matter how much it hurts me to make.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7
Mr. Coin: As you know, I'm a home town boy, but the Silver Seven just got back from a grueling trip to Dawson City, I think the upstarts are going to pull this one off.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6
#3 Washington Capitals vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers
Troy Says: The Capitals were an amazing story this year. It's just too bad they play in Washington. They when from last place to first place in the division which means they are the number 3 seed in the east even though they have fewer points than the 8th place team. That's a debate for a different time though. Philadelphia is the deeper team but Ovenchkin is just unreal and when he puts his team on his back lookout.
Prediction: Washington in 6.
Jeff Says: This is probably the second most anticipated series. Washington come in as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, second only to San Jose I would say. Ovechkin is amazing, and a total force. Having said that, this is playoff time. A time where teams key on certain players and Ovechkin will be that player. Philadelphia has a scary team on paper and have battled countless injuries this season so I believe they are better then 7th place. They will play Ovechkin hard, and unless the supporting staff on the Caps step up, they will eat a big fat Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.
Prediction: Philadelphia in 7
Glen Says: I think that Ovechkin can keep carrying this team on his back to get four more wins, but the Flyers will not make it easy for them at all. I just really hope that none of the dirty Flyers go and break his back.
Prediction: Washington in 7
Mr. Coin Says: Russians are allowed to play in the NHL now?
Prediction: Philadelphia in 5
#4 New Jersey Devils vs. #5 New York Rangers
Troy Says: This series is a little harder to judge. New York is the better team I feel but New Jersey always has a way of playing well in the playoffs. Add to that the Broduer factor and this could be an interesting series.
Prediction: New York in 7
Jeff Says: This is the blah blah series of the Eastern conference. Nothing incredibly special going on for either team, but a good match-up none the less. This series is quite simply Martin Brodeur vs Henrik Lundqvist. Whichever goalie plays the best will be on the winning side. This could be a very low scoring series, and thus, totally different then the other three. Rangers dominated the season series and should pick up where they left off. Even without home ice advantage.
Prediction: New York Rangers in 5
Glen Says: There are only 2 Eastern Conference playoff teams without a question or two in net, and guess what? It's these two. The Devils must be sweating at the thought of this match up, as it is the only other Eastern team that they don't have a clear goaltending advantage over. I mean sure, Brodeur may be considered the best ever when it's all said and done, but Lundqvist is nothing to sneeze at. The main difference between these two teams: one of them has an offense, and it sure isn't Jersey.
Prediction: Rangers in 5
Mr. Coin Says: I still can't believe that the managers of Madison Square Garden burned the mortgage in the Stanley Cup. Ah well, that shouldn't have any lasting effects.
Prediction: Rangers in 4
#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #8 Nashville Predators
Troy Says: I would love to see another Detroit upset this year. Unfortunately the Red Wings are going to be too much for the Predators. The Preds are still quite a young team, especially compared to Detroit (Chelios is Forty-frikkin-Six) and the Red Wings have so much playoff experience and combine that with Zetterberg and Datsyuk and I think Detroit will be just fine in this series.
Prediction: Detroit in 5
Jeff Says: Not to much to think about in this one. Nashville although very spirited will stand no chance against the powerhouse that is the Red Wings.
Prediction: Detroit in 4
Glen Says: The two poster children for a change in the schedule. Neither of these teams really deserve their spots on the standing, but alas here we are. Detroit really lucked out as they got their best possible match-up. Remember what I said about the Rangers and Devils being the only playoff teams in the East with no goal tending questions? Well these are the only ones in the West that have questions. I expect there to be a lot of goals this series, and that really favours the Wings.
Prediction: Detroit in 6
Mr. Coin Says: What the hell is a Predator and how did they beat the Oakland Golden Seals out for a playoff spot?
Prediction: Detroit in 5
#2 San Jose vs. Calgary
Troy Says: There is a lot of pressure this year on Joe Thornton who had another great regular season. Calgary can be an explosive team up front however they have battled inconsistency this year and unless they step up to the plate San Jose will win this series.
Prediction: San Jose in 6.
Jeff Says: An interesting series as Calgary could prove to be a tougher match up then one would think. They do have Iginla and Phaneuf, and Kiprosoff is a winner as well. However, for Calgary to win, Kips will have to do it all for them. San Jose is too good, and is the best team since the trade deadline. Their goaltending is awesome, and Thornton is as good a leader as any. A rough series with the winner coming out beat up and bruised.
Prediction: San Jose in 5
Glen Says: This will be the best series to watch, but the hardest one to predict. History really does favour the Flames here. Last year was the first time under the current playoff format (introduced in 1994) that there was not at least one #7 advancing to the second round. Also, and more importantly, every time these teams have met in the playoffs the underdogs have won. However, the Sharks time is now. This is going to be a great though.
Prediction: San Jose in 7
Mr. Coin Says: As much as I'd like to see Lanny MacDonald finally get his big win, but this Pat Falloon kid will not be denied.
Prediction: San Jose in 5
#3 Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
Troy Says: This series seems to be one of the harder series to predict. Minnesota is a very strong team but Colorado has ressurected themselves as the 1996 Avalanche with a lot of success. In the end it's too much for me to bet against a team with Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, and Ryan Smyth.
Prediction: Colorado in 7
Jeff Says: A toss up in many ways. The Av's made plenty of moves at the deadline, and they could pay off with post season (first round) success. Minnesota has not made a lot of noise but is a solid team. I'm gambling here on experience.
Prediction: Colorado in 6
Glen Says: Now this is another tough Western Series to predict. I think that both teams have to be considered to be legitimate contenders. My counterparts have mentioned many great things but they are forgetting one very important thing, Jose Theodore. Say what you will about this guy, but in the first round of the playoffs his numbers are scary good, however he tends to collapse pretty hard in the second round. I look for that trend to continue right now.
Prediction: Colorado in 7
Mr. Coin: I'll take the Rockies over the North Stars any day of the week.
Prediction: Colorado in 7
#4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Dallas Stars
Troy Says: Even though this is a 4 vs 5 series I really don't think it's that close. Anaheim is simply too deep and has too many ways to beat you senseless. If Giguere plays well this series will only be a formality for the Ducks.
Prediction: Anaheim in 5
Jeff Says: The money series in the west. This has the makings of a good one, and a rough one. Anaheim is heavily favoured with most of their team from last year being back. It's hard to bet against them, but I want to route for my boy Brett Hull's guys. Turco is going to have to be a major player as the Ducks defence will shut down a lot of scoring. However, Dallas is deep up front. The only thing certain is that the winner of this series will be a tough team to beat later on. Another rough series, but a goody. A major gamble here.....
Prediction: Dallas in 7
Glen Says: The Ducks are a better team now than they were last year when they won the Cup. While I'm impressed with the growth Dallas has shown it simply won't cut it against a team that really is in a class of their own in the spring.
Prediction: Anaheim in 6
Mr. Coin: Don't mess with Texas
Prediction: Dallas in 5
And now it's time for the boldest of predictions...just who will be in the finals this year, and who will be their MVP...
Troy Says: Anaheim vs Montreal.
Montreal has surprised almost everyone this season and I think they can keep it up. There seems to be a sense of destiny to this team. As for Anaheim they were there last year and if anything this team is stronger this year. If this series took place in the first round I think it would be a wash for Anaheim but the Western Conference playoffs are going to be a battle of attrition and Anaheim will be tired and worn by the time they reach the finals. Combine that with Carey Price who I think will play out of his mind and I think this could be a great final. In the end though I think Anaheim is simply too strong, too fast, and too deep and will leave us Canadian hockey fans 0 for 4 in the finals in the last 4 seasons.
Prediction: Anaheim in 7.
Conn Smythe: Carey Price
Jeff Says: I like to take chances, it's what helped me kick Glen's butt in the hockey pool. Let see if my gambles pay off.
Also, my predictions for the Stanley Cup Finalists: Pittsburgh vs Detroit
Conn Smythe: Evgeni Malkin or Marc Andre Fleury, but I'll go with Malkin
Glen Says: I'm going to steal one from either of them...
Anaheim vs. Pittsburgh
Like I just said, the Ducks are a better team than they were last year, when they walked all over the league en route to a Cup Victory. The Penguins really are the class of the East, and like I said, if they can beat the Sens than they should be able to beat all of the others in the Conference. While Pittsburgh is the team of the future, the time is now...
Prediction: Anaheim in 6
Conn Smythe: Ryan Getzlaf
Mr. Coin Says: Since I firmly believe that NHL Expansion is some sort of a communist scheme, I think that the finals will be...
Detroit vs. New York
The Rangers will be able to dance the Charleston on top of the Empire State Building after will this one. Who knows, maybe Mikey Mantle will get to sip some cider from the Cup.
Prediction: New York in 5
Conn Smythe: A caribou
Will we be right? Will we be wrong? Stay tuned to find out!!!
Until next time,