11 April 2012

NHL Playoff Previews in five lines or less.

One of these days, the Minnesota Wild will get into playoff preview posts.  Unfortunately, this is not that season. But I never let that stop me from enjoying the NHL playoffs, and a lot of my t

Still a lot of my Twitter followers had lots of thoughts regarding for whom they are going to root.  I retweeted most of them so check out my timeline if you're curious.

As I have done for the last several seasons, I'll be doing previews of each round.  But because there are a million blogs doing the same thing, I am going to try and keep mine short and to the point, five lines or less.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(#1) Vancouver v (#8) Los Angeles


I am not too high on the President's Trophy winners.  I think their total is inflated because they share a division with four of the five worst teams in the Western Conference.  The disaster scenario for Vancouver is that pressure on their goaltenders turns out to actually cure Los Angeles' scoring woes.  Even though the Kings lost their last two to the Sharks, this is a better matchup than the Blues would've been.  A lot going for the Kings here if they can figure a way to score goals, but that's been their season long problem.

Vancouver in 7.

(#2) St Louis v (#7) San Jose


St Louis is probably the most complete team in the West from back to front.  Their goaltending is dominant (even if Elliot isn't able to go).  They score goals and play tough.  All things the Sharks were built to do, but have had nothing but disappointment.

St Louis in 5.

(#3) Phoenix v (#6) Chicago


Yes, this is one of those situations everyone freaks out about because Phoenix was a division winner they get seeded higher than other teams with more points.  I still think Chicago's goaltending is awful and certainly not playoff ready.  If it gets to average, the Hawks might hang around.

Phoenix in 6

(#4) Nashville v (#5) Detroit


Nashville it a team built very much like St. Louis.  They play stifling defense and Pekka Rinne is among the best goaltenders in the game.  A lot of Original Six Snobs (I should really get that term trademarked) are hoping the Wings have just underachieved this year and were saving their effort for the playoffs.  I'm not buying it.  The Preds are for real, and are going to out muscle, and wear down the aging Wings.

Nashville in 6.


EASTERN CONFERENCE


(#1) New York Rangers v (#8) Ottawa


It's hard to believe the Rangers lost the season series 3-1 to the Sens.  However, there's still a lot to like about the Rangers.  They have the better goaltending and most scoring punch.  It will be very difficult for the Sens to ever have the upper hand in this series.

New York in 5


(#2) Boston v (#7) Washington


There's a lot to like about the big bad Bruins in this one.  They are tough on the blue line, and they boast six 20-goal scorers, which should give a team with defensive issues like Washington some trouble.  However, the Caps played hard enough down the stretch to avoid the wrong side of the bubble, and if they can improve on that effort, they could make this interesting.

Boston in 6


(#3) Florida v (#6) New Jersey


The big question from the last New Jersey exit was did the Devils ride Brodeur too much.  This year he played in 59 games and has a save percentage of .908.  Decent numbers considering he often looked out of place this season.  The Panthers won the Southeast Division, but did not look good down the stretch.  I think the Devils find their way into Round 2 this time.

New Jersey in 6


(#4) Pittsburgh v (#5) Philadelphia


From a personal standpoint, it's hard to name two teams I like less in the East.  The last two games between these teams were great to watch, and I would like this to drag into a seven-gamer.  But Pittsburgh's just got more weapons offensively.  If Philadelphia doesn't contain them, this could actually be over pretty quickly.

Pittsburgh in 6.

THE REST OF THE WAY
Nashville over Vancouver
St. Louis over Phoenix
NY Rangers over New Jersey
Boston over Pittsburgh

St. Louis over Nashville
NY Rangers over Boston

NY Rangers over St. Louis


My picks are available on cuppick.com, a very easy site to use.  You can register with e-mail or facebook and join as many groups as you want.  I started a group "SOTSOHockey" for my readers, if you want to compete with me directly.

Enjoy the playoffs!

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