Happy Stanley Cup Playoff Day!
Not like I contribute anything of value to the conversation, but I figured what the hell, let’s post some predictions. Let’s see how right (or wrong) I am. For what it’s worth, I am right and wrong 100% of the time.
I have a full post about the Sharks-Blues series that will go up tomorrow before the game, so that’s why there’s no prediction here, (What!? 2 posts in 2 days? Who is this productive Jenna? I sure don’t recognize her.)
But here it is. My picks.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs (8) Los Angeles Kings
The general consensus for this series is that it’s going to be a lot closer than Vancouver would probably prefer, and that’s 100% because of net minder Jonathan Quick. I tend to agree.
I’m interested to see how Roberto Luongo performs this time around, and if the pressure gets to him. I likened him to LeBron James in my NHL Primer a couple of months back, and I still think it’s a valid comparison. Granted, he’s not playing Chicago or Boston, so he’ll probably be lights out.
Daniel Sedin is supposed to be back from his concussion, and that could be slightly worrisome for the Canucks. While they are getting their star player back, concussions are a tricky injury. Who knows how well or if he’s recovered from it completely. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs in game 1.
Who I want to win: Kings (begrudgingly).
Who I think will win: Canucks in 6.
What I want to happen: Kyle Clifford to do exactly what he did to Logan Couture second to last game of the season, only to Alex Burrows. And multiple times. Dustin Brown is more than welcome to help, as well.
(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs (6) Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago got lucky here. They almost had to play either the Kings or the Sharks, two teams on hot streaks to end the season, but apparently Phoenix really wanted to win the Pacific Division. Good for them. They have a nice banner.
With Toews back, I really don’t see how the Coyotes can muster up 4 from the Hawks. Mike Smith has been playing well above his career averages lately, and while it might be apropos to label him a “hot” goalie going into the playoffs, the offensive firepower of the Hawks will just overwhelm them. Phoenix will still need to score goals, and they may be able to against Corey Crawford, who has been playing a little better lately, but they don’t have enough scorers to offset the Hawks’ attack.
Who I want to win: Chicago (because I actually don’t hate them, even though they booted the Sharks 2 years ago.)
Who I think will win: Chicago in 5.
What I want to happen: Biznasty gets more than 2 minutes of playing time, just because his tweets will be epic.
(4) Nashville Predators vs (5) Detroit Red Wings
Upset special. Or is it? This will be a great series, and most people would be idiots to pick against Pavel Datsyuk and the Wings. Like the Sharks, the Wings are coming into these playoffs as the underdog, unfamiliar territory for a team of their stature.
This is a tough pick. Both teams excel in all areas of the ice, with the Preds being a little stronger defensively and the Wings have a little more offensive weapons at their helm. The Preds also have Pekka Rinne who is capable of stealing games, but I wouldn’t be quick to write off the Wings just yet. There are way too many guys on that team that just know how to win. More than anything else, it’s the intangibles that determine the winner of a playoff series, especially for the 4-5 matchup.
Who I want to win: Nashville (because I really don’t want the Sharks to have to face the Wings 3 years in a row. Something about that just doesn’t feel right.)
Who I think will win: Detroit in 7
What I want to happen: Todd McClellan finds out Pavel Datsyuk lives within the San Jose district boundaries and was actually supposed to play for the San Jose Sharks the entire time, not the Detroit Red Wings. So he has to switch teams mid-playoffs.
I’m not going to pretend to know a lot about the Eastern Conference because I don’t. Of the little that I do know, here’s a quick rundown of who I think will win.
(1) New York Rangers vs (8) Ottawa Senators
Apparently the Sens have a pretty good record against the Blue Shirts this year, but I think that talent will win out, especially in goal, where the Rags hold a significant advantage.
New York in 6
(2) Boston Bruins vs (7) Washington Capitals
People will be quick to point to the Caps as being the Sharks’ Eastern Conference counterpart this season because they didn’t win their cupcake division, and they’re both at the 7 seed. That’s about where the similarities end. Boston will pummel the Caps. Too physical and too talented.
Boston in 5
(3) Florida Panthers vs (6) New Jersey Devils
New Jersey in 5
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (5) Philadelphia Flyers
Like everyone else in the hockey world, this series is an absolute (wet) dream. There’s nothing else to say about this that hasn’t already been said. And I know everyone is picking the Pens as the sexy pick, but I feel good about Philly this year. They’re also the team I’d most like the Sharks to see in the final. So I have to cheer for them. As hard as it is to cheer against Sid and Geno, cheering against Claude Giroux this year just seems blasphemous. That guy is just spectacular. Truly amazing to watch.
Philadelphia in 7
It’s the best time of the year for hockey fans. This is going to be one wild ride. As our good ol’ pal Bart Scott would say, “CAN’T WAIT.”