Normally, I follow hockey religiously. It is easily my favorite sport and nothing gets me more excited than watching my team. However, this year I fell back a little bit as life intruded quite often and I wasn’t as keen to follow as I usually am. That just means that I didn’t pay attention to my fantasy team. Otherwise, I was watching when I could. This year was the first year since I moved back east that I attended less than 3 games though.
What I love about the NHL Playoffs, is that its usually wide open. This is one league where upsets do happen somewhat regularly and its not a shock to seen an 8 seed defeat a 1. I don’t see that happening this year, but I imagine there will be lots of surprises.
That being said, lets get on to predictions. I will revisit this topic as the tournament progresses and re-predict as need be.
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
Ovechkin and company should dominate the Habs who lack consistent goaltending. Caps 4 Habs 1
#2 New Jersey Devils vs. #7 Philadelphia Flyers
To say that this matchup makes me nervous would be an understatement. The last few years have not been kind to the Devils. However, the arrival of Ilya Kovalchuk earlier this year makes me a bit more comfortable. The Flyers have been playing great headed into this playoff, and the Devils have played them poorly all year, so the fear is real. Devils 4 Flyers 3
#3 Buffalo Sabres vs. #6 Boston Bruins
Buffalo is the surprise of the year for me (at least in the East). They are a pretty balanced team and Ryan Miller makes all the difference. Buffalo 4 Boston 2
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Ottawa Senators
I really hope Ottawa wins, but I can’t see it happening. This is the time of the year when Pittsburgh turns up the fire. Pittsburgh 4 Ottawa 2
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Colorado Avalanche
It’s time to see if the acquisition of Dany Heatley will pay off for the Sharks when it matters most. The Sharks are the most underachieving team the last few years in the history of the league IMO. Colorado should give them fits in places, but I think the Sharks will pull it off this round. San Jose 4 Colorado 2
#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Nashville Predators
Can Chicago make a run like they did last year? I think the Hawks should be considered a Cup favorite and the Predators should be an easy out. Chicago 4 Nashville 0
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Los Angeles Kings
I love what they’re doing out in LA. They remind me of Chicago two years ago. Very young, but very talented and they should only get better. That being said, this is the most intriguing matchup of the playoffs out west in my estimation. It will be interesting to see what Luongo shows up. This should be lots of fun to watch. Vancouver 3 Los Angeles 4
#4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings
Who would’ve thought that the Coyotes could make it this far? An organization in turmoil makes the playoffs! I am happy for Phoenix and the 19 hockey fans out in Arizona. This could be another fun matchup, with the upstart Coyotes against the two-time defending Western Conference champs. Phoenix 2 Detroit 4
Be back in a few weeks with the 2nd round. I love the playoffs!